Monday, October 29, 2012

Hunkered Down

Whoa, Sally!

Preparations for this storm resulted in some surprise goodness at our place.  While clearing out our garage freezer to make room for ice, I happened upon five chicken carcasses.  Seriously, who finds five forgotten chicken carcasses?   I know I've saved a couple over time with the intention of making stock.  But five was a surprising volume to have amassed in the last year or so since we lost power -- and all the contents of our fridge and freezer -- with the last hurricane.   Well, at any rate, no time like the present to put the 'carcai' (Is that a word?  If not, shouldn't it be?) to work.

Homemade Chicken Stock (click here for recipe)

My major adjustment to the recipe was to use the bones I had instead of three whole chickens.  I also omitted dill because I forgot to buy it.

There was something very snuggly about a pot on the stove simmering away all afternoon, and the aroma in the house was deliciously inviting.   But the best part, for sure, was tasting the result the next day.   After freezing three quarters of the stock (yeah, loading up the freezer is precisely the opposite measure to take in the wake of a hurricane, but I didn't appreciate the HUGE quantity of stock this recipe would yield), I made chicken rice soup.  This gorgeous, rich stock made all the scrumptious difference.

I didn't really use a recipe here.  My dad used to make chicken and rice soup with random leftovers from the fridge and I always loved it, so I figured I'd attempt my own version.

I started by rubbing two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (further efforts to clean out the freezer) with olive oil and sprinkling them with kosher salt and black pepper before throwing them into a 375 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.  While they were cooking, I got a small pot of brown rice going, which was simply 1 cup of long grain brown rice, cooked according to the package directions.  Next, I chopped and sauteed half a large onion in a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pot.  I medium-diced 4 carrots and 3 stalks of celery and added them to the pot to soften.  After 10ish minutes, I added the stock -- about 3-4 quarts, I think -- to the pot.  When the chicken was done in the oven, I chopped it and added it to the pot, along with the rice and a handful (about 1/4 cup) of chopped flat leaf parsley.  After a quick dash of salt and pepper to taste, it was ready! 

A bowl of soup and a crusty baguette is perfect storm weather in my book. 

Be safe, everyone!


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