Category: Chicken

Shredded Chicken Tostadas

I’m such a tostada hater. I also spell toastada tostada wrong on the first time through nearly every single time. They’re good. I do like them. I like the crunch. I have a soft spot for Taco Bell Crunchwraps that I don’t indulge in and haven’t in years. But you take one glorious bite of that wonderful pile of Mexican goodness and the tragically fragile toastada tostada shell shatters into about seven hundred pieces and you now have a glorified taco salad on your hands [lap?].

Sidenote: I really had no idea what I was getting into with making a crockpot full of chicken. Chicken in a crockpot can get expensive. Unless you’re finding a good deal on it, buying three pounds of chicken at New Seasons isn’t exactly cheap [but it’s so good!]. It wouldn’t be so bad if it would last longer than two meals, but in this house? Leftovers aren’t really a thing.

The key to this chicken is the “zesty” Italian dressing. Zesty and Italian dressing is kind of redundant, isn’t it?

Sidetone: I can’t read/write/say the word zest without thinking of this commercial. It was made in the 80s. Of course it was.

The dressing is the key to all the flavor. I also added a ton teaspoon of cayenne pepper [Surprised? Me neither]. I think next time I’d split the chicken into 50/50 breasts and thighs. Thighs always retain moisture. The breasts still fell apart and shredded easily once they’ve cooked low and slow in the crockpot for hours, but I’m kind of a sucker for chicken thighs. More flavor. A lot of the chicken was eaten before we’d even opened the package of tostadas. Have I talked about this bean dip yet? It’s fan-freakin’-tastic. Any time I’m making anything remotely Mexican, I’m buying this. I spread it on everything. I eat it by the spoonful. It’s such a nice texture and has good spice for something off a grocery store shelf. This was the glue on the base of my tostada. I was convinced it’d help hold it together [it didn’t]. I ate one topped with fresh romaine, guacamole, and some fresh shredded queso fresco. After that, I just made a salad out of it and broke the shell into chips. That’s way more my style.

Inspiration: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2-3lbs boneless chicken breasts, thighs or a mix
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper [optional, I suppose]

Preparation

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients [except the chicken]. Layer the chicken in the bottom of a crockpot. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on low for 6-8 hours. I had to leave mine in for closer to 9 and it didn’t dry out. It should leave a little bit of of the sauce, but if you shred it in the crockpot and let it sit for another 15-30 minutes, it’ll soak right up.

Serve in anyway that sounds good — tostada, burrito, taco, salad, quesadilla, enchiladas or my favorite, straight into your mouth.

Chorizo Cornbread

This bread! I have to tell you about this bread. I made it for the Super Bowl because snacks are all I care about. I go to parties for the company food because eating is my favorite hobby. If you follow on Instagram, you saw the ridiculous spread of stuff of at my parents’ house. The dining table was packed full of food and then there was pulled pork, chili, and clam chowder on the stove. So. Much. Good. Stuff.

Picking what to make for social gatherings get-togethers parties is equal parts awesome and overwhelming. There are so many choices. I had a whole bunch of things in mind like Pan Roasted Clams with Potatoes and Fennel, Cheddar and Horseradish Dip, and Green Chile Posole. Then Food52 posted this bread on Facebook or something and it was a done deal. New Seasons makes that obscenely good ground chicken chorizo that was perfect for this. The only substitution I made was trying out Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free (GF) flour blend. They don’t kid that it’s a 1:1 tradeoff. I would have had no idea it was a GF flour both in mixing or in the final product. If you’re toying with trying it for you or someone you want to bake for, it’s not a bad idea. It’s not cheap by flour standards, but I don’t bake a lot so it wasn’t a big loss.

The rest of the recipe I followed to a tee. Even the sifting. I never sift a dang thing, but I didn’t want to risk it with the new flour. The result was a deliciously cake-y corn bread. It’s definitely moist, but it has chorizo, cottage cheese, and buttermilk in it. For some reason the majority of the spice baked right out of the chorizo. Every now and then you get a spicy bite, but it’s definitely not constant despite there being a lot of chorizo in there. Since it’s not corn season, I just thawed a bag of frozen corn and used that. I left the bag in my fridge overnight. I was afraid they’d get soggy, but they didn’t.

I’d absolutely make this again. It was great by itself, under a pile of chili or pulled pork, and soon to be smothered in a poached egg. Poached eggs make everything better.

