Tag Archives: Chicken Stock

On Movement

Last weekend was one of movement. No, not by me. Quite the contrary.

A dear friend of mine left the city. While another moved into the neighborhood (or, close enough at any rate, being two blocks south and only a few more west). Me? I stayed put owing to some serious jet lag exacerbated by substantial flight delays. There’s a laundry list of things that I should have done. A week later, and it’s no smaller. I was going to write it out—then, thought the better of it, as it would be overwhelming to me and boring to you, and that seemed unfair to us both. That’s the kind of woman I am.

I am, apparently, also one who makes things more difficult for myself—if you know me personally, this is no surprise.
What I’m getting at is that I had a nice ending to this very post planned. I was going to tell you that there’s was pot of stew currently bubbling away on my stove and how although it wasn’t quite the season, I was justified since Spring continues to play hide-and-seek. It’s grey out this morning, and I still feel slightly justified in all of this, and I think would be enough to help me make the transition to getting back to work and getting things done. Only, it’s not true. And, it’s lazy writing.

It all comes back to the shoulds, as in, I should have told you about this soup ages ago—when I first made it, and it was weather appropriate and making a connection to my daily life would not have been forced. Never mind that, oddly, soup is one of my ultimate comfort foods and I think nothing of eating it in the height of summer, with the AC on full blast.

The truth? I made this soup because I had the ingredients on hand for something else that I should have made. Getting to things in a timely matter doesn’t seem to be my strong suit currently. I’ll get there. Until then, here’s a recipe for kale and chorizo soup, which is perfect for a day like this one, when there are so many shoulds that you should be doing that the process of doing any seems insurmountable. I’m thinking about making another batch now.

Kale and Chorizo Soup
Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

2 TBS olive oil
1 pound chorizo, cut into 1/2 slices
1 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
3 quarts of chicken stock
4 cups kale, rinsed, stemmed, and cut into 1-inch strips
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of crushed red pepper

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chorizo and onions. Saute the mixture for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and potatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and kale and bring the liquid up to a boil. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme and crushed red pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and skim off any fat.


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Repeat Performances

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but there are very few things that I am willing to eat for days on end. In fact, aside from this bread, I can think of only one.

Greek style gigante beans.

I can’t explain it except to say that the interplay of the acidic tomatoes and creamy beans hits all of the right notes, tastewise. It’s complex, but also homey.

Honestly, now that I’d written that, it sounds overblown.

So, instead, I’ll say this: it simply tastes good.

I opted to use great nothern beans in my version because, honestly, when it comes to cooking, I’m not particularly good about planning ahead. By which I mean, I didn’t think to soak my beans the night before. I thought the smaller beans might cook in less time. Thankfully, I was right.

Of course, now that I know how easy it is to make these beans myself, I’ll be doing so again. Maybe, I’ll get my act together to do it the more authentic way that the original recipe suggests, ouzo and all.

Greek Style Beans
Adapted from Bon Appetit

8 ounces dried great nothern beans
3 TBS olive oil
2 small chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 14 ounce can tomatoes, pureed
1 TBS tomato paste
3 TBS red wine vinegar
1 TBS lemon juice
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Rinse beans and pick out any damaged ones. Then place the beans in a large pot or bowl and cover with water. Soak at least eight hours.

When you are ready to cook the beans, preheat your oven to 350. Then, in a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over a medium high heat. Add the chopped onions, garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until the onions are golden brown, about 6-7 minutes. Add tomato paste and heat for another 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer.

Rinse the beans and add them to the dutch oven along with the pureed tomatoes, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and oregano. Bring to a boil and cover the pot. Place the covered pot in the preheated oven. Cook for 60 minutes covered, then uncover and cook at least another 30 minutes, until the beans are tender and the sauce has thickened.

Serves 6

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For the Cold Days

Admittedly kale isn’t an easy sell.

In fact, I almost didn’t include a picture of the finished product here. Scroll down and you won’t need me to explain why. It’s certainly not glamorous to say the least.

But—stay with me here—I think of kale as an unsung hero. Hearty and earthy in flavor, I crave it, particularly as the days get colder.

This preparation is one of my favorites. The slow braising allows the flavors develop and becoming richer with the introduction of the stocks. The acid of the lemon juice serves as a nice counter balance, making the flavor really pop.

It’s just the thing for a cold winter’s day.

Braised Kale
Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 TBS minced garlic
8 cups kale (stemmed and torn)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over a high flame for at least a minute. Add the onions, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes and saute for 2 minutes.

Add the garlic, kale, and stock to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the lemon juice and stir. Remove from the heat and serve.

Serves four as a side

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In January It’s So Niiiice

C’mon, surely you know the song:

Happy once, happy twice
Happy chicken soup with rice

No? Well, it’s true. Chicken soup (with or without rice) is one of those things that defies seasons. Done right, it’s a cure all and comfort food. Of course, in order to do it right, you need a good stock as the base.

Stock, and chicken soup, for that matter, are deeply personal things. Talk to ten different cooks and each will have his own recipe. I’ve seen some calling for several whole raw chickens, or specific bones (notably the neck) and countless variations on spices.

That’s all very well and good, but I prefer to keep it simple: using the carcass of an already roasted chicken that’s left over from a meal. What I like best about this method is the added depth of flavor that comes from using the roasted chicken. The stock is richer, more golden than yellow and, I think, more silky.

It’s also far more economical. The chicken carcass from last night’s supper? Throw it in the freezer so it’s ready when you need. Any other poultry bones, say from a roast turkey? Use those, too. Those bits of the carrot that are too close to the top to grate and the celery greens that aren’t usable for salad? Freeze them and save ’em. Once you’re in the habit, making stock becomes an incredibly cheap proposition. If you plan it right, you won’t even have to leave your house before cooking, making it the perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday.

This stock freezes well, too, so you’ll have it on hand whenever you cook or to make a bowl of chicken soup, whatever the season.

Chicken Stock

Chicken Bones (1 pound minimum, but the more you have, the better)
4 carrots, chopped coarsely
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
4 ribs celery, chopped coarsely
5 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1 TBS peppercorns
1 tsp thyme
½ tsp red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
3 TBS vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Cold Water (enough to coat your chicken bones by at least half an inch)

Heat oil in a large (at least 8-quart) stock pot.

Heat the red pepper flakes, garlic cloves and onions, allowing the onions and garlic to caramelize, about 5-10 minutes. Add in celery and carrots, saute for another 5-10 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Add your chicken bones to the stock pot, and cover them by at least a half inch. It’s crucial that the water is cold.

To the water, add the thyme, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat so that the water simmers.

Simmer for at least 4 hours, periodically skimming off the fat and checking the water level. If the bones are exposed, add more cold water. Check your seasoning throughout, adding salt as necessary.

Once the stock is finished, strain with a fine mesh sieve (using cheese cloth works, too) and add in lemon juice.

The stock will keep frozen for 3 months.

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