Here is a great substitute for chicken broth/stock and an even better one for water! You could even thicken this with a roux for a nice mild sauce to pour over your fish or chicken. I dont really think there is a set list of ingredients for this wonderful liquid. When you simmer vegetables they give up all of this colorful essence to the water you are using and this is what makes your broth. A good combination of vegetables and herbs will make a flavorful broth. You can control just how strong or mild you want this to be especially, if you are not wanting to overpower the food you are using it with. for instance, if you use it as a liquid for your rice and you only want it to enhance the rice enough to omit using salt or butter so, the rice be the main flavor. It is worth the effort as this will keep 4 to 5 days in the fridge and freezes well. My recipe is a combination of herbs and vegetables that most people will have on hand (I think). I wanted to have a good 2 quarts of broth so, I used 10 cups of water to start. Here is what I added (I actually did not measure ingredients) onion, carrot, baby bella mushrooms (washed at last second), garlic, leek, celery, 1 red pepper top, 1 green pepper top, 2 bay leaves, fresh ginger and a bouquet of fresh parsley, tarragon, rosemary and thyme wapped between two leek tops. You don’t want to cut these ingredients too big because, this is not a long simmer like meat stocks are. Add all of these things to the water in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover for an hour. Strain through a fine strainer and make sure to press down on the vegetables with a large spoon to extract all of the liquid that you can get. Cool it down to room temperature and store it in your fridge or freeze it in 2 cup containers. It is that easy!! If you wanted to try a more specialized broth like an Aisan or Italian style of broth then you could experiment with vegetables and spices that most associate with those cuisines. It is always best to add salt and adjust seasonings after you decide how you want to use this. Think of this as your first flavor before you start layering on the real character of your dish. The perfect canvas to paint on. Whatever you do, don’t ever use that disgusting bouillon. Enjoy freshness.
It seems nowadays you can get anything pre-made. Broths and stocks are no exception but, there are so many good reasons to make your own. It is good to know what really went into creating that golden yellow liquid. I like the idea of controlling the fat and sodium content beacuse if you ever reduce canned broth too much the salt will overpower it and you will not be able to eat it. You can also add all organic produce and use the bones from a free range bird. I think it is best to have an almost neutral tasting stock or broth so that it will blend in with whatever food or sauce you intend to use it for. If you desire a stronger flavor than you simply reduce it by half and it will be more concentrated. Also this freezes very well for a few months without loss of flavor. In a lot of old cookbooks you will read chefs tellinging you to bring your stock to a boil for a few minutes every 3 days and it will keep indefinitely. I have never done it more than once and after 6 days it still smelled great. I prefer to take a 2 cup portion out of the freezer and drop it in a saucepan til it melts (about 6 minutes). To me the differences between a broth and a stock are this, The broth is mostly the liquid left from simmering a whole chicken or parts and maybe a vegetable or two. The stock is much more of a flavorful liquid that is made from various bones with little or no meat and a good portion of vegetables, herbs and peppercorns wrapped in cheesecloth and simmered for a good 2 to 3 hours. There are many variations and it is up to you to see what gives you the flavor you most desire. Here is a simple one I made to show you. I started with roughly 4LBS of chicken bones and I rinsed them under cold water after removing most of the fat. I put them in a large pot and filled it with enough water to cover them completely. Bring this to a slow simmer skimming the scum and fat off of the surface. Do not ever let this boil or your stock will be cloudy. When I have skimmed the majority of scum from the surface I will add the vegetables and another 2 cups of water to replace what I removed. The vegetables I used were around 4 cups cut in pieces large enough to handle 2 to 3 hours of simmering without dissolving on you. Here is what I added, 2 medium onions, 1 leek, 2 medium carrots, 2 ribs of celery, 4 green onions whole, 1 fresh bay leaf and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme and parsley stems. You can add a whole lot more than these ingredients like mushrooms or garlic cloves. The classic ratio for a stock is 50% onions and 25% carrots and 25% celery. I like the the flavor I get with more vegetables. Now, I bring this back to a simmer and skim the fat off after it builds up in little blobs on the suface. I let it go until I think it has reduced enough for me and that is 2 to 3 hours as I said. Strain this into a large saucepan if you plan to concentrate the flavor by reducing more. Remember to taste it. If you do not plan to reduce or use this right away then you must cool it down as quickly as possible. Strain it into a large bowl and place it in a sink full of ice. When its cool enough I portion it into 2 cup size freezer containers or you could fill and ice tray up with some and freeze them in a freezer bag when done. You will be very satisfied after you have done this. I hope this helps somebody.