Recipe: Food52

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb ground chicken or pork chorizo
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6oz buttermilk
  • 8oz cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup corn kernels

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°. Prep a 9×9 or 11×7 pan with cooking spray or butter.

Brown the chorizo in a skillet on medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate. Add the onion to the chorizo grease left in the pan. Stir occasionally. Let the onion soften an start to brown. The little charred bits of greasy onion are pretty awesome. Remove the onion to the chorizo pile once cooked.

In a large bowl, use a sieve and pour in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Tap the side of the sieve over the bowl until everything goes through. Push any lumps if you have any. Add the cornmeal and salt. Make a well and add the remaining ingredients, including the chorizo and onion. Stir until evenly distributed and all the flour is wet. This should be thick and relatively dry.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and level out. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is browned and the top is springy beneath your touch. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and eating. It’s great cold or warm.

Chicken Tikka Masala (Crock Pot)

Before I make good on my promise of a crock pot recipe, can we just talk about The People’s Pig for a minute? Not the cart [even though the cart is awesome, too]. I want to talk about their new brick and mortar BBQ spot. I’m just going to say it’s taken the place of the best BBQ in Portland for me. It’s not a large menu, but it’s a good one. Pork and chicken and a handful of sides. The portions are ridiculous [as it should be for BBQ], and the flavor is out of this world. The smoked pork isn’t quite pulled but isn’t quite slabs and it has the most unbelievable char in spots reminiscent of the burnt ends you can get in Kansas City. It’s fall apart tender. The sauce comes on the side for your smothering pleasure. The greens are braised in a deliciously meaty braising liquid. The ribs are fall off the bone tender with a lovely pink smoked color and equal parts deliciously smoky char. I’m in love with this place. It looks like a little country hole-in-the-wall. The kind of place that you don’t feel ironic or kitschy drinking out of a mason jar. It’s freaking awesome.

Anyway, enough waxing poetic about BBQ. Let’s talk about another pot of meaty deliciousness [sorry, not sorry vegetarian friends]. I haven’t made a whole lot of Indian food, but I eat my fair share of it from food carts downtown. This tastes kind of legitimate, which is all I really care about. Does it taste good? Authentic is secondary. I went full on fat with the dairy. I know I really shouldn’t be eating it, but if I am going to, it’s going to be worth while. Full-fat Fage Greek yogurt and some organic heavy cream. The goods. It all comes together unbelievably easy. I made the sauce the night before and let the flavors meld together all night and then put everything in the crockpot in the morning. I really feel bad making crock pot meals sometimes because Andrew works from home and has to smell it cooking all day. My guilt is assuaged when I get a text message on the way home from work that he tested it [quality control!] and tells me how good it is. We’re even.

The chicken is pretty tender. I wish I would have used chicken thighs, and I will next time. Chicken breasts just have a tendency to dry out a little more, even when bathing in a mess of dairy for hours. I whipped up some rice and steamed spinach and called it a meal. A damn good one, too.

Inspiration: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 3lbs chicken thighs or breasts, chopped into bite sized chunks
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 29oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • rice, steamed vegetables, cilantro for serving

Preparation

In a bowl mix together all ingredients from the onion to the cracked pepper. Let it sit overnight in the fridge if you’d like, but it’s not necessary. When you’re ready to start the crockpot, pour half of the mixture into the bottom of it. Add the chicken chunks and pour the rest of the mixture on top. Add the bay leaves. Cook on low for 8-9 hours.

When the time is up, test to make sure the chicken is fall apart tender. Whisk together the cream and cornstarch in a separate container. Pour the cream into the crockpot. Stir to incorporate throughout. Remove the bay leaves. Let the mixture cook for another 20 minutes before serving.

Black Bean Chicken Chili

So after last week’s post about lusting after a mandolin, one showed up at my house. A special thank you Andrew to the person in my life who is way better at pulling the trigger at buying things than I am. I haven’t used it yet, but I will. The blades are just as intimidating as I had anticipated, but that won’t stop me. I just need an excuse to use it.

It’s soup/stew/comfort food weather again. The last bits of summer disappeared right before the end of the month. It’s never that nice throughout October, but I’ll take it. I already miss it. Sunny and cool is my favorite. I know I’m in the wrong place for that, but it makes it when it happens that much sweeter. I’ve taken to living in my lined rain boots since the streets don’t drain nearly as well as they should. My wool coat is out in full force. I know I really don’t need to be wearing it yet, not all the time at least, but I can’t help it. I’m all in.

