broth

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Published December 5, 2013 by jenmatteson

I love soup, and chicken tortilla soup is one of the best!  This is the perfect time of year to make soup, and as I had just made a whole chicken the day before (rustic roasted chicken), I had the perfect opportunity not only to make chicken tortilla soup, but also to make my own stock for the soup.  No worries if you don’t have your own homemade stock, store bought chicken broth or stock will do just fine.  And if your wondering what the difference is, or how to make your own, see my earlier post from this week.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup was soooo good.  While still working on his first bowl, Nate asked me if there was more.  I said he had to work on what he had in front of him, then he can think about seconds (sometimes I feel like a mother, though I have no actual children).  And he did.  And he devoured it all.  I loved the addition of the cornmeal to this soup, not only adding a little more heft, but also a slightly sweet corn flavor.  As always, adjust the vegetables to what you have in your kitchen – I used frozen bell peppers I had leftover from our wedding reception.  Also, adjust the heat to your liking.  The original recipe doesn’t call for any chilis, but I have a ton frozen from my garden over the summer, and threw in two jalapeno and one Serrano pepper.  It added a great amount of heat, without over powering the flavor of the soup.  This is an excellent wintertime comfort food and would be fantastic for entertaining.  Just set up a bunch of accoutrements for everyone to make their own creation!Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Source: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup bell pepper (I used a mixture of yellow, red and orange), diced
3 jalapeno or Serrano chilis (completely omit or adjust for little to no heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1-10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
32 oz low sodium chicken broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
2-15 oz cans black beans, drained (I used dried black beans, cooked, about 3 cups)
3 tbsp cornmeal
5 corn tortillas, cut into uniform strips around 2-3 inches

Directions:

1. Heat one tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, peppers and garlic and cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.  Add chicken, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, crushed red pepper and salt.  Cook until spices become fragrant, about 2 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, water and black beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 45 minutes uncovered.

3. Mix cornmeal with a small amount of water, then pour into soup.  Simmer for 30 minutes longer.  Check seasonings and adjust to taste.  Turn of heat and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.  5 minutes before serving, add tortilla strips.  Serve and garnish as desired (avocado, cilantro, cheese, onions, sour cream, etc.).

Homemade Chicken Stock

Published December 4, 2013 by jenmatteson

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between broth and stock?  Me too!  To be completely honest, I have always used them interchangeably, knowing that they must be different on some level.  But, I haven’t had any catastrophes yet, so I figured there’d be no harm in continuing my old ways.

Homemade Chicken Stock

However, when I decided to make my own stock (or is it broth?) and share with you, I thought I should actually do a little research.  Turns out, there is a slight difference.  Stocks are generally made with the bones and trimmings, while broth is made with the meat as well.  Stocks simmer for much longer and are said to have a deeper, richer flavor because of the gelatin released from the long simmering bones.  While they are technically different, they are quite similar.  I say, keep on substituting stock for broth, or broth for stock.  Who cares?! 😛  Just don’t ask me the difference between vegetable stock and broth!

Homemade Chicken Stock

So, what did I make?  I made a stock.  I had roasted a chicken (rustic roasted chicken) the day before and wanted to make good use of the leftovers, even the bones – I hate wasting!  Don’t get too hung up on the vegetables or herbs in this recipe – use what you have on hand.  It’ll be delicious no matter what.  The stock will be good for about a week in your refrigerator, but if you aren’t going to use it up right away, go ahead and freeze it.  I like to use my ice-cube trays for that.  Now you’ve got yourself a wonderful base for a soup or stew.  I made chicken tortilla soup and will be sharing that later this week! (And yes, that’s my cat in the top right corner – just checking things out!)

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

bony chicken pieces (and trimmings if you have them)
4 celery stalks, halved
4 carrots, halved
1 medium onion, quartered
2 bay leaves
10-15 peppercorns
8 cups water

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients in large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.  Remove from heat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but can be overnight.  Skim fat from top and use as desired.

Utilizing Your Ice Cube Trays

Published February 14, 2013 by jenmatteson

Do you ever need just a little of something, but don’t know what to do with the rest?  It happens to me all the time with tomato paste.  Recipes frequently call for 1-2 tbsp at a time, but not an entire can.  I don’t want a bunch of open cans in my fridge, or the stress of trying to use it up before it goes bad.  So, this is a wonderful alternative!  Spoon it out into ice cube trays.  Once they are frozen, pop them out and place them in a zip top freezer bag.  Viola!  When you need just a little, you’re all set.
Freezing tomato paste in ice cube trays

Freezing tomato paste

You can use this trick with many things other than just tomato paste.  Here is a list of great ways to use this same strategy:

  • Homemade Pesto: I made a huge batch last summer and froze it in ice cube trays.
  • Chipotle in Adobo: Be sure to blend or chop the chipotle, otherwise you might not get some pepper in all the cubes.
  • Coffee: Makes for great iced coffee.  Also, I just read this great blog post from my friend, Ashley, who uses these cubes in after dinner drinks.  My coffee-cube after dinner drink is an adapted version of her recipe.  Genius!
  • Leftover Herbs: Chop up, place in trays and fill with water to stock/broth.  Add to soups, sauces and stir fries.
  • Leftover Wine: But seriously, what is that?
  • Stocks/Broths: Great to add to many dishes for extra flavor.
  • Fresh Squeezed Juice: Perfect for when you need 1 tbsp of fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • Heavy Cream and Buttermilk: Great for that little leftover you couldn’t use up before it goes bad.  You won’t be able to whip heavy cream once it’s been frozen, but you can still use it in sauces and baking.
  • Fresh Berries: Freeze fresh berries with a bit of water to throw into drinks and smoothies.

Here’s another helpful tip when using your cubes:

  • 1 cube = 2 tbsp
  • 2 cubes = 1/4 cup
  • 4 cubes = 1/2 cup
  • 8 cubes = 1 cup

What do you like to use your ice cube trays for?

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