Category Archives: chicken

apologies, with recipe

So, here are all my excuses for the long absence: We were going on vacation, I had to wrap up stuff at work and pack. Then we went on vacation, which was very fun until I caught a miserable, debilitating cold which I carried back home with me. Then I had to recuperate, with a dull palate and a stuffed-up nose. For several days, all I ate was chicken soup.

Chicken Soup

At first, I was so dilapidated, I had to settle for the chicken soup from the Jewish deli around the corner that Anne would bring me in daily installments. Eventually, though, I found the energy to dump some chicken, water and vegetables into a pot and let it simmer for three hours while I watched a quarterlife marathon on Bravo. That is my way of telling you that this recipe takes practically no effort and even less skill. All you need is time.

This is my favorite chicken stock recipe; it’s the one I make every year at Passover (often, a triple batch) and fill with matzo balls (recipe to come in April). It’s a bit of a pain because of the two-day process, but it has the best flavor and golden color of any chicken stock recipe I’ve ever tried. I think the vegetables and aromatics give it a nice balance. Using chicken wings is key — the cartilage and bone in the wings give the soup more body and a very chicken-y flavor.

Once you’ve made the stock, you can use it however you like. If you’re going to freeze it all and use it in other soups and recipes, leave out the salt. When I want a basic chicken soup, I add cooked pasta (like shells or alphabet noodles) and sliced carrots. It’s also nice sprinkled with a bit of fresh dill. At Passover, I make a triple batch and fill it with matzo balls. Whether you’re sick or not, there’s really nothing like homemade chicken soup.

Chicken Stock for When You’ve Got Time
Adapted from Sara Moulton via Cooking Live

5 lbs chicken wings
4 quarts water
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, scrubbed and halved
1 parsnip, scrubbed and halved
1 celery stalk, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 sprigs fresh parsley
8 whole black peppercorns
salt to taste

Chicken StockIn a large stockpot with a tight-fitting lid, combine the chicken wings and the water and bring to a boil, skimming off the scum that rises to the surface. Simmer for 20 minutes, skimming. Add the remaining ingredients (except salt) and simmer for 2 – 3 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Remove stock from heat and strain into a large, clean pot. Let the stock cool to room temperature, cover and chill overnight. This will allow the fat to harden on top.

Remove FatRemove stock from refrigerator. Using a large, flat spoon, remove the layer of fat. (If you’re making matzo balls, you can save this fat, depending on what your matzo ball recipe calls for.) The cold stock is going to look like chicken jelly, and you will fear I have somehow tricked you into making aspic. Don’t worry. All good stock should look like jelly when it’s cold; once you heat it up, it will return to liquid state. Return the stock to the stove, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 25 – 30 minutes to reduce the volume of the stock and concentrate the flavor. Taste the stock after about 20 minutes and continue simmering and tasting until the stock reaches desired intensity. The way I like to do this (because, remember, the stock doesn’t have any salt in it yet) is to pour a little stock into a small, custard cup, salt it lightly, and then taste. Once you’ve got a flavor you like, you can add salt to taste to the whole batch, or you can leave it unsalted if you plan to use it in other recipes.

Makes about 2 quarts.

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fried chicken night

At least once (and sometimes twice) a year, I make a fried chicken dinner for some friends who love the stuff so much that, as they say, it beats out all other foods for their respective “death row meals.” This year, along with the two birds (for 3 girls), I served: deviled eggs, an avocado and citrus salad, biscuits and last-of-the-season creamed corn.

chickendinner.jpg

For a long time I struggled with fried chicken – how to keep the outside crisp and golden but ensure the meat was cooked through? I finally found a method (thank you, Ina Garten) that is pretty fool proof: fry the chicken in hot oil until golden and then finish it off in the oven. But because I cannot leave well enough alone (see below), I have continued to tweak the recipe. Until now. (I’m pretty sure.) I think it’s perfect.

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What I have decided is this: good fried chicken is a bit of a potchke, but it’s worth the multiple steps for a final product that is flavorful all the way through, moist, crispy and won’t give you salmonella. Both this recipe and Thanksgiving turkey have made me a believer in the power of brine, and while I know that delicious biscuits don’t require buttermilk, delicious fried chicken does. Enjoy!

Fried Chicken
(2) 4-5lb whole chickens, cut into 10 pieces each (I cut the breasts in quarters so each whole breast yields 4 pieces)
½ cup kosher salt
1 qt buttermilk
3 cups flour
1 cup corn meal (stone ground)
2 tablespoons chicken spice rub of your choice (optional) or 1 tsp black pepper
Canola oil

For the brine:
In a large bowl, combine kosher salt with 2.5 quarts water and stir to dissolve. Add the chicken parts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Drain the brine and rinse the chicken parts with cold water. Pour buttermilk over the drained chicken parts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

For the fry:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line two rimmed baking sheets with tin foil (for ease of clean-up) and place oven-safe racks on sheets. Fill a large stock pot or Dutch oven with canola oil to a depth of one inch and heat over a medium-high flame to 350° on a deep-fry thermometer. In a large bowl, combine the flour, corn meal and spice rub (if using) or black pepper.

Take chicken pieces from the buttermilk, allow excess liquid to drip off, and dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Carefully place chicken pieces in hot oil and fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove chicken pieces to racks set over lined baking sheets. Cook chicken in oven for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve hot or, if you prefer, at room temperature.

Serves 8.