The Whole Chicken

Chicken

Last month a bought whole chickens at Marianos at $3.99 per pound
Whole Chickens are available at half that price

A Whole Chicken is a wonderful thing, especially when you use all of it
A Whole Chicken is a beautiful thing and you get all the “funny parts”
Found thighs and breasts at $0.99 per pound, but a Whole Chicken is much better
(They say everything is better cooked on the bone)

A Whole Chicken provides joy, happiness and deliciousness all through the week:

We freeze the Funny Parts in seasoned EVO, then poach the remaining chicken

  • The Funny Parts (to stir-fry with rice)
    • Wings (what do you call the three pieces of the wing?)
    • Necks, Livers, Gizzards and Hearts
    • Store in EVO, Garlic and Red Pepper Flakes
  • Legs and Thighs (instant gratification – rich dark meat)
  • Backs (picking the meat off of the back is a delicious snack,
    • One of life’s simple pleasures)
    • And Remember the Oyster
  • Breasts (lots of meat, but actually anti-climactic, unflavorful disappointment)
    • Maybe remove it and sauce it with something flavorful or hot
  • Chicken Stock (WONDERFUL, add it for everything, especially Dirty Green Rice)
      • Create a Double Stock, Boiling Chicken in Chicken Stock
      • Salt and Pepper the remaining Chicken carcass and store overnight in the refrigerator.
      • Next Day: Drain and Poach Chicken in Water and any Double Stock remaining from the previous week
        Add Whole Carrots and a Handful of Herbs (fresh, if you have them)
      • Bring to Boil, then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Save the Broth
        Strain, Chill, then eventually remove the fat off the surface

    Chicken Parts

We try to reduce fat whenever possible and:

  • discard the large firm pieces of around the tail
  • discard the skin from the neck (there is so much of it)
  • discard the skin from the neck (there is more skin then neck)
  • remove the wing tips and poach with the chicken, they might add gelatin to the stock, but otherwise are mostly skin and bone (if you were going to fry them for chicken wings, they would be a vehicle for fried breading and sauce)
  • chill and store chicken with skin on, but peel it off before eating
  • Strain the stock, chill and store, the fat will rise to the top and perhaps act as a hermetic seal until it is removed when you later use the stock

Other Secrets:

  • cook a Bunch a Carrots along with the chicken
  • cook Dried Mushrooms along with the chicken
  • add Onion Trimmings along with the chicken
  • add Bay Leafs (powdered in spice grinder)

 

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Double Stock

Going to Cooking School does not make you a good cook.  It does expose you to culinary  scholarship.

Last week, I boiled a chicken and reserved the broth for making some Dirty Green Brown Rice

The fridge is crowded, the broth is still waiting, so I boiled some more chicken in this same broth.  The result is twice as strong as a simple broth.  And, twice as good

You could call this a Double Stock.

Chicken

 

 

 

 

Instant Pot Crimes

We are still discovering our new Instant Pot. Giddy that it is so easy and automatic.

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is all the good things about a pressure cooker, but non of the bad things.
-it doesn’t need to be watched
-it doesn’t send a constant sputter of messy steam into the air

But we are cautious that this big machine (ID-DUO80) on the counter, plugged into the wall could be dangerous, or at least have some drawbacks. To master a new technique, you need to find all the mistakes that are possible. So here are our discoveries, which we will call Instant Pot Crimes.

The Silicon Ring
We realize that cleaning the mechanism will be critical. You need a tight seal between the pot and the lid, to maintain pressure. You need a functioning venting mechanism to release pressure – although as we understand it, the smart thermostat is a great feature, which regulates the heat and thereby minimizes the release of steam.
So, we remove and rinse the Silicon Ring after every use and rinse the lid, especially the venting mechanism
Our Crime: We forgot to replace the Silicon Ring before the next use. And during the next use, there was no seal between the lid and the pot. Usually there is a Brief period of sputtering and then a subtle click as the red pressure indicator pops-up and signals that the Instant Pot is sealed. But this time, the release of steam (around the lid) continued for an extended period. It was easy to remove the lid, replace the Silicon Ring and proceed. We are curious as to what would happened if we did not intercede. We have not investigated whether unsupervised use is recommended, and don’t know what would happen if we did not step-in and install the Silicon Ring. Would it continue? Would it all water eventually be released as steam. We would imagine that the pot would turn-off if the Pot released all of the water, before overheating, burning, Hot Pot Meltdown similar to the China Syndrome.