This was another attempt at putting something in the slow cooker the night before, cooking it while I sleep, so it’s ready when I wake up. Of course this does nothing for my quality of sleep. I’m partially smelling the food which smells awesome and wakes me up, and I’m partially freaking out that it’s going to burn. It did. Almost. It started running out of water, silly beans. They were fine ultimately. A slightly smokey flavor is a nice addition. Without adding a ton of water, I was never going to puree this, which is fine. I prefer chunky, stew-like texture. Later that evening, I browned some ground chicken for an extra protein boost. Not thinking about the color difference, it looked like I was folding in popcorn to the mix. Odd.

I piled it high on a baked potato because that seemed like the thing to do. Dunking some bread probably wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Top liberally with sliced green onions. Sour cream/yogurt optional.

Inspiration: Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1lb uncooked black beans
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • 1 bunch green onions, white and green parts sliced
  • baked potatoes, cheese, sour cream, bread for serving

Preparation

Rinse the beans under cold water and pick out any substandard looking beans or pebbles. Place them in the slow cooker along with all of the ingredients through the water. Stir to combine. Turn the slow cooker on high for 6-8 hours. Check the mixture for additional water. You don’t want it to dry out. The beans should be nice and soft. When it’s done cooking, brown the ground chicken in a separate pan. Stir into the beans. Top with green onions.

Gai Pad Prik Gaeng [Chicken and Green Beans Stir Fried in Curry Paste]

It’s already been a year since visiting Asia. Time Hop has done a great job of reminding me, showing the photos and check-ins from the three weeks spent in Thailand and Cambodia. I thought I would need longer than a year to detox from the sensual assault that was Asia, but here I am already thinking about going back. The Thai food we’ve been eating is definitely stirring that desire a little more than normal. The Mark Wiens videos have been viewed again, and he’s been posting more recipes as well as reviews of restaurants. His video of this dish absolutely prompted its making. The Tom Yum soup is on deck at some point. It’s easy. It has to be if you’re going to make it quickly from a road-side cart. The key is getting your hands on the ingredients [kaffir lime leaves] or making them yourself [curry paste]. Well stocked “ethnic aisles” in the store or even straight-up Asian markets make this pretty dang easy. In a perfect world, I’d make my own curry paste, but it just wasn’t happening. The thing is with pre-made curry paste is salt. Holy hell is it salty. In a traditional curry, the coconut milk takes care of that sodium. In this dish, there is nothing to help tone that salt down. Tread lightly if you don’t make your own. Start low and then make up a batch of rice to help with what saltiness is left.

When you get that magical balance, it’s just freakin’ delicious. It comes together so quickly, which is perfect for hungry stomachs that just don’t want to wait. The smell of this as it cooks is so hunger inducing, you’ll be thankful it’s just a quick stir fry.

I didn’t go out of my way to find the Chinese long beans. Plain ol’ green beans will do. Frying an egg on top is optional, but let’s just call it necessary because it should be. Keep the fish sauce and sugar around. I started low when I stir fried it up, and then added more to my plate as I ate.

Inspiration: Eating Thai Food

Ingredients

  • 1/2-3/4lb chicken breast, diced into small pieces. Think small and then dice it smaller.
  • 1/2lb green beans, ends trimmed and cut into small pieces
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 2-3 tablespoons red curry paste [make your own]
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce, or more to taste
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon high heat oil [canola or coconut]
  • Rice and fried eggs for serving

Preparation

Add the tablespoon of oil to a large pan or wok on low heat. Toss in your curry paste and stir it into the oil so it soaks it up. Stir often so it doesn’t stick or burn and let it heat up and smell delicious. It’ll darken as it toasts up. It shouldn’t be longer than a minute. Turn the heat up on high and add the chicken. Stir often, coating the chicken in the curry paste. Add about a teaspoon and a half teaspoon of sugar to start. Cook for 2-3 minutes, adding a little bit of water if necessary because it can dry out. When the chicken is fully cooked, add the green beans and lime leaves. Remove from the heat after about 30 seconds so the green beans are still crisp.

Serve with rice and top with a fried egg.

Samosa Hash

I finally made a point of going to the Wednesday farmers market to pick up some eggs. I also picked up some beautiful red and white dahlias. That’s not really the point. The point is eggs. The whole interaction made going for this special egg mission totally worthwhile. The older gentleman sitting at his table of eggs leaped to his feet and thanked me for dressing up to attend the market. I was at lunch during office hours, so I was rocking a pencil skirt, blouse, and heels. I told him it was the least I could do. He picked his favorite dozen of his stock, and promised that I’d enjoy them. You can’t get that kind of interaction at the fridge New Seasons. Flattery will get you everywhere with me.

