Some folks wonder how we get so much chicken stock. The quick answer: I make it. It’s cheaper and better than anything you can find in a can or box. While homemade chicken stock is great for recipes, it also makes for a terrific hot beverage. I’ve even taken a thermos of it to work on occasion.
The longer answer is that it all starts with Sunday dinner, which is often roasted chicken. I roast two. We eat one for dinner. The other is used in other recipes and even lunches for the week. Stock is made from the remaining bones, scraps, drippings, and any leftover veggie scraps (typically carrot, celery, and onion ends along with any parsley that no longer looks pretty and fresh). The following recipe outlines quantities for fresh vegetables, but I usually have enough scraps accumulated in the freezer to be used in stocks.
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Simply put: caramelized onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Though the recipe has no traditional Indian spices, I call it a chutney because it seems closer to that than a relish.
This can be used in a multitude of ways. Serve it alongside scrambled eggs, grilled swordfish, or roasted chicken. Use it as a filling for omelettes. Spread it on toast. It could even be mixed in with some pasta and topped with chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Use it as a topping for focaccia. Spread it on a breakfast sandwich or add it to grilled cheese…
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, either diced or thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 29-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 2 pounds fresh)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes
- Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in brown sugar. Continue to cook onions until they become caramelized, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and salt. Increase heat to medium. Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Cranberry sauce is so simple; there’s really no reason to have it only once a year. Boil cranberries in a thick simple syrup. Add a little orange zest and a bit of lemon juice and it’s done!
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Ghee. High smoke point; incredible flavor; multiple uses. What’s not to like about it? In fact, I have a profound love for this stuff.
Mine is typically made darker — similar to a brown butter in color but without the milk solids like, well, ghee. Of course I use it for Indian dishes, but I also use it for baking (chocolate chip cookies anyone???). Add it to rice, stir fry, eggs, fish, etc. There are so many uses, that I make it a pound at a time. The whole process takes about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Cut one pound of butter into chunks and place in a 12-inch skillet.
- Put the skillet over medium heat and let the butter simmer until the the water content has evaporated (sputtering will stop). During this time, the initial foaming will subside and the milk solids will separate from the butter fat and drop to the bottom of the pan.
- Lower heat to medium low and allow milk solids to brown and caramelize. When the butter takes on a nutty aroma and the solids turn into a rich golden brown, remove from heat. Watch this process closely; this can go from perfectly browned to burned in a matter of seconds.
- Let cool for about 2 minutes. Carefully pour through a strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth. Discard the cheesecloth and solids.
- Ghee can be kept at room temperature for about a month (add it to your mess kit when hiking!). However, I typically refrigerate it and keep it for months.