Paella Project

A random photo gallery of my first attempt at paella earlier this week.  There is some disagreement there, as Donette claims I’ve made it before.  If I did, it wasn’t in a genuine paella pan, and surely it wouldn’t taste the same if assembled in a plain ol’ skillet.  I was pleased with the outcome, for a first (in my mind) try.

Elliott’s Burnt Ends Chili

I saw this in the paper this morning.  I haven’t actually made it yet, but I will.  Oh yes…  I will.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 pound prepared beef brisket burnt ends
1 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely minced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid drained off one
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup pilsner beer
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon barbecue rub
1 tablespoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder

2 teaspoons epazote (optional, for digestion)

Into the removable crock of a slow-cooker (or large food-safe plastic container), mix burnt ends, bell pepper, onion, beans, tomatoes, beer, garlic, chili powder, barbecue rub, cumin, cayenne, chipotle powder and optional epazote together until well-combined.

Place lid on crock (or plastic container) and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight, to allow flavors to meld.

Place crock into slow-cooker (or transfer contents from plastic container into a soup pot), cover with lid and simmer on low in slow-cooker (or on stovetop) for at least 5 hours.

Note: Elliott uses Bush brand beans and Boulevard beer.

Spicy Linguine with Clams and Mussels


  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large or 4 small shallots, sliced
  • Kosher salt, for seasoning, plus 2 teaspoons
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine (recommended: Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 12 littleneck clams, cleaned
  • 12 mussels, cleaned

Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the butter and parsley and toss until coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sauce: In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, red pepper flakes, clams and mussels. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook until all the shellfish have opened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Discard any unopened shellfish.

Using tongs, remove the shellfish from the pan and reserve. Season the cooking liquid with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Pour the shellfish cooking liquid over the pasta and toss well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the reserved shellfish on top of the pasta and serve.

Chipotle-Lime Chicken Tacos


  • 1 bone-in, skin-on whole chicken, rinsed and dried
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced (lime halves reserved), plus 1 lime, zested,
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup crema
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely minced into a paste
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Generously season the chicken, on the outside and inside of the cavity, with salt and pepper, to taste.  With your fingers, put some of the lime zest under the skin of the chicken.  Sprinkle the lime juice over the chicken and put the halves into the cavity.  Put the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up, and add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the pan.  Roast the chicken until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.

Remove the chicken from the oven to a carving board, let sit until cool enough to handle.

In a small bowl, combine the crema, minced chipotles, remaining lime zest, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Once the chicken has cooled, pull the meat from bones and shred.

Put some of the shredded chicken on each tortilla, top with chipotle crema and garnish with some zest from the remaining lime.  Serve with lime wedges.

Smoked Carnitas

Insanely Great Smoked Carnitas

1 Boston Butt (pork shoulder roast), bone-in, about 5-6 lbs.

2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
8 cloves garlic

mesquite & pecan wood chips (soaked and drained)

Spice Rub: 
3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon White Pepper
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

For The Mop and Sauce:
1 12 oz bottle of dark Mexican beer like Negra Modelo
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons of the Rub

1. Pierce the roast all over to let the marinade work its way in. Place roast in a foil pan with the orange juice and garlic cloves to soak overnight, turning once or twice so the roast marinates evenly.
2. Discard OJ and garlic and rinse the roast off and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Make the rub by mixing together all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside 2 tablespoons for the mop sauce. Pat the rub all over the roast and let sit to cure for a few hours if you have the time.
4. Make the mop sauce – mix all ingredients together and set aside about 3/4 – 1 cup for later when the meat is done to use as a finishing sauce.
5. Set up a charcoal grill for indirect grilling, medium hot (300° max), and use mesquite/pecan chips for smoke.
6. Smoke the roast for about 4-5 hours or as long as it takes to get to 195°, add coals every hour and a handful or two of wood chips. Liberally mop the roast with the mop sauce about every 45 minutes to an hour.
7. Cook until it’s well done (195°) in the center – this will help it shred easier.
8. When it’s done, let sit for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes, then tear it apart into shreds.
9. Ladle the remaining mop sauce over the shredded pork.

Serve with flour and/or corn tortillas, sour cream, and guacamole.