A Horrible Smell
One morning last week, we walked into the kitchen to a bad smell, akin to maybe a dead rodent, rotting within the wall (or some other nefarious criminal actity). Eventually we discovered that the Instant Pot was sitting in a fetid puddle of water. There was a substantial amount, it did not drip off the counter onto the floor, but this seemed to be leaking out of the bottom of the Instant Pot.
-The tiny collector that snaps to the Instant Pot was only half full.
-We do use the nifty feature where the lid fits upright into a slot in the handle. (And water may have drained out the lid) We had cooked two batches of black beans – heavy use.
-There was minimal evidence of leakage from inside the Instant Pot.
So our current theory is that our Silicon Ring error, where liquid sputtered from the Instant Pot for an extended period (although there was a lot of of smelly bean water)

We will keep our eyes open for Instant Pot Crimes

Instant Pot

Instant Pot

We bought an Instant Pot on a lark
It’s a pressure cooker, without the stove top, automatic, no watching

We like counter appliances which seem more energy-efficient
Learned to love bread machine, loved our rice steamer and electric tea-pot

So we have great expectations for cooking which spent over an hour on the stove in a stock pot:

Tomato Sauce
Beans
Bones and Stocks
Soups

Recipes for one pot:
Refried Beans
Baba Ganoush

We had a favorite crock pot recipe with Chicken, Peanut Butter, Curry Powder, Yogurt and Broccoli which we yearn for

Update:

Saturday, April 1st
After my inaugural Instant Pot Adventure, this seems to be a Smart-Pressure-Cooker. Instead or spewing steam through the duration of the cooking, there was no discharge during the timed cooking cycle. (As if the pressure and the temperature is regulate and controlled. (Although if this is the case, I don’t understand why any precautions are necessary, such as steam vents and volume precautions)

Pinto Beans

We love beans and continue to evaluate whether to buy them dry or to buy them in a can. When we inquired about garbanzo beans at our local grocery, they recommended fresh beans and canned beans, but not dried beans.

For Pinto Beans:
We sort and soak beans overnight

Cook with:
Bay Leaf (and wonder if this is really necessary)
Chipolte Pepper (never avoid the opportunity to use Chipoltes in Adobo Sauce)
Herb de Provance

Cook until soft using Anne Burrell’s 5-bean test

Then prepare three (3) ways:

One: Hummus Style (pureed while hot with garlic and cummin)
And our Secret: The Oil from Hot Giardineria Pepper Relish

Two: Refried Style (
Fried in Olive Oil with onions and garlic,
Seasoned with Hot Sauce, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, etc

Three: Just Batched and Frozen

Dirty Mushroom Rice

Initially we liked the concept of hydrating dried mushrooms, but there was too little flavor and too much annoying texture. So we succumbed to a more conventional meat element of Gizzards, Livers and Pigs Feet.

Dirty Mushroom (Green) Rice is mostly rice, greens, legumes, beans, and grains, but it is flavored with the meat.

Start by cooking down the (cleaned and) chopped Stems of Greens with Onions, lots of Hot Peppers (jalapeños and habaneros) with the meat element

Stir in Brown Rice and deglaze the pan with a can of Beer. Add Stock. and additional water as necessary

Then add Assorted Legumes, Seeds and Grains, not limited to:
Quinoa, Amaranth, Split Pea (Assortment), Lentil (Assortment), Adzuki Beans, Wheat Berries, etc.

Towards the end, to provide a fresh lightly cooked element – add the chopped Tops of the Greens, thinly sliced Serano Peppers, Pig Weed (epazote), Cilantro, Red Pepper Flakes, maybe even season with salt and pepper, hot sauce or soy sauce.

Shop for:
Couple Bunches of Greens
(Mustard, Turnip, Collard or Kale, in order of preference)
Couple Onions
Lots of Jalapeños
Some Habanero and Seranos

Pantry:
Brown Rice

Recipes