Category Archives: Slow Food

March 1 is National Pig Day, Peanut Butter Lover’s Day and Fruit Compote Day

March 1st is National Pig Day

First day of March – Rabbit, Rabbit – I say!

Also March first is National Pig Day, National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day and National Fruit Compote Day
Wales: St. David’s Day. Welshmen wear leeks in their hats today.

Wow it’s national pig day and national peanut butter lover’s day? Sounds like I need to share two of my more favorite recipes for pulled pork and peanut butter cookies….

Here’s one of my favorite recipes I created for making affordable pulled pork, it’s a slow cooking process – but very well worth every bit of time – and since you barely do anything to ‘it’ while it cooks, it allows you to go off and do other things that need tending.

Chef Maven’s Pulled Pork Recipe: (serves 8-10 easily)


  • 7-9 pound pork shoulder (butt or picnic cut)- choose one with a bone. Cost vary from $6-12.
  • 5 pieces of cloves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 apple cut up into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (sounds like an oxymoron recipe that calls for both pig and kosher salt – huh? lol)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced thyme
  • 1-1/2 large onions, cut into large chunks
  • 2 cups apple juice (not cider) (freshly pressed and organic preferred)
  • 1 bottle of lager or dark beer (heck any type of beer will do)(and it’s for the pig, not you)
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5-7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • after cooking – you will cook it a second time using BBQ sauce (mine, your own, or even bottled) – 2 cups+

Equipment Needed: large deep roasting pan with lid (the kind you use when you make turkey for example), a slow oven at 275 degrees. – You can make this in a crock pot, but I would suggest double the spices (except for salt) used since crock pots are notorious for weakening the spices.


  1. Open up your pork shoulder (butt or picnic cut) by unwrapping it from its packaging, rinse well under cold water. Score skin with knife in about 7 places and place into roasting pan having it sit on a rack.
  2. Add all ingredients and pour liquids over pork. The amount of water can vary, add it last – you will want the pork to sit in about 2-3 inches of liquid since you are basically braising the pork.
  3. Cover with lid and place in a slow over (which means low temperature) – at 275-300 degrees and allow to cook for four (4) hours – if you are using a piece larger than 7 pounds, you may need an additional hour. Usually you can tell when it’s done since it starts to pull away from its bone. Internal temperature should be about 195 degrees.
  4. Go about your business through out your day, maybe make your own BBQ sauce, etc.
  5. Take a peek at it after two (2) hours to check on the level of liquids. Add more water if you need to – I normally do not have to ever add additional liquids – and if I had to, I would add apple juice versus the plain water…I suggest this in case someone ups the oven temperature on you when you weren’t looking.
  6. Once four hours are up, take pork out of roasting pan – reserve 1/2 of the juices and cooked onions.
  7. Let pork cool off before attempting to pull apart. I usually allow it to cool off for an hour so that it’s easier to handle in pulling apart.
  8. With gloves on, I usually pull pork apart by hand – but you can use a couple of large forks to help pull it apart. Do not be worried that the meat has different colors in it – the meat may be dark pink and light pink depending upon where it is in relation to the bone.
  9. A lot of the fat will have melted away during the cooking, but you can also limit how much fat you want in the ‘end product’ which I like to do.
  10. With the reserved 1/2 juices and cooked onion, return to roasting pan along with the cooked and now pulled apart pork. Pour over pulled pork half of your BBQ sauce, stir it up, then put back into the slow oven and allow to cook for 45 minutes.
  11. Serve it up on potato rolls or other types of rolls, add additional BBQ sauce to your liking – and enjoy!

Click here for my peanut butter cookie recipe….


Did you know that the following all happens in March?

