Dear readers, it has been quite a while since I last posted anything on this blog. This is not because I haven't been using the crockpot, but really because we've been busy and access to the family PC is often difficult when Mr Teenager has his friends around.
Another reason is because we've been going back to some of our recipes, which have become family favourites. Our most favourite recipe, by far, has to be the Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot, which we make at least twice a month. This has become Ms Fussy Eater's favourite dinner, especially when it's served with some oven chips. It makes a very easy come-home-from-work dinner and we usually have some leftovers to use the next day in a quick pasta dish.
Other regulars include Chilli con Carne, Miss South's Pulled Pork, and Chicken Tikka Masala, which we make at least once a month, the latter with variations. In fact, I've just put together the chicken tikka masala, using chicken breasts, and put it in the fridge overnight. I'll set it cooking tomorrow morning, because tomorrow is another long, busy day.
I'd say we use the crockpot at least twice a week, and often on Sunday - allowing us the freedom to get out and about without worrying about cooking times. I have become a lot more confident with how I use the slow cooker and quite happy to cook a Sunday "roast" without needing a recipe.
This recipe for Chorizo Butter Beans is from Miss South's Slow Cooked recipe book, which I bought at the start of this year. As soon as I read it, I knew I had to try it. It is AMAZING; for me it's the ultimate in comfort food. It's delicious hot from the cooker, but equally good eaten cold in a packed lunch the next day. I would quite happily cook a batch and eat it all myself over 3 days (and have done so). Hubby also really likes it.
I haven't tried it on the children. They are not keen on beans unless they are the baked variety. Mr Teenager no longer removes them from his chilli, which is progress. But he's not ready to eat a meal based on beans. Ms Fussy Eater will eat neither beans nor chorizo, so there's no point even trying.
You need about 200g dried butter beans - I had never tried cooking butter beans from scratch before. Put them into the crock pot with: 1 onion, diced; 4 cloves of garlic, chopped roughly; 200g chorizo, cubed. Sprinkle over 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika and add a time of tomatoes and 450ml water. Then cook on the LOW setting for 8 hours.
What could be easier?
When it has finished cooking you'll have the most amazing and intense dish. The beans are melt-in-the-mouth and the tomatoes and chorizo have infused into a gloriously unctious sauce. Just scoop it out into bowls and grab a fork or spoon.
The recipe states it serves 2 as a main meal, or 4 as a side. My experience is that 3 portions is about right. You could serve with some crusty bread, to stretch out the recipe. The bread would also be delicious for dipping and wiping out the bowl.
The first time I made this, I didn't have smoked paprika, so I used plain. It was still delicious. But since then I've used smoked paprika, and that raises the whole dish to a new level.