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Chicken and Rice Soup

14 Feb

Chicken and Rice Soup

I could tell on Monday night that I was starting to get sick, so I went to bed early, hoping to wake up and feel better.  When that didn’t happen, I decided to make some nutritious and delicious comfort food to cure what ailed me.  This soup was exactly what the doctor ordered.  This soup tastes like it was a whole lot of work, when in fact it is almost totally hands off.  However, it has hours of home cooked flavor from the homemade bone broth and vegetable-poached chicken.  The rice is filling and adds a nice creamy texture to the soup.  I consider the lemon in both the broth base and as a finishing touch the “secret ingredient” here – it brightens up the whole dish and balances out the sweetness of the carrots.

I woke up the next morning feeling greatly improved, thanks in no small part to this healthy and satisfying dish.  If you plan to eat this as leftovers, be aware that the rice will soak up a lot of the liquid, and you will either need to add more stock as you reheat or eat a much less soup-y version the next day.  Both ways are really satisfying and have all of the same comforting flavors.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Homemade Chicken Broth:

1 whole chicken, giblets removed from plastic packaging

2 small yellow onions, quartered

1 shallot, halved

4-5 cloves garlic

2 large carrots, scrubbed clean and roughly chopped

4 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 small eggplant, quartered

2 bay leaves

1 lemon, halved

1 tbs. whole black peppercorns

In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients.  Add water to cover all ingredients.

Over medium heat, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 4 hours, skimming fat occasionally, until darkened in color and chicken is cooked through.  Carefully remove chicken with a pair of tongs and set aside.  Strain, discarding remaining ingredients.

Chicken and Rice Soup:

1 whole chicken, reserved from above

12 cups chicken broth, reserved from above

1 tbs. butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 large stalks celery, sliced

2 large carrots, chopped

1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

3/4 cups jasmine rice, uncooked

1 lemon, halved

Salt and pepper

Carefully remove chicken from the broth above and set aside to cool.  Once cool, using forks or your fingers, shred chicken into bite size pieces, both white and dark meat, discarding bones, skin, giblets, and fat.

In a medium Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, and carrots and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until onion is translucent and celery begins to become tender.

Add shredded chicken, parsley, and rice.  Bring stock to a simmer.

Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until rice is tender.  Taste for seasonings, adjusting as necessary.  Serve immediately, with a squeeze of lemon over each bowl.

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Coriander and Garlic Roast Chicken with Focaccia Dressing

10 Dec

Coriander and Garlic Roast Chicken with Focaccia Dressing

So, during finals I have this problem.  I decide to cook relatively elaborate meals even though I really shouldn’t take the time to do so.  Because cooking de-stresses me, and I need to be de-stressed during finals.  Luckily, the end result of my problem is delicious comfort food – in this case, roast chicken, homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, and delicious dressing.

Sure, I have about 3 1/2 lbs. of roast chicken left over – but it was so worth it.  This chicken is very flavorful, with pronounced garlic and coriander flavors.  It is also incredibly moist and well-seasoned thanks to the brining, with delicious crispy skin thanks to the overnight rest and butter basting.  As usual, I followed the basics of my perfect roast chicken recipe, altering some of the ingredients and the roasting style a bit by using a roasting pan and cooking the bird on top of a bed of simple aromatics.

This was the world’s easiest stuffing – I didn’t bother pre-cooking any of the vegetables.  I just mixed everything together and hoped for the best, and it worked out beautifully.  They veg had just a hint of crispness to make for an interesting variation in texture, but everything was tender and flavorful.  The focaccia is a nice choice for dressing because it holds up its texture well, but absorbs flavor and moisture to create a nice balance.

Coriander and Garlic Roast Chicken with Focaccia Dressing

Coriander and Garlic Brine:

1 4 lb. whole fryer

2-3 cups water per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup kosher salt per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup white sugar per lb. of chicken

2 tbs. whole black pepper corns

2 tbs. whole coriander seeds

2 tbs. garlic powder

1 tbs. dried parsley

1 tbs. dried oregano

1 tbs. dried basil

3 bay leaves

3 whole cloves

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

Aromatics Base:

3 celery stalks, cut into 1″ pieces

2 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces

1 small yellow onion, cut into 1″ pieces

Butter Spread:

2 tbs. butter

1 1/2 tbs. garlic powder

1 tbs. ground coriander

Freshly cracked black pepper

To begin, in a medium or large saucepan heat water.  A little at a time, add kosher salt and sugar while whisking until dissolved.  It may be necessary to add more water to the saucepan in order to dissolve all of the salt and sugar.  Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, transfer the water to a container large enough to hold the brining solution and chicken.  This can be done in a large ziplock bag, though I prefer to use a large stock pot.