  • National Caffeine Awareness Month
  • National Flour Month
  • National Frozen Food Month
  • National Noodle Month
  • National Nutrition Month
  • National Peanut Month
  • National Sauce Month
  • UK: National Veggie Month

and also with Variable Date Events in March:

  • American Chocolate Week (3rd week)
  • Bubble Gum Week
  • Egg Salad Week
  • Florida Strawberry Festival
  • Garden Book Week
  • Great American Meatout – Don’t eat meat today.
  • Shrove Tuesday – International Pancake Day (can be in Feb or March)
  • Maple Festivals at various locations
  • National Agriculture Week
  • National Poison Prevention Week
  • National School Breakfast Week
  • Pancake Week
  • UK: National SPAM Appreciation Week
  • EU: EU Daylight Savings Time begins on the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday of October

The above stats for March are courtesy of

Chow Ciao for Now ~Chef Maven Leah

Chef Maven’s One Pot Sensational Chicken Recipe

Chef Maven's One Pot Chicken is Scrumptious!

This is a long time favorite dish of mine to make. This recipe was on another blog of mine and a pal of mine along others were enjoying it so I decided to share it here on my Chef Maven blog.

This easy succulent dish creates a wonderful one pot wonder full of complex flavors which is surprising to your family and guests – they will think you have cooked for hours, when in fact – it took one hour just sitting there on the stove top! – You could do this in a crock pot as well after you brown your chicken (but double the amount of spices used if using a crock pot).

Serve over basmati rice, brown rice, with cous cous or pasta. Dish is full of lively colors and is a great party dish or pot luck dish since it easily impresses. The fruit and little amount of curry in this dish only adds to the delightfully full flavor this recipe provides.

How this recipe was created: I first made this twist of a recipe then I created my own version several years ago when I had grapes that were looking a little past their prime along with grape tomatoes. This dish can easily be doubled and served at parties. The amount of curry used in this dish is so small, that it even passes mustard for those who do not like curry – you can barely tell it is in there – but the resulting flavors are way complex – you will think you ordered this at a restaurant.
A nice addition is adding toasted slivered or blanched almonds at the end along with the garnishes of parsley and cilantro.

  • Whole chicken cut up into eight pieces.
  • Save giblets/neck to create own chicken stock to be used in dish.
  • 1 cup green or red seedless grapes
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • 2 -4 scallions/green onions minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons parsley or cilantro minced – for garnish at end.
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1+ cup of chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon good curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh minced rosemary
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic – minced/chopped
  • 1 tablespoon “better than bullion” paste – chicken flavor (optional)
  • several shakes of dried red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • Deep heavy skillet with lid (I used my Le Crusette)
  • olive oil


  1. Allow skillet to heat up. Take cleaned chicken pieces, pat dry and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Add a little olive oil to skillet, then add one mashed clove of garlic. Just before the garlic starts to brown – remove to prevent garlic from burning, but this infuses the olive oil with some of the garlic oils. You could still minced up the gently cooked garlic and add to dish when adding all the seasonings – which I often do.
  3. Place chicken pieces skin side down carefully into hot skillet. You are only going to brown the skin, then flip to brown on the other side.
  4. Once chicken has been browned slightly, remove from pan and set aside. You will finished cooking the chicken completely in a moment.
  5. Add a little more olive oil if needed. Add onions to hot skillet saute for 3-5 minutes, then add mushrooms.
  6. Add cumin, pepper, crushed red pepper, curry, cumin, cloves, rosemary, crushed garlic from before and minced remaining garlic, and lastly scallions. Stir and saute for 3 minutes.
  7. Now add tomatoes, raisins, grapes and white wine to skillet. Stir bottom of pan to help remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan to deglaze skillet and let cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Now return chicken back to skillet and add chicken stock.
  9. I add an additional tablespoon of “Better than Bullion” paste at this point.
  10. Bring down heat to simmer and add lid. Let simmer for one hour.
  11. Enjoy smells in house while chicken dish is cooking! Taste sauce, add salt if needed.

Chicken is incredibly tender and super moist and falls off the bone easily. Sauce is amazing served over rice as pictured for my dinner the other night.

Add chopped parsley and/or cilantro right to skillet just before serving. Add additional fresh chopped scallions to if you like for added color. Add toasted optional almonds to plated food for extra flair. I have often up the amount of curry in this dish since I love curry. This dish is is one of those pretty dishes due to all the colors and makes an impression without much fuss. Enjoy!

Whole Chicken on FoodistaWhole Chicken

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