February 13, 2013

Super Market Rotisserie Chickens

Chicken Stock

I confess, sometimes we buy rotisserie style whole chickens from Safeway. This month's issue of Bon Appetit gave a strong nod of endorsement to this practice in their article "Rotisserie Chicken is Your Friend". These savory chickens provide ready access to protein for meals throughout the week. This week the rotisserie chicken proved the gift that kept on giving, as we made homemade chicken stock with the carcass. 

Here are a few tips to a foolproof stock compliments of my old-school, hard back copy of the Joy of Cooking:
  • the higher the ratio of solids to water, the more flavorful the stock
  • add just enough water to barely cover the ingredients, too much water makes for a less flavorful stock.
  • never allow a stock to boil
  • a well made stock contains little fat - trim meat and bones of visible fat 
  • keep refrigerated for 3-5 days or frozen for prolonged storage 
  • ice cube trays work well to freeze smaller amounts & are perfectly proportioned for recipes calling for only a small amount
Below is a recipe for our take on a homemade chicken stock -- we rely on our le creuset for tasks like this.

chicken carcass
3 bay leaves
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
6 baby carrots
12 whole black peppercorns
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
pinch of salt

1. combine ingredients into a large stock pot. add just enough water to cover. 

2. simmer uncovered over low heat for approximately 2-3 hours, until extremely fragrant. the stock is finished when there is no flavor left in the solid ingredients.

3. place a mesh colander in a large bowl. once finished, pour ingredients through the strainer & collect in the large bowl. discard solids.

4. cover in a tightly sealed container. remove any fat that rises to the surface when ready to reuse.

Thai Green Curry with Chicken, Sweet Potatoes & Kale

I have already described our household predilection for Thai green curry. This is an opportunistic version of green curry, making use of this chicken stock & some seasonal vegetables we had on hand to transform leftover chicken into an easy & tasty week night meal. 

1 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet potato, thinly sliced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 inch fresh ginger, pressed
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/2 can coconut milk (that was the amount we happened to have -- feel free to use more and adjust down the amount of chicken stock in proportion)
1.5 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp Thai green curry paste + more to taste
1 tsp fish sauce
2-3 leaves of kale, ribboned
3/4 cup frozen peas
~1 chicken breast (pre-cooked), cubed
1 pinch freeze dried lemongrass or 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, pounded (optional)
kaffir leaves (optional)
lime wedges
3-4 scallions, diced
cilantro, chopped
yield: ~3 servings

1. warm olive oil in large stock pot over low-medium heat. add sweet potato, onions, garlic, ginger & 1/4 tsp fish sauce. stir to coat with olive oil. cook until sweet potatoes soften a bit.

2. add the coconut milk, chicken stock, Thai green curry paste, fish sauce, kale, peas & chicken, as well as lemongrass and kaffir leaves, if using.

3. simmer over low-medium heat until the flavors combine. taste & adjust to desired heat level, adding more curry paste in .5 tsp increments.

4. once finished, cover & let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

5. garnish with lime wedge, chopped cilantro & diced scallions.

Photo Credits: #1: Urban Outfitters Blog; #2 from here; #3 Andrei Sinioukov

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