The Chicken Post

Working full time is really cutting into my blogging time.  I’ve been meaning to write this post all week but work and its commute keeps getting in the way.  So here it is.

Earlier in the week I posted a picture of a whole chicken.  I was afraid it still had feet.  I am a staunch supporter of whole food, but I’m just not quite that hard core.  Yet.  I’m working on it.  In the end, it was just dressed a little differently and I’m ok with that.

After recovering from the chicken shock I got excited.  Every time I start with a whole chicken, I start thinking about all the different ways it can come together, all the different meals I can make.  This time around, I started with poaching.  According to wikipedia (source of all great information), poaching is the cooking process whereby a meat is gently simmered in a cooking liquid such as water, milk or wine.   For the purposes of my poaching experiment, I started with water, threw in the chicken, some bay leaves, peppercorns and let it all simmer together for about 45 minutes or so, until the meat was pulling away from the bone.  You do have to be cautious with chicken, ensuring it is cooked all the way through.

the offending chicken in water

Once the chicken was done, I saved the poaching liquid (technically I think it’s stock now) and let the chicken cool down.  I then removed all the meat and discarded the bones.  Anyone know if you can then make stock from the bones after poaching?  The poaching liquid/stock got used in the thai soup and also in the pumpkin soup with the leftovers joining some other stock in the freezer.

Then, after all that (which wasn’t really very much at all), it was time to make soup.  Soup from my latest iPhone app download, “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman.  I made his Thai Coconut Soup with Chicken but spiced it up a little.  Here’s how it turned out:

Steeping flavours

 

Clearly I missed a few key photo taking opportunities - finished product!

Coconut Chicken Thai Soup – Based on Mark Bittman’s recipe

4 c coconut milk – use the lower fat kind
1 c chicken stock
2 c cooked chicken shredded
3 stalks lemongrass – smash ’em to release the flavour, then cut into 2″ pieces
2 ” knob of ginger – peeled, sliced into medallions
2 chiles –  seeded, minced
1 c sliced mushroom caps – splurge for the nice mushrooms – I didn’t and kind of regretted it (as much as you can regret a mushroom purchase)
1 c spinach
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce – adds flavour, not actual fishiness
2 limes – juice them please
1 tsp sugar
cilantro if you like it

Combine the coconut milk and chicken stock in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the lemongrass, ginger, and chiles.  Allow them to steep together, releasing their flavours into the coconut milk and stock.  Pick out the lemongrass and ginger slices.  Add the chicken and mushrooms, cooking the mushrooms thoroughly and ensuring the chicken has warmed through.  Remove from heat, add the spinach, stirring in the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar.  Flavour with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with cilantro (if you like that sort of thing) and serve!

 

But wait!  There’s more!  With so much chicken, I couldn’t just stop, I had to keep going.  At least, I had to use up the leftover chicken.  Can’t waste that sort of thing.  The cabinets were a little bare, but we had the basic ingredients for a honey mustard sauce, and Jamie (yes him again) had posted a number of sauce recipes in his last issue.  Here we go:

Leftovers are awesome

Honey and Mustard Sauce – based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe from his magazine jamie

white wine vinegar
4 tbsp honey
3 tbsp grainy mustard
chicken stock/water

My chicken was already cooked, so I just made the sauce in an empty pan and relied on the flavours in the sauce to shine.  If you’re at home, cooking up some chicken breasts in a pan and wondering how on earth you’re going to take advantage of those yummy brown flavour bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, make this recipe.   Take advantage of the flavour.  Add flavour to your chicken breasts.  They’re asking for it.

With your fry pan (with brown sticky bits inside leftover from the chicken) on medium heat, add a good splash of white wine vinegar to deglaze (pick up all the brown bits off the bottom) the pan.  Add the honey and mustard, stirring it all to combine.  As it starts to bubble, watch it thicken; if you find the sauce too thick, add a splash of water/chicken stock/white wine to thin it out.  Toss the chicken back in the pan, allow it to warm back up again while getting all kinds of covered in sauce and serve.

I took the liberty of serving this over spinach, with parmesan cheese, toasted walnuts, and a drizzle of olive oil.  It was lovely!

 

 

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