And I do enjoy them. I love any excuse to use them.

This hash is paleo if that’s your thing. It’s not my thing. I just happen to like all of the ingredients in the bowl. I feel like rutabagas don’t get enough love. They always sit in the produce shelves next to the turnips [which always make me do a double take when I’m trying to make sure I grab one versus the other] and snap peas, and most people walk past them for broccoli or the leeks. The spice mixture is out of this world, too. Curry powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Using coconut oil versus the bacon grease doesn’t hurt either.

I ended up making the whole batch of hash and just added eggs as necessary for each meal.

Inspiration: Paleo Cupboard

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 1lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons cayenne powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 5 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 4oz can roasted green chilies
  • 1 rutabaga, diced
  • 2 cups fresh spinach

Preparation

Make sure you cut the vegetables in a uniform size so everything cooks evenly.

In a large heavy skilled, heat the coconut oil on medium-high heat. Add all of the spices, stirring so the coconut oil is absorbed. Stir often. It’ll start smelling awesome. Add the onion, garlic, and green chilies. Sauté for a couple minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the ground chicken, breaking it up as it cooks. After a minute or two, add the rutabaga. Evenly distribute and cover. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer everything for a good 10-15 minutes until the rutabaga is tender. Stir occasionally so nothing sticks. Add the spinach and stir until it wilts. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook as many eggs as you need, two per person. Poach ‘em for all of that yolky goodness.

Drunken Noodles with Chicken

Like I mentioned before, I’m kind of on a Thai food kick thanks to Sen Yai Noodles. It’s even got us talking about going back to Asia next year. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s really fun to think about.

When I go to places like Sen Yai, Chiang Mai, or Tarad, I’m ordering something out of the ordinary from a typical Thai restaurant menu. I’ll eat kuaytiaw khua kai [wide rice noodles stir-fried in rendered pork fat with chicken, cuttlefish, egg, and gren onions served on chopped lettuce] or pad naem woon sen [naem sour pork sausage and marinated ground pork stir-fried with woon sen noodles, egg, tomato, garlic, Thai chili,onion and green onion topped with cilantro]. Other places? Pad kee mao or drunken noodles. 97% of the time that’s what I’m going to order. Medium spice. Unless it’s from Baan Thai downtown. Then it’s mild plus at best. They use the freshest, hottest chilies I’ve ever had in a Thai dish which can be a death sentence if you’re not careful. Luckily they vet you pretty hard if you order anything above a medium.

I never make drunken noodles because I can hardly find the wide rice noodles without going to a specialty market. It’s always pad thai or vermicelli. I gave into the call to make it even with the wrong noodles though. Blame the bag of frozen shrimp. It made me do it. It still tastes like drunken noodles despite the smaller noodles. I think I’m mostly okay with it, but I still prefer the wider ones. If I ever get my hands on some again, I’m stocking up. I couldn’t find the thicker soy sauce the original recipe recommended, so I picked up hoison for the first time. I couldn’t even describe to you what it tastes like before I bought it even though I’m pretty sure I’ve had it a few times. Even still, it’s hard to describe. It’s like soy but more complex. That’s about as descriptive as I can get.

PS – I’m in the market for a new wok. Any suggestions? I’m looking at something like this or this.

Inspiration: Lollipopsicle

Ingredients

  • 12oz rice noodles soaked in warm water for 10-12 minutes until tender then drained
  • 2 tablespoons hoison or thick soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 eggs, whisked in a bowl
  • 1 large chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 12 shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed

Preparation

Preheat a large skillet on medium high heat. While it heats up, whisk together the hoison, soy, oyster, fish and Sriracha in a small bowl. Add the canola oil to the hot skillet. Add the garlic and shallot, stirring to coat in oil and cooking until lightly browned. Add the chicken and cook until mostly cooked through. Add eggs and stir to scramble. Stir in the shrimp. Cook for about two minutes before adding the remaining ingredients, including the noodles. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the noodles are reheated and starting to get crispy in spots.

Pesto Chicken and Grape Tomato Skewers

I have to say I’ve never made pesto. I’ve always wanted to. I bookmark recipes for it all the time, especially when they’re non-traditional with things like arugula and pistachios. Yet, I never make it. They sit on the list, then I eventually delete them because I know deep down that I’m probably not going to make it. The fridge New Seasons makes fresh stuff for me, so why would I bother?

