Circle of Chicken: Sid’s Soup

white bean chili

Sid’s Soup with corn muffin accompaniment!

Longtime readers will remember my Circle of Chicken posts–you start by making a perfect roast chicken and then use the leftovers to create hash, soup, broth, etc. I love the Circle of Chicken because you can make so many recipes from one $5 chicken (if you shop the sales), and I love having homemade broth on hand. Now I’m sharing one of my family’s favorite recipes: Sid’s Soup, named after my son (who loves it so).

Our good friend Amy made it for a party, and once I noticed Sid scarfing it down, I asked for the recipe. I was directed to Sunday Soup by Betty Rosbottom, but quickly realized that this soup was heavily adapted from a recipe for Spicy Pork Chili with Cumin Polenta. “Adapted” as in Amy’s soup didn’t have pork or polenta.

After some texting back and forth, I got the real deal, which is posted below. It’s incredibly flavorful and zesty–each bite wakes up your tongue, since it has a very mild edge of heat from the pepper and tartness from the lime juice. Swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth to make it vegan!

Sid’s Soup

Serves 6

You Need:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup diced carrots
1 serrano pepper, seeds and membranes removed, minced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white beans, soaked overnight and simmered until tender, or two 15-oz cans
1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, and chili powder. Stir occasionally and cook until slightly browned, 5-10 minutes. Add the serrano peppers and garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Then add the beans, tomatoes lime juice, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and the reduce heat. Simmer for at least one hour with the lid partially open.

Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the cilantro and serve (preferably with corn muffins).

Big thanks to Amy Baker for sharing her recipe! Now that it’s getting chilly (at least in Oregon), who out there is making soup? What kind?

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Seriously Good Chili

Seriously Good Chili

Seriously Good Chili

Seriously, seriously good chili. Yum!

I named this delightful concoction “Seriously Good Chili” for two reasons: one, it is seriously good. And two, because I adapted it from a far more labor-intensive chili recipe from Serious Eats. I was going to call it the “easier” version, but you’re still cooking beans from scratch (which is actually easy) and it still includes a ton of ingredients. It’s worth it: this chili is complex and full flavored, thanks to a range of ingredients including chocolate, anchovy paste, coffee, and New Mexico chiles, but it’s still kid friendly.

I made this for Christmas Eve, along with two other soups, and this was the hands-down winner! Here we go:

Seriously Good Chili

You need:

1 pound dried beans–I used pinto because I had them on hand, but kidney beans would also be great
5 whole New Mexico chiles, seeded and torn into rough 1-inch pieces
3 pounds ground beef (note: the next time I do this, I will coarsely grind the equivalent weight of chuck steak or tri tip instead–I like a little more texture)
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth (preferably homemade), divided
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground coffee
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced fine
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
2 bay leaves
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup cider vinegar, plus more to taste
1/4 cup vodka or bourbon
1 tablespoon Buffalo-style hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Place beans, 6 tablespoons kosher salt (or 3 tablespoons table salt), and water in large plastic container or bowl. Allow to soak at room temperature at least 8 hours, or overnight. (Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt, and water to a boil. Let rest for one hour, and then proceed with the recipe.) Drain and rinse soaked beans.

Add dried chiles to large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stock pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until slightly darkened with an intense, roasted aroma, 2 to 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup chicken broth, using a flat wooden spoon or stiff spatula to scrape browned bits off the bottom of pan. Reduce heat until chicken broth is at a bare simmer and cook until chiles have softened and liquid is reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer chiles and liquid to a blender, add anchovy paste, soy sauce, tomato paste, ground spices, coffee, cocoa powder, and vegetable oil, and blend at high speed, scraping down sides as necessary, until a completely smooth puree is formed, about 2 minutes. Set chile puree aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons vegetable oil in your Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the jalapeño, garlic, and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add ground beef and cook until browned. Then add chile puree and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot until chile mixture begins to fry and leaves a coating on bottom of pan, 2 to 4 minutes. Add chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to the lowest possible setting, add beans, and cook, with cover slightly ajar, until beans are almost tender, about 1 hour.

Add crushed tomatoes and cider vinegar and cook with cover slightly ajar until beans are fully tender and broth is rich and lightly thickened, 2 to 3 1/2 hours longer, adding water if necessary to keep beans and meat mostly submerged.

Remove and discard bay leaves. Add vodka (or bourbon), hot sauce, and brown sugar, and stir to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and additional vinegar.

Serve immediately, or for best flavor, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight, or up to 1 week in sealed container. Serve with garnishes: shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro, chopped green onions, sliced avocados, lime slices–whatever you like!

I’d just like to add that I loved having a soup party for Christmas Eve–sooouuup party! And the leftovers were divine. Do you have any go-to soup recipes to share? Post them below!

Holiday Post-Game: Get in It to Win It

FullSizeRender 17

It’s time to polish the silver! And figure out what to do with these cherry tomatoes . . .

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! I hope this post isn’t too late to be at least a little helpful, but our (awesome, crowded) Thanksgiving was followed by an out-of-town visitor, and . . . I was a little tired. It happens!

But as I was cleaning up after Turkey Day, I realized your holiday entertaining post-game is just as important as your pre-prep–in fact, if you do it right, you can cut way down on your prep work next time. And with Christmas right around the corner, you can use your time now to reduce your stress then. Plus I’ve got some ideas for what to do with your leftovers!

Step One: Cleanup

First off: I know the cleanup after Thanksgiving is massive and arduous, so it’s tempting to rush right through it and half-ass it. Don’t do that. Instead of just putting things away, think of it as getting your things ready to use next time. It’s a subtle shift that can really help.

