Mental Health Monday and the Joy of Slow Food (with Chili Verde Dove recipe)

Mental health - everyone has it. Part of what has helped me maintain my mental health is to focus on physical health and nutrition. Specifically, refining a meal planning routine to ensure that we have healthy convenience food on hand at all times. While I consistently work at becoming more efficient in the kitchen, there are times when slowing down is necessary to nourish your soul. Just talking about it makes me want to read some books by Wendell Berry. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the endless list of to dos: cook, clean, budget, shop, exercise, spend time with loved ones, garden, watch Sons of Anarchy, make a lasting impact on the world, to name a few. Typically, I create gigantic lists on the weekend and feel like I'm racing against the clock to try to make it to Sunday afternoon feeling both accomplished and rested.

Yesterday (Sunday), we decided to go slow and enjoy all the minutes of the day while taking in the smoky, rich aroma of Mr. B's chili verde. Daniel grew up cooking and eating Mexican food and most of his specialty dishes in this house follow suit. Usually I do most of the cooking, but when the mister cooks, it's something special; an event. So he chopped, braised, shredded and went to the store 10 times. In between reading and recovering from last night's festivities, I taste tested. All day long, we (I) lounged on our sectional, read and interjected here and there and just enjoyed being together.

Meal planning, daily body movement, and giving yourself a curfew to unplug are just a few examples of self-care that help us foster mental wellness. While setting and achieving goals are an integral part of strengthening self-esteem and making progress, disconnecting and taking it easy are also important self-care strategies. So give yourself a break, unplug, spend time, recharge and have a day of rest (or a few hours if you can't spare the entire day). The slow pace offers recovery before you the take on the next day, slaying your to do list and making the world a better place. What are some of your self-care practices? Share in the comments below!

Below is one version of chili verde where we use dove meat, since Mr. B hunts. I will post a different version to make with pork shoulder soon. 

Chili Verde

Ingredients:

  • 6 ¾ LB dove breasts, on the bone 

  • 1 LB of thick bacon, cut into ¼ to ½ inch slices

  • 1 head garlic, sliced or minced

  • 4 green bell peppers, diced  (no seeds)

  • 3 red bell peppers, diced (no seeds)

  • 6 poblanos, diced (no seeds)

  • (Divide bell pepper mixture in half once prepped) - PEPPER MIXTURE #1 (BELLS)

  • 4 marconi peppers (from Sleeping Frog Farms from our Chow Locally box), you can use New Mexico chilis or any other pepper you like

  • 8 anaheim peppers, diced (no seeds)

  • 2 green jalapeños, finely diced (with seeds)

  • 2 red jalapeños, finely diced (with seeds)

  • (Divide the diced anaheim, other peppers , and jalapeños in half as well) - PEPPER MIXTURE #2

  • 4 onions (2 white, 2 yellow), diced

  • 3 LB tomatillos cut in half and roasted, 1 LB chopped to add in in fresh

  • 48 oz chicken stock

  • ½  C lentils (to use as thickener, optional. See note at bottom of recipe for lentil instructions)

  • 1 TBS dried oregano

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 TBS coriander seeds, crushed 

  • 2 TBS ground black pepper

This is a SLOW recipe in which some ingredients are roasted and some are included fresh in order to get a complex flavor profile. Another way to make it easier is to prep ingredients and complete the dish over the course of 2-3 days like we did. As such, I have divided the recipe into phases: precooking and cooking. 

Method:

A) Precooking:

  1. In a pressure cooker (preferred, or you can boil), cook the dove meat on the bone for 12 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle. 
  2. Roast 3 LB of tomatillos (see instructions here - although we didn't peel them).
  3. Cook bacon in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium low heat. 
  4. Once the dove is cool, shred it off of the bone with a fork. 
  5. Blend the tomatillos to a smooth consistency (with a standard blender or immersion blender).

**You could precook and store prepped ingredients for use the next day**

 Roasted Tomatillos

Roasted Tomatillos

B) Cooking:

  1. Using the remaining bacon fat or other fat, sauté HALF of  PEPPER MIXTURE #1 - BELLS) and all onions on medium-medium high. Once the onions are translucent, add garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes. 
  2. Add HALF of  PEPPER MIXTURE #2 to the skillet and continue to sauté until soft. 
  3.  In a large stock pot or dutch oven, combine shredded dove, tomatillo paste, bacon, sauté mixture, stock, and dried spices. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 1.5hours, until the chili peppers are well-stewed. 
  4. Add the remaining fresh diced peppers from both mixtures to the pot, cook for about 1.5 hours, until the second batch of peppers are well-stewed. 
  5. Salt to taste. 
  6. Serve with fresh tortillas and shredded cheese (optional).

***Lentil option: a half an hour before the dish is finished and before you salt to taste, cook ½ C lentils in 1 C water in a saucepan, until water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Puree with a small amount of liquid, then add to pot of chili verde and combine. Salt to taste.***


 Onions and peppers

Onions and peppers


 Shredded dove meat  

Shredded dove meat  

     Mixing it altogether

    Mixing it altogether

     


     Add liquid

    Add liquid

     

    This recipe makes enough for at least 10 people, and you can freeze half of it for another week when you're too busy to cook. 

    Thanks for stopping by and come back again for more recipes, meal planning, and wellness tips!

    B Well,

    Cynthia