Add all other brine ingredients and allow brining solution to cool to room temperature, placing solution in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or adding more water or ice if necessary.  Once the solution is room temperature or cool to the touch, add the chicken to the solution.  Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let soak in brining solution about one hour per pound (round up to the nearest hour).

Remove chicken from brining solution and discard brine.  Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Transfer chicken onto a wire rack on top of a plate.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let rest overnight.

When ready to begin cooking, preheat oven to 475º.

Place aromatics on the bottom of a roasting pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in garlic powder, coriander, and black pepper.  Using a pastry brush, brush breasts, legs, and wings of chicken with butter mixture.  Transfer to the roasting pan on top of the aromatics.

Transfer to oven.  Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350° and roast 20 minutes per lb., or until temperature in the thickest part of the thigh or leg reaches 165°.  Baste occasionally if desired.  If the chicken becomes overly brown, tent with a piece of tinfoil.

Focaccia Stuffing:

1 1/2 cups focaccia bread, cut into 1/2″ to 1″ cubes

1 stalk celery, sliced into half moons

1 carrot, peeled, halved, and sliced into half moons

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 tbs. butter, melted

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried sage

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

Mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Transfer to a casserole dish.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes until crunchy on top.

Spiced Orange Brined Chicken Thighs in a Slow Cooker

3 Mar

As much as I am a huge fan of a whole roasted chicken, I am equally enamored of chicken thighs.  Though a whole roasted chicken is almost criminally easy, when you own a slow cooker, chicken thighs are even easier.  Though my schedule has finally died down now that my moot court competition is over, it’s still nice to come home to dinner that is basically done.  Most of this recipe can be done the day before.  I marinated the chicken thighs overnight and then quickly seared them off while boiling the brining liquid as my coffee brewed in the morning.

After a day of slow cooking in the marinating liquid, this chicken was tender and falling off the bone.  The meat was very flavorful, and the skin was sticky and sweet.  Just look at the deep caramelization of that chicken skin.  Mmmm.  Served with some fluffy white rice, this was a delicious and hearty meal with hours of slow cooked flavor but very little work involved.

Spiced Orange Brined Chicken Thighs in a Slow Cooker

2 chicken thighs

2 cups water

1 orange, zested and quartered

2 whole cloves

1 tbs. whole black peppercorns

1 tbs. kosher salt

1 tbs. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. ground cardamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Small pinch ground mace

1/2 cup orange juice (preferably with pulp)

1 tbs. butter

1 scallion, dark green parts only, for garnish

Bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Whisk in salt, sugar, and spices.  Add orange zest, orange quarters, and orange juice.  Let cool to room temperature, placing in the refrigerator if necessary.  Transfer marinade and chicken thighs to a large zip lock bag.

Let brine 6-8 hours in refrigerator.

Remove chicken thighs and transfer brine to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and boil, covered, 2-3 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium sauté pan.  Add chicken, skin side down down, and cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown.

Transfer all ingredients to a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker and serve with a few spoonfuls of the braising liquid, garnished with scallions.

Sopa de Lima (Mexican Lime Soup)

18 Nov

I’ve been intending to make a variation on this soup for quite some time now.  I thought Zak might enjoy it because it bears a passing resemblance to pho and I’m a sucker for any variety of chicken soup.  I had some leftover roast chicken from my spicy roast chicken and thought this might be an easy way to use it up.  In order to extract the maximum flavors from the spices in the broth, I threw the broth ingredients in my crock pot before leaving for class in the morning and had Zak add the onions and chicken when he came home from work.  Consequently, this broth was rich and flavorful with a great deal of spice extracted from the crushed red pepper flakes and clove and cinnamon flavor from the other spices.  The roasted garlic mellowed everything out while the lime perked up the palate and made this soup something special.

If you don’t feel like doing the broth in the slow cooker, you could easily boil the spices for about thirty minutes to an hour before straining and go from there.  It made it easier for me to eat as soon as I got home from school and I think the slow cooking improved the flavors significantly, however.  This would be extra delicious with some cilantro and jalapeños, but I had neither on hand and it worked out just fine.

