Brown Chicken Stock aka Liquid Gold

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Alright folks, I’ve shared with you some of my favorite chicken recipes (Roasted Chicken Thighs and Spatchcock Roasted Chicken), but don’t throw away those bones! In fact, I always have a “bone bag” in my freezer and and as we make these dishes the discarded bones go into this freezer bag rather than the trash. Once I have a full gallon-sized zip lock bag or more and a rainy day with no plans I make this chicken stock.

Chicken stock is one of the staples I like to have in my kitchen at all times, and if you’ve got the time (and the bones) this one is seriously worth it, it really is liquid gold in my kitchen.

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Brown Chicken Stock

adapted from Bon Appetite MagazineBrown Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb chicken bones
  • cooking spray
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots (or 16 baby carrots), peeled, rinsed, and diced
  • 2 celery stocks, diced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • handful of black peppercorns
  • 10 parsley sprigs
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh sage
  • 2-3 bay leaves

Directions:

Adjust the racks in the oven so one is on the bottom third of the oven, and the other is in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the bones in a single layer in a large roasting pan.

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(I know it looks kind of gross but hey, sometimes cooking ain’t pretty!)

Coat a baking pan with cooking spray and place the diced vegetables in it. Set aside. I do not recommend using a 9×9 pan as pictured above, the vegetables are too crowded and take to long to roast.

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Roast the bones for 15 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. After 15 minutes place the vegetables on the top rack of the oven and roast for 20 minutes (let the bones continue roasting in the oven). Remove the vegetables from the oven and coat them in the tomato paste.

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Return to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The bones and vegetables should be a nice deep brown color (and smell amazing).

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Place the bones and the roasted vegetables into a large pot. While the roasting pan that the bones were in is still hot pour a cup of water in and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into the pot with the bones and vegetables.

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Add 16 cups of water, and all remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 3 hours.

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Now for the fun part! Remove the stock from heat and using a slotted spoon remove the solids.

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Once the big pieces are out of the way, strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve.

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Return the stock t0 medium-low heat and simmer for an additional 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the stock from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, spoon off the excess fat.

The stock will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for 3 days, I like to store it in quart-sized zip lock bags. I typically put about 3-ish cups of stock per a bag and let them freeze flat so that once they are frozen solid I can stack them or stick them in small places in the freezer. To defrost them place the bags in a sink of hot water.

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Brown Chicken Stock

Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb chicken bones
  • cooking spray
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots (or 16 baby carrots), peeled, rinsed, and diced
  • 2 celery stocks, diced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • handful of black peppercorns
  • 10 parsley sprigs
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh sage
  • 2-3 bay leaves

Directions:

Adjust the racks in the oven so one is on the bottom third of the oven, and the other is in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Arrange the bones in a single layer in a large roasting pan.

Coat a baking pan with cooking spray and place the diced vegetables in it. Set aside. Roast the bones for 15 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven. After 15 minutes place the vegetables on the top rack of the oven and roast for 20 minutes (let the bones continue roasting in the oven). Remove the vegetables from the oven and coat them in the tomato paste. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 10-15 minutes. The bones and vegetables should be a nice deep brown color (and smell amazing).

Place the bones and the roasted vegetables into a large pot. While the roasting pan that the bones were in is still hot pour a cup of water in and scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pan. Pour the mixture into the pot with the bones and vegetables.

Add 16 cups of water, and all remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 3 hours.

Next, remove the stock from heat and using a slotted spoon remove the solids. Once the big pieces are out of the way, strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve. Return the stock to medium-low heat and simmer for an additional 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the stock from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, spoon off the excess fat.

The stock will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months or in the refrigerator for 3 days, I like to store it in quart-sized zip lock bags.

French Onion Soup

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This winter I’ve resolved to make soup once a week in efforts to make meals that are both lighter and able to warm the belly. So far, I’m off to a good start; first I tried this roasted root vegetable soup from the Eat Run Live Blog, and this week I tried a fabulous mushroom barely soup from Real Simple Magazine. Both were excellent, but I have to say my favorite so far has been the French Onion Soup.

I found this Tyler Florence recipe a few years ago, and I loved it so much the first time I made it, I made it again a week later. What I love about this recipe is the depth of flavor. It’s not just broth and onions here, there are layers of flavors. And of course there are cheesy croutons. Gotta love cheesy croutons!

Before we get started with the recipe let’s talk about chopping up onions. Another reason why I like this recipe is because I am a huge kitchen nerd and it gives me an opportunity to practice my onion chopping skills. So here is my crash course in cutting onions like a pro.

For this recipe you will need 4 medium/large yellow onions. You will also need a good, sharp knife. This is important, because without a good sharp knife this technique does not work.

