“When nothing goes right, go left.”
I know you’re wondering where I come up with all my amazing ideas. OK. So I’m hallucinating again. But to fantasize that somewhere in this world someone is asking that question I feel compelled to reply. Many of my ideas are accidents.
A few days ago I was having an accident prone kitchen experience. The blueberry pancakes recipe created a batter with the consistency of water. Did you ever ladle a 1/4 cup of water onto a griddle and wait for it to become a pancake? I gave up on the pancakes and mixed in a cup of flour and baked the resulting batter as a cornmeal, blueberry cake. Very iffy flavor.
So I decided to make some chicken chili. A comfort food that I’ve made dozens of times. However, when I tipped the can of cocoa to add a dash to the mix, a huge blob of cocoa fell into the chicken and veggies that were busy getting to know each other. Obviously, this wasn’t going to be chili. It was going to be some kind of chicken mole. That’s a Mexican dish with chocolate in it.
If you Google mole you’ll find out all sorts of interesting facts about a cute little animal. If you Google Mexican mole you’ll find out how to make Mexican dishes with chocolate as one of the ingredients.
However, in my developing chicken dish, the cocoa was a bit overpowering so I added more salt. Hmm. Then I added a bit of sugar. Hmm, again. It was getting better but was never going to be chili. Fortunately, I hadn’t added any beans at this point. I threw the mixture into the crockpot and wished it well.
Four or five hours later it was edible but uninteresting. Cream cheese to the rescue. I added about 4 ounces of cream cheese to the mixture and was quite satisfied with the flavor but unhappy with the visual. Food should look tempting. This looked … uninteresting.
Fortunately, I had a spaghetti squash in the house along with some frozen broccoli florets. Eating a creamy dish on top of a pasta-like squash is nummy. Adding some green would brightened up the dish!
INGREDIENTS: to the best of my memory
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder, more or less
2 or 3 T cocoa powder, depending on how far you tip the container
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
4 ounces cream cheese
broccoli florets, cooked and waiting for their entrance
Saute’ the chicken for a few minutes in a bit of oil. Add the onion and red pepper and cook, on a medium heat, for about 5 minutes. Add the spices and cook a few more minutes to allow the spices to release/develop their flavors. Add chicken broth. Cover and simmer about an hour.
Or, put it right into a crockpot and cook on low for 3 or 4 hours. Add the cream cheese and use your magic want to blend it in, careful not to puree everything. It’s nice if you serve a chicken dish and people can actually find some chicken in it. Mix in the broccoli.
Serve over spaghetti squash.
Remember to have a few tricks up your sleeve. Play around with salt and sugar or maybe a splash of soy sauce. If the dish is already hovering around crisis mode, what’s the worst thing that could happen, which is not always a good question to ask. Forget I asked.
Loveya – The Grandma
Artist, African hand drum student, yoga neophyte, and Grandmother of 22 or so grandchildren. I enjoy cooking and writing. I value good friends and quiet times for reading.