It’s almost just as surprising that I made my own skewers when New Seasons has those, too. I buy them more often than not when we’re on a “grill something served with salad” dinner spree. I make skewers so often that I forgot I already bought a package of bamboo skewers. They were buried in the back of the pantry. I guess one can never have too many skewers.

Have you ever had a grilled tomato? Specifically a grilled grape tomato. They get soft and sweet and are ready to burst [assuming they didn’t already] on the grill. Then, when sandwiched between chunks of juicy chicken covered in pesto, they are elevated to some god-like level. It’s unexplainable, so don’t try. Just eat.

For the side, I sautéed some zucchini ribbons in a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Finished it with drizzle of truffle oil. YUM. 

PS – I soak my bamboo skewers while I’m making up the other ingredients. Supposedly this helps them from catching on fire. I thought about buying metal ones, but that seems like a recipe for me burning the hell out of myself.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breasts
  • 1 jar of pesto
  • 1/2 pint of grape tomatoes
  • 8-10 bamboo skewers

Preparation

Soak your bamboo skewers in water. Cut up your chicken breasts into uniform, bite-sized pieces. This will help them cook better. Place the cut pieces into a bowl and pour the pesto all over them. Use your hands to make sure every piece is coated. Let them sit for approx. 10-15 minutes [or more if you have the time]. I sliced my zucchini ribbons in the meantime.

Set up a station that to put all of this together. Thread a piece of chicken onto the skewer followed by a grape tomato. Repeat until the skewer is full. I was getting four pieces of chicken and three tomatoes. Highly dependent on the size of your chicken pieces. Repeat until you use up everything. Try not to lick your fingers. Y’know, raw chicken.

Preheat your grill to a medium high heat. Lay them on. Don’t touch for about four minutes before rotating. Cook for an additional four minutes. Remove from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. Serve.

Chicken Soup with Dumplings

Valentine’s Day wasn’t nearly as awesome/awkward as those gone by. A delicious burger and fries from Killer Burger and baked brie with fig jam for dessert at home washed down with one of the most complex and incredible Brunellos I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. AKA – dinner. We followed up the following night at Mextiza. I was a tiny bit skeptical. Fancy Mexican food. It was totally worth it in the end. The flavors here are incredible. Molotes [fried dumplings, stuffed with black beans and spicy chicken, topped with cream and avocado chile sauce], enchiladas blancas [wild boar and spinach stuffed enchiladas, simmered in a spicy almond cream sauce, fried garlic and pickled onions], and cabrito [slow roasted goat, roasted yellow potatoes, grilled onions, served over a chile vinegar sauce, and pinto beans]. Yum. I highly encourage washing it down with a house margarita.

Did I mention that I have a copy of Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller? It’s a killer Christmas present [thank you!], and was originally suggested to me by my lovely friends at Radar. They make some of my favorite food in the city, so if they start suggesting things, I listen. The book is a lot little intimidating. These are mostly time commitments and have multiple parts, but are totally worth it for the finished product. I really really really really want to make the braised beef short ribs for the stroganoff, but when do I really commit myself to something that I have to start the previous day? I’m lazy. Someday, though.

In the meantime, I did make the Chicken Soup with Dumplings. It’s stellar. There is seriously something magical about making your own dumplings for the soup. I’d never done it before [I usually cheat and just use gnocchi or something], and it does make all the difference. The other part about straining out your vegetables that sweat together for nearly a half hour and then bathe in the stock for another half hour from your stock is something that’s so “duh” but not done enough. You’ve literally cooked out all the flavor from those vegetables. They’re shells of their former selves, and are just mush. Get ‘em out of there and add fresh for the finish. Huge. Difference. The only thing I couldn’t really get right was the thickness of the soup. I don’t exactly know what I did wrong, but it wouldn’t stop me from eating it again, if only to try and perfect it. It’s not a bad problem to have. Oh, and prepare to use every single pot and pan in your kitchen. It’s one of those.

Inspiration: Ad Hoc at Home (pg. 122)

Ingredients

[this is list broken up into the order that you’ll use things]

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup leeks, coarsely chopped
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 4 quarts chicken stock
  • 5 stalks celery
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/2 cup roux [4 tablespoons butter melted into 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon flour and cooked until nutty brown]
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • flat leaf parsley for garnish

 Preparation

Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and leeks. Add a healthy pinch of salt, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook very slowly with a little stirring for about 30 minutes. The vegetables will be super tender. Turn off the heat if you’re not done with the dumplings yet.

