Monday, October 5, 2009

On the Menu This Week

It's getting colder. It's tea and soup season. And this is the year that I'm going to learn to make a good chicken soup out of a CHICKEN! Chicken totally grosses me out. It ain't right, but it does. For this soup I'm going to get a nice farmer's market chicken, and cut it up (blechk), and make me a nice chicken broth, just like Aunt Jennie used to make. I should have learned this lesson already, but I've avoided it. Pinch readers know my affinity for Imagine organic chicken broth.

This week we'll be eating Wagamama Noodle Soup with Teriyaki Pork, Cornmeal-crusted Tilapia with Quinoa, Chicken Soup with Wild Rice, Coriander Dry-Rubbed Steaks with Avocado Salsa, Pan-fried Salmon on Arugula, Lemon Chicken Fricassé and an oldie, Herb Frittata with Pepperonata. The frittata will be great on Bennison's little ciabatta rolls, so I guess we'll have that on Wednesday when the Evanston bakery brings its goods to the Green City Market. I like Bennison's a lot. I hope they continue to come to the GCM once the show moves to the Notebaert. I don't do Evanston, not even for ciabatta. Nothing against Evanston, of course, it's just too far to drive. I've pretty much given up on Metropolis as well, as I can't justify driving 10 miles for coffee beans. Yeah, I'm buying Peet's again. Espresso Forte!

The lemon chicken fricasee thing is pretty simple - rinse and dry boneless skinless chicken breasts and then beat the crap out of em. Do it nicely and evenly, preferably with one of those meat pounder mallets. Then dust them lightly with a mixture of salted/peppered flour and cook in a preheated skillet in a teaspoon or so of olive oil. You want to sort of brown both sides, and then toss in the juice of 1-2 lemons and a tablespoon or so of finely chopped parsley. Cover immediately and cook another 1-2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Then serve. Make sure you do your mise en place with this one -get your lemons juiced, your parsley chopped and the cover to your skillet nearby before the chicken hits the pan. And be ready to set and eat as soon as it's done cooking.

For the chicken soup-from-a-chicken, I'm going to follow Sherry's method of boiling a whole, cut up chicken for about and hour, then removing the meat and bones and adding veggies to the stock (carrot, celery, onion, parsley). I'll let that simmer for about an hour or so. Then I'll probably walk away from it for a few hours. Later, I'll strain out the veg, sort thru the meat and add the good stuff back in. And I'll add some fresh veg, too - nicely chopped carrots and celery - but I'm not sure when, as I don't like them to be overdone. I'm unsure about total simmering time as well, tho the plan is to start early.

Please share your advice for turning a chicken and water into a flavorful soup. I need all the help I can get.


Unknown said...

Chicken soup is highly personal, but these would be my suggestions: After removing the meat so that it doesn't overcook, throw the bones back in and let it simmer for another 4 (!) hours. It's a Cooks Illustrated tip I picked up a while back. Lots of flavor in the bones. Also, if it doesn't disgust you too much, keep all the fat in there while it simmers. The fat imparts a lot of chicken flavor. You definitely want to remove it later with a separator before turning it into soup. Finally, for the chickeniest-flavored broth, skip boiling any vegetables with the carcass except for an onion. Add whatever fresh vegetables to the soup you like, but you might not want to complicate the flavor of the broth too much. Good luck!

Katie Fairbank said...

Oh, thanks! Very good advice - especially with the bones going back in. And I DO want it chicken-y, so I'll keep the carrots and celery out until the broth is well flavored on its own.

Anonymous said...

I always make my chicken soup or broth after I have already roasted a chicken - after we have eaten what we want for that meal, I pick the (cooked) meat off the bones, throw the bones and scraps into a pot, maybe with an onion or carrot or other veggie for flavor, cover with water and boil for a few hours before I go to bed. Turn it off, let it sit in the pot overnight, boil again the next day, then strain and either cool and freeze to have broth on hand for cooking, or if I am making chicken soup, at that point I will add seasonings, veggies, cooked chicken, barley, rice or egg noodles, and a pinch of nutitional yeast for flavor.

Katie Fairbank said...

Hey Kristin! I've tried that, the roasted bones thing. Actually I jstu did it a few weeks ago (tho I bought a roasted chicken at WF - I really do hate dealing with a whole, uncooked bird!). When you do it this way does it get all gelatinous in the fridge like mine did? The whole bowl just turned into aspic overnite. it was supergross.