Sopa de Lima (Mexican Lime Soup)

Adapted from The Homesick Texan

Broth:

5 cups homemade chicken stock

1 small yellow onion, quartered

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

2 whole cloves

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1 cinnamon stick

Kosher salt, to taste

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook about 8-10 hours on low setting.  Strain broth and return to the slow-cooker.

Soup:

1 cup leftover spicy chicken, shredded

1 medium yellow onion, sliced very thin with mandolin

5 cloves roasted garlic

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

1 tsp. lime zest

1 lime, juiced

1/4 cup Mexican-blend shredded cheese, for serving

1 lime, quartered, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°.  Cut the top 1/4″ inch off a head of garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and place in a tinfoil packet.  Roast roughly 40 minutes.

Add chicken, 5-6 cloves roasted garlic, and thinly sliced onion to the strained broth.

Add cumin, crushed red pepper flakes, and lime zest.  Raise heat to high and cook, uncovered, 25 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and stir in lime juice immediately prior to serving.

Serve with Mexican cheese and a quartered lime.

Spicy Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

17 Nov

I am well aware that I have a bit of a problem with roast chicken.  I love it.  I love the smell of it, the taste of it, the texture of it, the copious leftovers, and the bones to throw in a large pot with some vegetables for beautiful, flavorful, gelatinous, stock.  This is a particularly satisfying version, with a really pronounced but pleasant spice.  The array of root vegetables picked up a hint of the spice while slowly being basted in the juices of the chicken.  Yum!

Spicy Roast Chicken and Root Vegetables

Spicy Brine:

1 4 lb. whole fryer

2-3 cups water per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup kosher salt per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup white sugar per lb. of chicken

1 small red onion halved

1 tangerine, quartered

1 apple, quartered

4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 tbs. whole black pepper corns

1 tbs. chili powder

1 tbs. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbs. Old Bay seasoning

1 tbs. garlic hot sauce

2 tsp. paprika

2 bay leaves

Spicy Rub:

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

Freshly cracked black pepper

To begin, in a medium or large saucepan heat water.  A little at a time, add kosher salt and sugar while whisking until dissolved.  It may be necessary to add more water to the saucepan in order to dissolve all of the salt and sugar.  Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, transfer the water to a container large enough to hold the brining solution and chicken.  This can be done in a large ziplock bag, though I prefer to use a large stock pot.

Add all other brine ingredients and allow brining solution to cool to room temperature, placing solution in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or adding more water or ice if necessary.  Once the solution is room temperature or cool to the touch, add the chicken to the solution.  Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let soak in brining solution about one hour per pound (round up to the nearest hour).

Remove chicken from brining solution by straining through a colander.  Make sure you save all brining ingredients.  Dress the chicken with as much onion, apple, and tangerine as possible.

Mix together ingredients for the spicy rub.  Rub all over the chicken, including underneath the skin and inside the cavity.

Allow the chicken to rest overnight, at least 18 hours.  This allows most of the moisture to evaporate from the skin of the chicken, which will result in a crispier skin (my favorite part!).

Spicy Roasted Chicken and Root Vegetables:

Brined and dry-rubbed spicy chicken, from above

3-4 small potatoes, halved

5-6 small turnips, ends trimmed and peeled

1 large radish, ends trimmed, halved

2 small onions, halved and peeled

Preheat oven to 475°.

In a deep roasting pan with fitted lid, place potatoes, onion, tomato, and zucchini.  Toss with 1 tbs. of the olive oil.  Season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and place top of the vegetables in the roasting pan.  Rub remaining tbs. olive oil over the chicken and season with garlic powder, dried parsley, and freshly cracked black pepper.  Feel free to season the vegetables with some of the seasonings as well.

Place chicken in preheated oven on center rack.  Roast at 475° for 15 minutes or until skin is light golden brown.  After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°.  Roast chicken roughly 20 minutes per pound (rounding up to nearest pound), or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh reads 165º.   Baste both the chicken and vegetables occasionally.  For last 30 minutes of cooking, place lid on the roasting pan.

When fully cooked, remove chicken from oven keep covered.  Rest 15-20 minutes, which will allow juices to redistribute and result in a tender, juicy bird.

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