Family Recipes Cookbook

The cookbook I never got around to finishing…

Chicken Stock 12/28/2013

Filed under: CrockPot/Slow Cooker,Fall,Karin DeArmas,Reijo Pitkanen,Soups,Winter — kdearmas @ 1:40 AM
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We like to make our own stock with tons of flavor and lots of chicken fat and butter. We use the stock in many many recipes, including basics like rice or more complex soups. It’s the main reason we do Beer Can Chicken, to make stock.

We start with Beer Can Chicken.

Once the chicken is cool enough, strip off all meat and store for future recipes. I’m still developing those, including a work-in-progress Southwestern Chicken Chowder. We recently got a Food Saver for better storage of the extra chicken.

  1. After you’ve stripped off and stored the meat, take a cleaver and halve the carcass and the thighs to get the marrow exposed during cooking. Do the same thing with the wings. Split the rib cage. There is not real right way to do this.
  2. Put all bones, skins, and fat into a crock pot.
  3. Pour leftover beer and one more full beer into the pot.
  4. Add about a one quart bag of leeks, onions, and ends-and-stems of everything we’ve collected. We save all ends and stems of vegetables like carrots, onions, leeks, celery, etc. We store them in the freezer until it’s time to make a stock.
  5. Cover with water
  6. 6-8 hours on lowest setting, maybe 10 hours depending on what’s left on the bones.

Next day:

  1. Strain into a stock pot to remove most solids (all the chunky stuff). You are left with a very cloudy liquid.
  2. Reduce, reduce, reduce to your taste.
  3. To clarify, add egg whites, then strain them out.
  4. Use fine strainer to funnel into bottles for storage. We save 360 Vodka (which is a very decent and reasonably priced Vodka) bottles with the Grolsch-type tops for stocks.
  5. Fat plug optional: Butter on top floats and seals the neck, kind of like a wax plug. This helps preserve your stock from getting air into it. Good for if you intend to keep the stock for some time. Not needed if you intend to use stock quickly. If you want to do a fat plug: Quarter/half stick melted and poured on top of stock once it’s in the bottle.
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Pasta e Fagioli—Sausage/Kale 12/10/2013

Filed under: Fall,Karin DeArmas,Soups,Stove Top,Winter — kdearmas @ 12:38 AM
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This is a mash up of about three different recipes that I’ve been experimenting with. Two from Cooks Illustrated with a few touches from two of my local lunch soup places. Makes about 4 quarts, serving 8 to 10

So I’m all about soups right now. For three main reasons:

  1. Leftover potentials: I’m a busy person and don’t have time to cook every night. But I want a home-cooked meal most nights. Soups, done carefully, can last several days to over a week.
  2. Weight-maintenance: Soups are a great way to lose/maintain weight with heavy on the liquids.
  3. Eat food/not too much/mostly plants: Soups are a great way to incorporate less meat, less carbs, more veggies in your diet.

But, there have been several issues I’ve had with soups. Predominately:

I don’t like big chunks of veggies. For all I’m trying to incorporate more plants in my diet, I just don’t like big chunks of them in my soups. So for this, I pull out the Cuisinart. It’s not necessary for this recipe if you don’t have the same issue I do, but if you do, then buy/pull out the Cuisinart and your chunky veggie issues will disappear.

Figuring out how to make them last over days without making things like the pasta a mushy mess. Cooks Illustrated recipe indicates that the pasta creates a problem. This is true, particularly if you like this recipe for the multi-meal aspect. How I’ve gotten around this is to not cook the pasta in the soup itself but make each time you eat the soup. I cook the pasta in half/half water and chicken stock to get the flavor in the pasta since I’m not cooking in the soup proper.

Tips:

Cooks Illustrated recipe indicates that the pasta creates a problem. This is true, particularly if you like this recipe for the multi-meal aspect. How I’ve gotten around this is to not cook the pasta in the soup itself but make each time you eat the soup. I cook the pasta in half/half water and chicken stock to get the flavor in the pasta since I’m not cooking in the soup proper.

If you’re like me and you don’t like the chunky vegetables in your soup, then pull out your Cuisinart and do all your chopping with that. If you’re going to do this, process your parsley and kale first (even though they go in the soup last) and set aside before doing more liquid ingredients like onions, tomatoes, anchovies, etc.

Ideally, the parmesan cheese rind makes for the best taste. But I don’t always have one handy. So a take-out restaurant sized ramekin of parmesan substitutes for the cheese rind fine. Not as good, but doesn’t really detract.

I process all the ingredients in my Cuisinart in advance for ease of preparation. Even if you decide to chop everything by hand, I recommend doing it in advance for quick assembly/cooking.

Ingredients

Prep in advance (hand chop or food process)

  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped fine (I use a food processor)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup) (I use a food processor)
  • 1 medium rib celery, chopped fine (about 2/3 cup) (I use a food processor)
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 heaping tablespoon) (I use a food processor)
  • 3 anchovy fillets , minced to paste (about 1 teaspoon) (I use a 2 ounce package and put in food processor)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (I use a food processor)
  • 1-2 cups chopped kale (I use a food processor)
  • Chicken sausage (I prefer mild Italian or rosemary chicken sausage)

Have ready on hand:

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 piece Parmesan cheese rind, about 5 inches by 2 inches (I’ve cheated here with a take-out size ramekin of ground parmesan)
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
  • 3 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth (personally, I use home-made broth, but store-bought is fine too)
  • 8 ounces orzo or other small pasta (ditalini, tubetini, conchigliette)
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)

Instructions

Pancetta/Bacon, Vegetables, and Seasoning:

  1. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking, about 2 minutes. Add pancetta/bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and anchovies; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan.

Beans and Whatnot:

  1. Add cheese rind and beans
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer to blend flavors, 10 minutes.
  3. Add chicken broth, 2 1/2 cups water (I’ve found less water is needed, but judge for your own taste), and 1 teaspoon salt
  4. Increase heat to high and bring to boil.

Sausage:

1.       Smoosh (smoosh is a very technical term and there is even a tool for it) and brown four links of chicken sausage in separate pan

Kale/Parsley & Finishing:

  1. Discard cheese rind.
  2. Stir in 3 tablespoons parsley (I use way more than this)
  3. Stir in Kale
  4. Stir in browned sausage
  5. Put in oven at 250 degrees in covered Dutch Oven for one hour at 250 degrees (I’ve been told the 250 degrees oven is the perfect simmer and I’ve not been steered wrong since).

Serving

  1. This is where you cook your pasta
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Ladle individual pasta serving and soup into individual bowls
  4. (Optional) Drizzle each serving with olive oil and sprinkle with a portion of remaining parsley
  5. Pass grated Parmesan separately.