To make the dumplings, fill a wide, deep pot with salted water and bring it to a simmer. Set up a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Combine the water, butter and a teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. On medium high heat, bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat a little and add the 2/3 cup flour all at once. Stir quickly with  a stiff spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan. The pan will be nice and clean when you’re done. It’ll be smooth but moist still. Now you’ll work your arm out. For another 5 minutes, continue stirring the combined dough around the hot pan so it can dry out. You don’t want the dough to brown, so keep stirring. Once it starts to stick to the bottom or sides of the pan again, you’re good. Transfer the dough to the bowl of the mixer, and add the mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix for a few seconds so the heat can disperse. Add the eggs one at a time while the mixer is on the lowest speed. Add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of chives and mix. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Shape the dumplings using two soupspoons to make a quenelle shape. It took a bit to get them actually into that shape, but I ultimately did. Drop the dumplings into the simmering water. Cook them in smaller batches, like five or six, to avoid crowding. Cook they rise to the surface, it takes about five minutes for them sot cook through. This takes a bit, but again, worth it.

To finish the soup, add the chicken stock to the vegetables you cooked earlier, and bring it all to a simmer. After 30 minutes, strain the vegetables out. Cut the remaining stalks of celery on the diagonal. You want about 1 1/2 cups of celery. Blanch the celery until tender, and submerge in an ice bath. Cut the carrots into small pieces until you get a cup and a half. Cook them in a small saucepan with the honey, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover with cold water and cook on a simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Drain the carrots. Bring the chicken stock back to a simmer, and stir in the roux a little at a time until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming often. I never thought that was a big deal, but it’s pretty gross. Add the dumplings, chicken, and vegetables to the soup so it can cook through. Sprinkle with the remaining chives.

Chicken and Mushroom Soba Noodle Soup

Are you adept at eating with chopsticks? Do they intimidate you? I don’t know at what point I became okay with them. I never remember eating with them when I grew up. I’m pretty sure we didn’t. The hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant I grew up with [which remains my favorite to this day] doesn’t have them I’m pretty sure. They’re not a Chinese thing anyway, are they? Seriously, though, I have no idea when I started eating with them, and I sure as hell don’t have any idea how I learned how. I’m certainly not a pro. I don’t like to use them while eating soup with mixed company. There is always that irrational fear that I’m going to fling a piece of pork out of my bowl of pho into my neighbor. Maybe that’s what keeps my skills in check. I know better than to eat soup at work as it is. I always leave with equal parts of the soup on my top as I do in my mouth. I accept defeat immediately.

At home is fair game. I finally got a bunch [thanks, mom!] to use to my hearts content, and since I’m not making sushi anytime soon, I’ll make soup. At least then I can wear my pajamas apron to prevent any messes. Roma will wait patiently on the couch for the second we’re done so she can come slurp up whatever made it to the floor. There’s always something.

This soup is easily my favorite soup to date. I’m particularly proud of my poached egg skills [again, thanks mom] as they were the perfect texture. No complaints as I gulped down three bowls of the stuff. Sometimes that just has to happen. If you don’t mind throwing down, the more exotic the mushroom, the better. I couldn’t justify rehydrating a ton of porcini, so I picked up a bag of frozen mixed mushrooms and a bunch of fresh sliced crimini mushrooms. It’ll do. Between the mushrooms and the poached eggs, the chicken is a total after thought, but keeps the soup filling. Loved this stuff.

Inspiration: How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 10oz frozen mixed mushrooms
  • 32oz chicken stock
  • 8oz soba noodles
  • 6 green onions, green and white parts sliced
  • 4 eggs, poached
  • salt and pepper
  • chili flakes

Preparation

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Bring your soup pot to a medium high heat before adding the chicken in a spread out, even layer. Let it brown on each side. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to low and sliced shallot, mushrooms, and garlic. Stir to coat in remaining olive oil and chicken drippings. Cover with a lid and cook 5-6 minutes until the mushrooms are softened.

Add the chicken and stock the pot. Bring everything to a boil and add the soba noodles. Cook until the soba noodles are cooked through. Add all of the green onions. Taste the broth and add salt, pepper, and chili flakes accordingly. Ladle out soup into individual bowls and top with a poached egg and more chili flakes.