Homemade Chicken Stock – Or What to Do With That Carcass…

Homemade Chicken StockLots of stuff under the banner of homemade banner this week.  I guess everything is really homemade, if – you know – you make it in your home.  That aside, I just made a chicken.  Quite tasty that.  Once you’re done with the bird, or at least get it out of your cooking vessel, you’re left with juices and whatnot.  Generally I put the stuff that comes out during cooking in a little container and pop that into the fridge.  It’s good chicken goodness – I use it to flavor just about anything really; mushrooms – yup, potatoes – yup, risotto – yup, anywhere you need some oil or fat and chicken would be a nice addition – this is the ticket.

At the point where you’ve gotten all the usable things off of your bird – you’ll have a carcass.  I used to just toss that into the trash (now the compost – here in Seattle.)  Mistake.  We go through a lot of chicken stock.  Not that it’s too expensive, but with the amount of chicken we eat – why not make my own?  Good question.  I didn’t think it was particularly hard, but it does take some time to get things cooked down properly. Continue reading

Mole Poblano with Chicken

Mole Poblano with Chicken

So Chicken Mole Poblano.  I like moles quite a bit.  There are all manner of moles.  Pink, yellow, verde, Colorado, Oaxaca, Poblano…on and on.  They all have something going for them.  I love chocolate and any opportunity to work it into any recipe is reason enough for me to try it.  Top if off with being quite tasty to boot and what’s not to like?  I’m sure there would be a great swath of folks from Mexico, little old ladies and chefs alike, who’d argue that this is anything but a real mole.  A “real” mole might take hours and hours of cooking and roasting and all manner of wonderful things to make the very complex flavors that are indicative of them.  I don’t have 16 hours and neither do you (well maybe you do – I’m jealous if that’s the case.)  This recipe, however, is delightful, can be used any number of different ways, and is fairly quick to put together.  It’s also fairly complex, not overly chocolatey, and is quite spicy.  I’ve used this with chicken cut up, shredded, just made the sauce and drizzled it over whole chicken breasts, it works with eggs, making breakfast burritos, with pork….would you like me to go on?  It’s very versatile and it’s quite tasty.

I never would have tried this to be honest, but my other half loves this stuff and our inability to find a good one anywhere around our place meant I needed to find a recipe to make up for that inadequacy.  What emerged was this recipe (after some incredible disasters – stuff that tasted like chalk) but it’s a recipe which he loves, and so do I. Continue reading

Andrew’s Gourmet Chili

Andrew's Gourmet Chili

I like chili (one wonders if I would make something that I don’t like – I would speculate not…)  It’s especially good this time of year.  When things start to get cold (see how I avoided that whole chilly pun there?)  it’s a deeply happy thing to sit down to a warm bowl of chili.

You’ll find many variations of chili; with meat, without, with beans, without, chili verde, white chili, vegetarian chili, it goes on and on…   You could likely start a fist fight in Texas if you put the wrong thing in someone’s chili.  As far as heat is concerned that’s a personal thing.  Some people pride themselves on eating five alarm chili – some actually say they enjoy it.  I believe this is for masochists.  That’s just me though.  I like to actually taste my food rather than having it burn the inside of my mouth like I was being accosted with a red-hot poker.  Again that’s just a personal preference.  This is somewhere around a one to two alarm – call it one and a half for sake of averaging and such mathematical things.  It’s spicy enough to let you know you’re not eating something boring without causing irreparable damage to your taste buds.

This recipe is a bit of an amalgamation.  After some repeated attempts my other half (that’d be the Andrew part of name) settled on this as the ideal chili – at least for him – I like it too.  A basic chili consists – in it’s most rudimentary form – of chili peppers, onion, garlic, and cumin, and some sort of chopped or ground beef.  This is not a rudimentary chili.  This is an everything but the kitchen sink kind of chili.  But it’s got balance…perhaps even poise if you’re into such things.  I just like my food to taste good and it does that with reckless abandon.

So what do you need for such a chili? Continue reading