Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Flooding and Stock

So, Spring is here now.

It wasn't last week when it rained for two and a half days and our apartment filled with water. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it's the reason for my absence. It was like moving, but we didn't leave the apartment. The living room was in the kitchen for about five days and we're still camping on our air mattress in the bedroom.

Needless to say, I haven't been able to be in the kitchen much. We're finally getting things back to normal.

Before this whole ordeal though, I made chicken stock (with the intention of making matzoh ball soup which still needs some tweaking).

Making your own stock is a wonderful thing and nothing is easier than making chicken stock. You just buy a chicken - try to get one that's not injected with salt or seasoning - and either buy your veggies or use what you have kicking about your fridge. Combine with a healthy dose of parsley and you've got great stock in the making.

Chop all your veggies up.

Pat your chicken dry and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a big soup pot.

Then brown your chicken. Remember, we do this to make the chicken look less like a dead creature.

Saute the onions, carrots, and celery (and any other firm veggies you might be using) in the leftover chicken drippings with some salt. When they are soft and browning, add the garlic. Garlic burns very easily and it doesn't need to cook long, adding it right before the liquid gets added is always a good idea.

When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the chicken back to the pot, enough water to completely cover the chicken and then some, and then whatever herbs you want to add.

I used fresh parsley, dried thyme, and dried chives.

Boil away for a few hours until the meat is falling off the bones of the chicken.

It was actually fortuitous I made this, because I had lots of boiled chicken to eat during a week of only being able to open my fridge a few inches due to the living room furniture.

I'm in a bit of a curry kick right now and I made several mean batches of curried chicken salad with the meat from the stock.

All you need to do is mix together:

  • 1 cup chicken
  • 1/2-1/4 cup mayo (to taste!)
  • 1/2-1 Tbs curry powder (to taste!)
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cumin (to taste!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne to taste

And it's wonderful. You could also just do mayo and parsley. Or you could devil it up and add mayo, dijon mustard, and paprika. And those are just mayo versions!

I also saved the carrots from my stock instead of just throwing them away. There really was no reason to get rid of them.

So I got out my blender.

I think there are about 3 cups of carrots there.

I blended them on the puree setting.

Then in a small saucepan I heated up

  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter
I let it cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until it was beginning to brown.

Then I added my carrot mixture and whisked in

  • 1/8 cup half and half (OK, I actually did 1/4 cup, but really, an 1/8 would have been more than enough, I think you'll appreciate it more with an 1/8 of a cup)
Then I whisked in curry powder, salt, and pepper to taste and garnished it with a few sprigs of fresh parsley. And voila! Curried Carrot Soup! It's delicious warm, but it is equally good chilled in  the fridge and used as a spread for bread or crackers along with some good cheese.

So because of my long absence, not only did I bring you a delicious stock recipe (seriously, add as much salt as you think you can stand and it still won't be as salty as low-sodium chicken broth from the store!) and a couple of fun and easy things to do with the leftovers!

Now that my kitchen is cleared and the apartment is more or less back in order I look forward to bringing you lots of great things!

Also, my parents brought me back a pasta cookbook from Italy (in Italian!) that I'm dying to try, so there will be lots of fresh pasta in your future!


  1. These are all very creative, Liz. I'm terrible about making my own stock (I have a full bird/large hunks of meat block), but you make it sound so simple; I really need to get over this. I I also love how you added curry to make all the leftovers into dishes far from plain (my first association with boiled chicken) - inspiring.

  2. Laura, I also heartily recommend Belle and Evans chicken every time. It's worth the extra couple of bucks. It's always soft and juicy and the leftovers don't get that weird cold chicken taste (I'm not sure if I'm the only one who experiences this, but I swear it's real). This chicken was actually really good right out of the pot with a little salt and pepper.

    If you didn't want to do a full bird, buy the pieces (breast, wings, and thighs) separated, brown them, and do everything else the same. You wind up with a whole chicken without having to deal with a whole chicken.

  3. You are so good. I hardly ever make my own stock, but it must make the food that much better to know that you made the base yourself. Cheers to you!