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October 4, 2012

Recipe for slow cooker tomatillo chicken and black bean tacos

Slow cooker tomatillo chicken and black bean tacos, from The Perfect Pantry.

A sentence I never imagined I'd utter: I'm a fool for shredded meat. I'm a bigger fool for shredded meat made in the slow cooker, which does all of the work of breaking down the connective tissue so I just come along at the very end of cooking, and have at it with a couple of forks. Nothing could be easier. Over the past few months, I've been slow cooking and shredding lots of chicken, rolling and stuffing it into sandwiches, tortillas and pitas. One of my favorite variations, these tomatillo chicken and black bean tacos, starts with store-bought tomatillo salsa. Fresh tomatillos are hard to find in my small Rhode Island town; neither the markets nor farmstands have them, so good quality, all-natural salsa is a great option, and it's something I always have in the pantry.

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September 6, 2012

Recipe for spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew with garlic and mint {gluten-free}

Spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew with garlic and mint, from The Perfect Pantry.

When the last of Bob and Charlotte's canoe-size zucchini appeared in my car (how careless of me to leave the car unlocked in their driveway), I planned to turn that zucchini, along with a few trimmings of some very ripe tomatoes, into a curry. Along the way, however, cinnamon and cumin called out to me, and just like that, this mildly spicy vegan zucchini and tomato stew veered off toward the Middle East. A few sprigs of mint from my garden gave the dish just the right amount of brightness, without overwhelming the delicate zucchini flavor, and turmeric turned it a glowing golden color. As with all stews, this was even better on the second day, served over fluffy brown rice.

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March 22, 2012

Smoky turkey, black bean and corn chili recipe {gluten-free}

Turkey-black-bean-and-corn-chili

Often the best soups in my kitchen result from adding extra liquid -- stock or broth, juice, or water -- to stews or pasta dishes. Culinary magic works the other way around, too, and this smoky turkey, black bean and corn chili proves that a great soup can morph into an equally great something else. Use a bit of tough love and withhold some of the liquid in this recipe for chipotle turkey, black bean and corn soup, and watch a glorious chili emerge from the pot. Substitute freely: red beans for black, ground chicken (or beef) for turkey, fresh corn or tomato in season. The mild green chile peppers plus green Tabasco (also mild), with a hint of chipotle, add up to warmth rather than searing heat, and if you like your chili on the sweet side, squirt some agave nectar into the pot at the end.

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February 14, 2012

Slow cooker recipe for lemon-garlic chicken and white bean stew {gluten-free}

Slow-cooker-lemon-garlic-chicken-and-white-bean-stew-closeup

While it's true that Rival invented the Crock-Pot®, back in 1971, the company didn't invent slow cooking. Clay pots, tagines and Dutch ovens all predate the electric slow cooker. This chicken and white bean stew springs from the French farmhouse tradition of slow cooking in a pot set into the fireplace. Today, thanks to an inexpensive piece of kitchen equipment (the slow cooker I used for this recipe cost less than $20), I can make stew without hauling in wood, building a fire, raking the embers, and lugging a heavy cast-iron Dutch oven from the kitchen to set into the hearth. Lemon and garlic create the flavor base for this healthy, naturally gluten-free stew, which, like most stews, tastes even better the second day.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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