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Start off by cutting the top of the onion off.

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Next, slice the onion in half length-wise.

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Now place the onion flat on the cutting board, the trick is to make slices in 2 directions without cutting all the way through the root. First, cut slices going through the onion vertically, without slicing through the root.

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Now make slices through the onion horizontally, also not cutting through the root.

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Now the onion is ready to be cut up; slice through the onion all the way to the root and small pieces of onion will fall off in tiny bits. Cutting the onions into these thin bits create a great texture, and their size will also aid in the caramalizing process.

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Now that the onions are chopped it’s time to get our soup started. Here’s what you will need;

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp of dried thyme)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere (or cheese of your choice)

First we’ll need to carmalize those onion bits to get the most flavor out of them. In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat.

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Once the butter is melted add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. I know it looks like a lot, but the onion bits will shrink down to about 1/10 of their size by the time we are finished with them.

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Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. At this point the onions will have released a lot of liquid. Increase the heat very slightly and cook until the liquid mostly evaporates and the onions are caramelized on the bottom and sides of the pan.

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Next add the wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is mostly cooked off (about 20-25 minutes).

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Remove the bay leaves (and thyme sprigs if using fresh thyme). Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the flour over the onions and give them a stir. Allow the flour to cook for 10 minutes.

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Now add the beef broth to the purple onion mixture. Gently scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any yummy brown bits into the soup. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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While the soup is simmering in its final minutes of cooking, it’s time to prepare the croutons. This is really the best part of French Onion Soup, let’s be honest. To make the croutons take slices of baguette and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the slices of bread the grated cheese of your choice and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown.

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Place the croutons on top of the yummy soup and enjoy!

*Recipe slightly adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe for French Onion Soup*

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French Onion Soup

Recipe slightly adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe for French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp of dried thyme)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere

Directions:

In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. At this point the onions will have released a lot of liquid. Increase the heat very slightly and cook until the liquid mostly evaporates and the onions are caramelized on the bottom and sides of the pan.

Next add the wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is mostly cooked off (about 20-25 minutes).

Remove the bay leaves (and thyme sprigs if using fresh thyme). Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the flour over the onions and give them a stir. Allow the flour to cook for 10 minutes.

Now, add the beef broth to the onion mixture. Gently scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any yummy brown bits into the soup. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the croutons take slices of baguette and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the slices of bread the grated cheese of your choice and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown.

Serve the soup with 3-4 croutons on top.

Gazpacho inspired by Samuel L.

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Inspired by a commercial with Samuel L Jackson (the one for the iPhone 4/Siri), and the weather getting hotter and hotter here in Charleston, I decided this week was a good week to try making some gazpacho. I did a quick search for recipes online. Did you know that there are at least a gazillion gazpacho recipes online? I finally decided to ask my Mom to send me the recipe she used.

Now let me tell you something about the way my Mom cooks; firstly, my Mom is an awesome cook for many reasons but one of them being that she is flexible.

When she looks at a recipe she adjusts it to what she has in the house or what she thinks will taste better. So when she sent me the recipe she uses, she also sent me the modifications she has made. When I looked at both, I also decided to make some modifications of my own.

So here is my gazpacho recipe that has been twice adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller et all.

Gazpacho

Adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller et all

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 3 c vegetable juice (such as V-8)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
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  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp rooster hot sauce
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

If making in a food processor;

Cut all vegetables into large chunks and puree to the desired texture using a food processor.

If making in a blender;

Coarsely chop all vegetables. Add veggies and a small amount of tomato juice to the blender and chop into a smoother texture. Pour into a bowl when finished blending. With so many vegetables I had to do the blending in 3-4 batches.

Pour most of the vegetable mixture into a bowl and set aside, leaving 2 cups in the food processor or blender. Add garlic, salt, pepper, hot sauce, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, basil, and thyme to the reserved mixture and puree together until well combined. Combine the two mixtures in the bowl. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The soup can be served by itself or with a dollop of greek yogurt and/or diced avocados. 

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Gazpacho

Adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller et all

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 3 c vegetable juice (such as V-8)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt 
a
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp rooster hot sauce
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Directions:

Coarsely chop all vegetables. Working in batches if needed, add veggies and a small amount of tomato juice to a blender or food processor and blend into a smoother texture. Pour all but 2 cups of the blended vegetables into a bowl when finished blending.

Add garlic, salt, pepper, hot sauce, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, basil, and thyme to the reserved mixture and puree together until well combined. Adjust seasonings to taste. Combine the two mixtures in the bowl. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for 24 hours.

The soup can be served by itself or with a dollop of greek yogurt and/or diced avocados.