Have you ever been served soup at a friends house and said “wow, this is great whats in it?” They look at you laughing and say “I just cleaned out the fridge”. Yeah, hard to believe that one. So I decided to give it a shot. Where I live every thursday is garbage day and I always clean out the refridgerator. My problem is I buy too much produce and never get it all used. I end up tossing it. This week I was determined not to waste a thing. Here is a soup I eneded up making. I had the following things, 4 baby bella mushrooms, 1 turnip, 1 Yellow squash, 1 shallot, 1 clove of garlic, a small bit of fresh ginger root, 2 rubbery carrots, 1/4 a head of cabbage, 1 handful of thick asparagus, small bunch of fresh green beans, 1 large sweet potato, 1 small leek, 1 green onion, 2 stalks of rubbery celery, 1 lb of cooked hamburger(rinsed of fat), 1 small bottle of opened white wine(3 days old) and the following fresh herbs, Parsley, thyme, tarragon, marjoram. I placed the vegetables in my dutch oven minus the herbs, scallions and hamburger meat. I poured in 7 cups of cold water with 2 tablespoons of the wine and brought it to a boil. I reduced heat to a simmer and covered with a lid for 15 minute. I took lid off and added the meat, herbs, green tobasco sauce, kosher salt and black pepper to taste. I simmered it uncovered for 5 more minutes and it was done. I served it to myself with freshly grated parmesan and a little bit of fresh marjoram. I must admit it was a little bland the first night but, the 2nd and 3rd it was fully developed. I later put a couple of spoonfuls of steamed white rice into a bowl of it and I was very happy with it. Then it was gone. So the next time you clean out the fridge think twice before you waste a thing. You could have a fine meal waiting to be made. Enjoy.
A batter bread is a yeast dough that you don’t have to knead or shape. You can bake in any oven proof dish you desire and that is the shape it will take. This recipe uses two metal coffee cans. This is a cool idea for many reasons as you will see. After you bake the breads you can also store them back in the can. here is how things turned out for me. Proof the yeast in your mixing bowl with 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar for 15 minutes. Then Stir in 2 tablespoons of honey (or use sugar again), 1 and a 1/2 cups of warm milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of oil (I used canola). Lastly, beat in all purpose unbleached white flour one cup at a time until stiff and heavy (4 to 4 and a 1/2 total). Grease insides of cans and lids as well ( I forgot to and it stuck). Divide batter in half, pour into the cans and cover with the lids. This is the coolest part because the lids will pop when the dough has risen to the right height or 45 minutes has passed. Do not wait too long after this to start baking. I forgot to preheat my oven to 350 degrees and those extra 10 minutes were a bit much. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 45-50 minutes. The tops will get really brown. When you remove from the oven put the cans on a cooling rack and brush tops with butter if you like. Cool for 5 minutes and try to loosen the mushroom shaped top with a pairing knife (you may have to cut some of it off). The can is still very hot so use a towel to hold it while you gently shake it loose. I was suprised at how soft this bread was and after it cooled off the bread was still pretty soft. I think because I did over proof it one of the breads had a large pocket of air in it. The flavor was really good and I ate a little more than I should have! As an after thought you could put this in the freezer after you put the lid on for the rise. when thawing it out on you counter it will take around 4 or 5 hours to pop. The hardest part about this whole thing was finding a metal coffee can.
The leek is actually a member of the onion family so, technically this is an onion and potato soup. But hey, the leek is the star here. How many leek dishes can the average american even name? What a wonderful underused vegetable this one is. I dont think the french could ever live without leeks or shallots (another onion family member). This is my version of a simply prepared rustic soup. I rendered the fat from a few slabs of smithfield salt pork. remove pork and add butter til melted. then saute’ 3 thinly sliced leeks, 1 diced onion, 1 sliced shallot, 1 green onion (white part only) and 3 large cloves of minced garlic for 5 minutes. add 1/2 cup of dry white wine and bring to simmer 1 minute. Pour in 6 cups chicken stock, 1 and a 1/2 pounds of cubed potatoes (I used yukon gold), salt, pepper and 1 fresh bay leaf. Bring to simmer for 30 minutes. Because of the pork fat you will have to skim the top a couple of times. Puree with a emersion blender or a food processer until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and serve with chopped green onion tops. A couple of drops of hot sauce would makes this even better.
