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by msmolly

Food Sunday: Chicken Broth and Chicken Noodle Soup

8:00 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Chicken Noodle Soup I posted this recipe a couple of weeks ago on Teddy Partridge’s Souper Bowl Sunday Late Night thread, but because some Firepups wanted it and didn’t see that thread, I’m posting it again here.
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A flavorful soup requires a flavorful stock/broth as a base. My recipe for rich beef broth, and a beef vegetable with barley soup, is at my Food Sunday post from last November:

Rich Beef Broth, and Old Fashioned Beef Vegetable Soup

These recipes, with slight adaptations, are from the Cook’s Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen’s Soup, Stews and Chilis cookbook, which I highly recommend. It is loaded with recipes that are exhaustively tested and are uniformly excellent.

Simple Chicken Broth (makes about 8 cups of broth):

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
About 3 lbs. whole chicken legs, backs, and/or wings, hacked with a meat cleaver into 2″ pieces. I use wings and legs, since backs are harder to find.
1 medium onion, chopped medium
8 cups water
2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken pieces and brown lightly, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces and transfer to the bowl.

2. Add the onion to the fat in the pot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken pieces to the pot along with any accumulated juices, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken has released its juices, about 20 minutes.

3. Add the water, salt and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook, skimming as needed, until the broth tastes rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes longer. Simmering longer than 20 minutes will not improve the broth.

4. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, then defat the broth. You can save some of the fat to use to cook the vegetables in the soup recipe to follow.

Chicken left over after straining the broth will be dry and flavorless, so discard it. You can use whole chicken for this instead, reserving the breasts after browning, and hacking up the remainder as described above. Add the reserved breasts back into the broth when you add the water, salt and bay leaves. Remove them and shred their meat into bite sized pieces, and strain the remainder as described. I often just purchase a couple of roasted chicken pieces from the supermarket deli instead.

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
The flavor of this soup depends on homemade broth; do not substitute store-bought broth.

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, or use skimmed fat from broth above for richer flavor
1 medium onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 celery rib, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
8 cups Simple Chicken Broth (with or without shredded breast meat)
2 cups (3 oz.) wide egg noodles (I often use a few more noodles)
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Salt & ground black pepper

1. Heat oil or chicken fat in large Dutch oven until shimmering. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are nearly tender, 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Stir in noodles and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. They will taste much better cooked in the broth than if you cook them separately and add them, although the broth will be slightly cloudy. Stir in the chicken meat and let it heat through, about 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Photo by Jeffreyw, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

by msmolly

Food Sunday: Goetta

6:00 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Home made goetta with eggs

Homemade goetta with eggs

According to Wikipedia…

Goetta is a breakfast sausage of likely German-American origin that is popular in the greater Cincinnati area. It is primarily composed of ground meat (pork, or pork and beef) and steel-cut oats. Pronounced get-uh, this dish probably originated with German settlers from the northwestern regions of Oldenburg, Hannover, and Westphalia who emigrated to the Cincinnati area in the 19th century. The word “Goetta” comes from the Low German word götte.

The modern popularity of goetta in Cincinnati has led to it being called “Cincinnati Caviar”. Glier’s Goetta, the largest commercial producer of goetta, produces more than 1,000,000 lb (450 metric tons) annually, around 99% of which is consumed locally in greater Cincinnati.

I lived in Cincinnati for 3 years, had heard frequently of goetta, but had never eaten it until recently, when a friend who grew up in the Cincinnati area invited me for brunch and served it. I got her recipe (below), made a batch and froze it, and have been thawing some, browning it, and eating it with eggs every couple of weeks. This recipe fills two loaf pans, so you may want to cut it in half.

Ingredients
1 lb. lean ground beef, browned and drained
(you also can use leftover roast beef, chopped fine, including juices)
1 lb. ground pork, browned and drained
(you also can use leftover roast pork, chopped fine, including juices)
8 cups water
2-1/2 cups pinhead (steel cut) oats
1 large onion, chopped
4 bay leaves
3 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper

Regular method
Boil water in large saucepan, add oats, salt & pepper. Cook covered, 2 hours over low heat, stirring frequently. Add meat, onion and bay leaves. Cook 1 additional hour, stirring frequently. It should be the consistency of thick oatmeal. Remove bay leaves! Pour into loaf pan, refrigerate.

Slow cooker method
Follow regular method, except reduce water to 6 cups. Heat water, salt & pepper 20 minutes on high. Add oats, cover and cook 1-1/2 hours on high setting. Add remaining ingredients, reduce to low setting and cook 3 hours longer. If not thick enough, cook longer, stirring often. Remove bay leaves, pour into loaf pans, refrigerate.

After you have chilled the goetta for a few hours, it will be firm enough to cut into 1/2 inch slices, which may be browned in butter or oil and served. You can wrap unbrowned slices in individual sandwich bags and freeze them, and then when you want to serve goetta, simply thaw and brown the number of slices you need. Goetta is wonderful with eggs, probably somewhat more healthful than fried potatoes because it’s made with oats. There are ideas online for other ways to serve goetta.

I have not tried it, but I think you could substitute browned and drained pork sausage for the ground pork, or even browned and drained turkey sausage for a more healthful dish.

by msmolly

Food Sunday: Rich Beef Broth, and Old Fashioned Beef Vegetable Soup

6:00 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Vegetable soup

Cropped version of Agricultural Research Service image, from USDA, in the public domain.


The following two recipes are from Soups, Stews and Chilis, a wonderful cookbook from America’s Test Kitchens, AKA Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Typical of books from Cook’s Illustrated, the recipes begin with a long introduction that describes how the Test Kitchen tested and selected each component to develop the best results. The recipes in their books and magazines are uniformly excellent.