  • Take stock of all your gear. Did it turn out you were missing some items (I’m somehow missing two forks and I’m really bummed about it!)? Try to find them now, or replace them before you forget.
  • When you clean everything, make sure it’s all really clean. Take a moment. Are you putting away your rarely used china? Make sure it’s shined up. Wine glasses? Ditto.
  • Put everything away in a way that will make them easier to use and access in the future. Did you have to scour your house to find stuff? Did your original storage spaces make sense, logistically? I realized the drawer I was using for my cloth napkins was just too small, which means they were crammed in there and got all wrinkled (negating the effort I made to fold them right out of the dryer). Try to store the things you use together in the same general area!

Step Two: Leftovers

Thanksgiving and holiday leftovers are legendary. They can also be kind of overwhelming–what the heck can you do with everything before it gets gross? Here are my suggestions:

You can freeze many of these and have quick meals ready during the busy holiday season!

Step Three: Plan Another Holiday Party

What? Come on, it’s fun. Keep your momentum going, baby!

Chicken Soup With Rice

Circle of Chicken: Chicken Soup With Rice

There are two soups–plucked from my favorite childhood books–that fill some cozy recess of my soul, and chicken soup with rice is one of them.

Chicken Soup With Rice Maurice Sendak

A craving for chicken soup with rice took hold of me last week, seemingly out of the blue. In fact, I don’t have any memory of actually eating this soup, except perhaps at some diner that offered it as the soup of the day.

So I have no idea if this is an “authentic” chicken and rice soup recipe, it’s just the dish I always pictured when I read Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup With Rice. And it does seem to me like the kind of soup you can eat at any time of the year: warm and comforting, like a hug for your tummy.

Plus, I realized, this would make an excellent Circle of Chicken recipe, using the leftover meat from Perfect Roast Chicken and eight cups of Golden Chicken Broth of Happiness. This makes it incredibly convenient and inexpensive to make.

Golden Chicken Broth of Happiness

Chicken broth, ready and waiting from the freezer!

Now, if you are craving this soup and don’t have these items on hand, go right ahead with some best-quality canned or boxed broth and some shredded rotisserie chicken (or pop a chicken breast or two in with the rice, and then remove it, shred, and return it to the soup after it’s cooked through).

However, top-quality ingredients are the key to making a simple soup like this shine. I threw it together in about 30 minutes last night, and my husband is still raving about how good it was!

Chicken Soup With Rice
Serves 6

You need:

1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4″-1/2″ dice
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
1 1/2-2 cups leftover chicken, chopped or shredded
2-3 cups of water, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue to cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Garlic, carrot, onion--oh my!

Garlic, carrot, onion–oh my!

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil; add the rice and stir. Let simmer 15 minutes, or until rice is soft. Add the leftover chicken and water, if desired (my soup got quite thick). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some warm bread and butter.
Chicken Soup With Rice

Chicken soup with rice, perfect for any month of the year.

Do you have any go-to soup recipes? Favorite children’s books? Post them below!

"Free" French Vegetable Soup

Circle of Chicken Part 4: “Free” French Vegetable Soup

Welcome back to the Circle of Chicken, in which we start with one roast chicken and produce the basis for 16+ meals*. Today we have reached Part 4, where we’ll use some of your glorious, homemade chicken broth to make “Free” French Vegetable Soup! Just joining us? Make sure to check out Part 1: Perfect Roast Chicken, Part 2: Golden Chicken Broth of Happiness, and Part 3: Make Hash (or Casserole) While the Sun Shines!

How this soup be “Free,” you ask? Well, it’s not, not really. But since I use it to clear out my vegetable bin, I rarely have to buy anything to make it. Read on!

Does it sound like I’m saying this soup has a great personality? It kind of does. But it’s a personality of your choosing–or one determined by fate! That makes it kind of exciting, in my book.

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Circle of Chicken Leftover Meat

Circle of Chicken Part 3: Make Hash (or Casserole) While the Sun Shines

Welcome to Part 3 of the Circle of Chicken, in which we take one $5 whole chicken and create the basis for 16+ miraculous meals–reducing waste (and therefore saving money), eating well, and taking the opportunity to get creative!

If you’re just joining us, make sure to check out Part 1: Perfect Roast Chicken, and Part 2: Golden Chicken Broth of Happiness. In Part 3, we explore what to do with that 2 cups or so of leftover chicken you pulled from the bones of your roast chicken.

Circle of Chicken Leftover Meat

Too many times I’ve wasted food simply by not being organized, or not having a good recipe queued up–thereby depriving myself of some awesome meals, and then feeling like a jerk because I had to throw away spoiled food. Never again! By keeping these recipes on hand (or curating a couple of recipes you love), you can take full advantage of your raw materials and enjoy some truly delicious eats.

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Chicken Broth

Circle of Chicken Part 2: Golden Chicken Broth of Happiness

Let’s be straight with one another: does the Internet really need another chicken broth recipe? Or roast chicken recipe? Not really. There are probably hundreds of versions you can find. What I’m trying to communicate with this Circle of Chicken series is how to fully use a chicken–to take every part of it and get the full benefit out of it, resulting in 16+ meals. Hopefully this compact set of recipes will help you save money, reduce waste, and–most importantly–eat delicious food!

So you’ve already made your Perfect Roast Chicken and impressed your friends and family. Now it’s time to enter Part 2 of the Circle of Chicken: strip that carcass down and use the bones to make an incredible broth that you can either use right away in soups or risotto, or freeze for later use.

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