Recipe Rounds: Chili for Two and Basic Chicken Stock

We ventured out in the fresh snow!

Taking advantage of a bit more indoor time, I worked on two recipes to help avoid cabin fever.

Round 1

Chili - mise en place

Friday night, I hunkered down with the ground beef from Lancaster Farm Fresh to create a hearty chili to carry us through the weekend snowstorm.  I love making chili because you can throw in an assortment of vegetables into a base of meat and tomatoes, and 99% of time have a successful dish that lasts a few days.  As a reference point, I used a recipe from the Food Network that guaranteed chili in 30 minutes.  Perfect way to indulge my impatience.

I made a few variations; notably, beef for turkey, and a decrease in a few of the aromatics and spices.  You’ll notice I always like to add turmeric to my soups because of its well-researched health benefits.

Recipe: Chili for Two

*  CSA Share

 Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ red onion *
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ leek *
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp chili power
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2 cans 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (I used one seasoned with basil, garlic oregano), divided.
  • 1 pound ground beef *
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 tablespoons beef stock
  • 1 can 15 oz black beans, drained

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, salt, leek, chili powder, oregano, and turmeric and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in one can of the diced tomatoes and cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add the beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color.
  5. Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef stock.  Simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes.
  6. Add the second can of tomatoes and the black beans; bring to a boil.  Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes.

    Chili for Two

We, of course, topped ours with cheese – Muenster. *

Round 2

With an entire Cornish game hen (a young, small chicken) from cooking class this past week, I decided to try my hand at making chicken stock.  With the chicken meat pretty much demolished by J and I this past week, I followed a great pictorial on Allrecipes to use the bones to our advantage.  The majority of this recipe is provided below, my comments and changes italicized.  While I didn’t have all the traditional ingredients on hand — and the foot of snow outside precluded me from acquiring them — I

Cornish game hens from Cooking Class

improvised… cooking gets creative.

To read suspected health benefits of creating your own prepared stock, click here.

Recipe:  Basic Chicken Stock

* CSA Share      ** Farmer’s Market

 Ingredients & Directions:

  1. The original recipe calls for: bones from two chickens, water, 1 medium onion, 1 medium carrot, 2 stalks celery, 15 coarsely ground black peppercorns, and 1/2 of a bay leaf.   I took this opportunity to use a leek, the leftover chard stems from this past week’s sauté, and the colorful baby carrots from my recent Farmer’s Market trip.  I used:  
  •  
    • 1 Cornish game hen
    • water
    • ½ large red onion *
    • ½ leek *
    • about 5 swiss chard stems **
    • 1 bunch baby carrots **
    • 15 black peppercorns
    • ½ bay leaf

Veggies ready for the stock

2.  Remove as much fat from the chicken bones as possible. You will not be able to remove every ounce of fat from the bones; but you will skim much of the remaining fat off of the stock before you are finished.

3.  Place the bones in a large stockpot. Pour water into the pot until the bones are completely immersed. Turn the stove on to a high temperature, and when the stock appears to be about to come to a boil, reduce the heat to low. The stock should simmer at a very low heat. The goal is to have only one bubble rise to the surface per second.

4.  While the water is heating, begin to prepare the vegetables. Chop the vegetables in moderately large chunks as they will be simmering in the pot for at least 45 minutes, and small pieces of vegetable will lose their flavoring quickly.

5.  Combine the onions, carrots, and stems in a mixing bowl. Add the peppercorns and the 1/2 bay leaf to the bowl.

6.  Looking at the simmering stock, you may notice a yellow layer of fat has risen to the surface.  Use a ladle to skim this layer off.  Discard the unwanted fat.  Interestingly, there was really no fat to skim off after simmering the Cornish game hen for about an hour.

7.  The stock will need to simmer 2 hours total.  After the stock has simmered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, add the vegetables to the pot.  Bring the stock back to a simmer for the final 45 minute stretch, skimming the fat off the surface as it becomes visible.  To really let the flavors absorbed, I turned off the heat and let the mixture sit overnight.  I ended up with some very sad, colorless vegetables floating around!

8.  Strain the stock through a fine colander or alternate straining device.  The finished stock should be a light tan color, translucent, and have little or no fat floating on the surface.  The stock is now ready for use!  I’m thinking mine came out just right – just need an ice cube tray or two to store in our freezer.

Basic Chicken Stock

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