I love the fall. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables to be in abundant supply this time of year. Chickens are also on sale this week and I remember a recipe from Jacques Pepin called “Chicken legs with wine and yams”. I did not see any yams at the store and I had a whole chicken instead of just the legs. So, I did what all cooks should do. I made some modifications. Recipes are only guidlines begging to be altered. This is what ended up happening. I cut up two small chickens and skinned them. Being a big fan of rustic hearty dishes I added turnips, cabbage and used sweet potatoes. I put salt and pepper on chicken and began to sear it on all sides, cooking 7 to 10 minutes uncovered. Add onions for 2 minutes. Add garlic cloves and shallots for one more minute. Finally, add the sweet potatoes, turnips, cabbage and one and a half cups of white wine. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 35 minutes depending on the softness of the vegetables. Halfway through I pulled the chicken from the bottom and placed it on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and eat.
Fruit goes great with cooked meat. Anything goes for me, as long as the flavor makes me smile. I was looking through an old book with “famous Brands” recipes and saw all kinds of crazy combinations. This one was may favorite. This is a kikkomans recipe from the early 80′s. It came out great although I would use fresh peaches next time. heres how it went, season chicken parts with a little garlic powder (I left the wing drummette portion attached to the breat, why not) and dust lightly with flour. pour 2 Tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil in hot pan on medium heat. Brown chicken on all sides. Drain the excess fat/oil out. Combine your 1/2 cup Kikkomans Teriyaki sauce, 1/4 cup water(or broth), and 1/2 cup of the syrup from the peaches. Pour mixture over chicken in pan and bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes. Turn chicken over and simmer 15 more minutes still covering pan. Place peaches in pan and just cover till they are heated. There is a lot of room for improvisation with this recipe and I would try it again with maybe some thick pork chops. This dish goes great with steamed cabbage or brussel sprouts. I hope you try it out. Enjoy.
When most people think of french cuisine they think it is complicated fancy food with delicate sauces and fancier desserts (some of it is). For me there are two different kinds of french cuisine. There are the famous hotels and michelin 3 star rated restaurants where the food is very serious and perfectly cooked and plated. The other is the no non-sense country cooking of the farmers, wine makers and local bistros that support them. This country style is what I had in mind when I wanted to make this dish. A “fricassee” is a stew of white meat lightly seared and then simmered in broth til done. The dish is finished by reducing the liquid to the desired thickness or by adding cream and butter to finish it. Trying to think like a country cook I used whatever I had in the kitchen. This dish came out much better than I had hoped. I season my turkey with salt and pepper. Seared the meat in olive oil. Took the meat out of the pan and lightly sauteed my vegetables (carrot, onion, fennel, red and green pepper) with the thyme and garlic. Deglazed the pan with dry vermouth. Put the meat on top of the vegetables and poured in enough stock to go halfway up the drumsticks. Brought to a boil, covered and lowered to a simmer for about 45 minutes. I uncovered the pan and simmered 20 to 30 more minutes and removed the meat and vegetables. I reduced the broth a bit longer til I was happy with the thickness. I added more salt and pepper. I placed the vegetables over white rice and broth and added the meat pulled off the bone. I really enjoyed this and the house smelled good for hours.
I have been reading so much about this steak (Flat iron) being a favorite of many chefs and food writers. I decided to find out for myself why it is so popular. For one thing, I could never find it in the store. Secondly it is supposed to be a cheap cut of meat. sadly, it is not. My guess is that when the store does have it, there are only a couple of them in the meat case. Maybe it’s not a big seller or perhaps we are just not as educated about it as these professionals are? Finally, I find one and to my suprise it has a markdown sticker on it. No wonder, it costs as much as the new york strip next to it. Wich would you choose? I buy it and head home to do some research. Every source I find says to cook it med-rare or it will be tough. This makes it a good broiler or grill item. If well done is desired you should use a marinade on it first. I have decided to cook mine in a non stick grill pan and season with salt and chicago steak seasoning by Weber. My steak was slightly less than a pound and I cooked it 5 minutes per side. I deglazed my pan with 1/4 cup of beef broth, 1 Tablespoon of red wine and at the end finished with 1 tablespoon of cream. I served it with roasted potatoes. The end result was better than I could have ever expected!! In other words I loved it. It was tender and juicy and yes, I would buy this over a new york strip any day. Please try this just once and you will be hooked.