This Rich Beef Broth is simple and inexpensive, and can be the basis for several soups. Ingredients include mushrooms, soy sauce, and tomato paste, all important to add Umami or savory taste.

Rich Beef Broth (makes approximately 8 cups)
85% lean ground beef is preferable; 93% lean ground beef will also work, but it will be less flavorful. Be sure to let the fond form on the bottom of the pot in step 1, because it is important for the flavor and color of the broth.
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. white mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed and quartered (I use baby portobellos)
1 large onion, chopped medium
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
8 cups water
1 lg. carrot, peeled and chopped medium
1 lg. celery rib, chopped medium
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves

1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is browned and a golden brown fond has formed on the bottom of the pot, 8 to 12 minutes.
2. Stir in the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the red wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir in the water, carrot, celery, soy sauce, salt, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook, skimming as needed, until the broth tastes rich and flavorful, about 1-1/2 hours. Do not overcook, longer isn’t better.
4. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, discard the solids, and defat the broth using one of several methods. (The broth can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days or frozen for up to one month.)

Old Fashioned Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley (6 – 8 servings)
This is the best vegetable soup I have ever eaten! Look for whole sirloin steak tips, or substitute flank steak or blade steak well trimmed. Avoid meat that has been cut up for stir fry. I usually just cut up a sirloin steak if I can’t find steak tips. And the frozen mixed vegetables are my own addition.
1 lb. beef sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 lb. cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped medium
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tsp.)
1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry red wine
6 cups Rich Beef Broth (above)
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup pearl barley
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 celery ribs, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 bag frozen mixed vegetables (because vegetable soup should have lots of veggies!)

1. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes, reducing the heat if the pot begins to scorch. Transfer the browned beef to a medium bowl. Repeat with 2 tsp. more oil and the remaining beef; transfer to the bowl.
2. Add the remaining 2 tsp oil to the pot and place over medium heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
3. Stir in the broth, diced tomatoes, barley, carrots, celery, bay leaves, browned meat and any accumulated juice. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the 1/2 bag of frozen vegetables and continue to simmer another 10 minutes.
4. Off the heat, remove the bay leaves. Stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Enjoy!

by msmolly

Food Sunday: Seafood on the Barbie? Yes We CAN!

6:00 am in Uncategorized by msmolly

Grilled Scallops

Photo by Another Pint Please

Although it has been bitter cold the past few weeks in much of the country, some of us never stop grilling, even if we have to shovel a path through the snow to get to the grill (and I’ve done that!). I’ve owned Weber charcoal kettle grills for almost 35 years, so what follows is “charcoal-centric.” I hope that others will share recipes and grilling tips in the comments, and that gas grill owners will offer suggestions too.

Some of the following seafood grilling tips are from the Weber’s Way to Grill cookbook, one of many authored by Jamie Purviance, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, author of several grilling cookbooks, and an accomplished chef and teacher. Even if you own a different brand of grill, this cookbook is chock full of recipes, tips, and grilling ideas for meat, poultry, vegetables and seafood, and very much worth the modest price.

I use a couple of different perforated grill pans for some of my grilling, a deep dish grill “wok” and a second flat one with holes. A perforated grill pan can handle delicate fish and small foods like chopped veggies that would otherwise fall through the cooking grate. I often grill a mixture of mini redskin potatoes, crookneck squash slices, fat whole mushrooms, quartered onions, cherry tomatoes, and cooked shelled shrimp, all tossed in olive oil and Greek seasoning (any herb mixture, like Herbes de Provence, works well too).

A mixture like this is best cooked using indirect heat, with the charcoal in two piles on either side of the charcoal grate, and the wok above, centered on the cooking grate rather than directly over the hot coals. Indirect heat is more nearly like an oven, as opposed to the “broiler” effect of cooking directly over hot coals. I cook each component in order of density, starting with potatoes, then adding the squash, then the onions, mushrooms, and last the cherry tomatoes and shrimp, tossing the mixture after each addition and then covering the grill for a bit more cooking.  The grill “wok” is superb for preparing this dish.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

by msmolly

Food Sunday: Senate Restaurant Bean Soup

3:42 pm in Uncategorized by msmolly

The gray, chilly days of Northern Indiana November always make me hungry for soup, and I make several kinds and freeze some for when there’s a lot of snow on the ground. Senate Restaurant Bean Soup is one of my favorites. It is easy and filling, and it’s inexpensive and good for you, too!

This recipe comes from a 1976 Junior League of Grand Rapids, Michigan cookbook, and I’ve adapted it a bit over the years. For example, the original recipe calls for navy beans, which are much less interesting and flavorful. Bean soup is on the menu in the Senate’s restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated. The recipes found online usually omit some of the ingredients in my recipe.

Ingredients

1 package of 15-bean soup beans; discard the flavoring packet, if there is one

2 large yellow onions, chopped

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1 smoked ham hock shank (or any very meaty ham bone)

2 bay leaves

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1/2 lemon

6 stems parsley

3/4 tsp. dried thyme

Assembly

Soak beans overnight, then drain and rinse them well under hot water. Lightly brown the onion and garlic in butter. Put beans, 3 qts. water, and all of the other ingredients into a large pot or dutch oven (a slow cooker would work too). Cook covered, slowly, at least 3 hours or until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove and discard the bay leaves, the 1/2 lemon, and what’s left of the parsley stems. Remove 2 cups of beans with a little liquid, puree them in a blender, and return the puree to the soup to thicken it. Remove the ham bone from the pot, remove the meat, cut it into small pieces and return it to the soup. Season with freshly ground pepper and 1 Tbsp. salt. Serve with cornbread and a tossed salad. Makes about 8 servings. It can be gently reheated, and freezes well.

Enjoy!