Tag Archive for 'Chicken Stock'

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I am sorry for my absence from blogging, but all of a sudden life has gotten really busy. We only have 2 weeks of the school year left, and every little box in our calendar is full with things to do. Assemblies, performances, concerts, Christmas parties and holiday preparations have taken over my life. And it’s less than 3 weeks until we leave for our annual winter holiday in Massachusetts, which can’t come soon enough, especially after last weeks 39C (103F). It was just a few degrees cooler for the company’s Thanksgiving dinner, which didn’t stop anyone from piling into a fantastic pot-luck buffet, loaded with turkeys, hams, dozens (almost!) of sweet potato casseroles and stuffings of all kinds. Not that this will prevent me from doing it all over again this Thursday, especially now that I foolishly invited some friends over. You can tell, it’s only been just over a decade since my first Thanksgiving dinner and I don’t yet have the tired look on my face like most Americans when they think of another gigantic turkey dinner and all it’s left overs. Anyway, I am getting carried away. Today’s blog is not actually about anything related to fall or winter or any holidays, but about the fabulous Chicken Tortilla Soup I made today. Something else entirely.

I have had my last cooking session for this year today. Yeah! The ladies did a marvelous job and really got to work on the tortillas. We had about 10 left over, and since they don’t really stay fresh for more than a couple of hours, I turned them into crisp tortilla strips for a Chicken-Tortilla Soup. I got to work, checking websites and blogs for inspiration, picking a few ideas here and there and combining them all in a fantastic, super-delicious soup. I used home made chicken stock from the freezer and added left over shredded chicken, slow roasted tomatoes, corn, zucchini for a little extra nutrition and a bit of left over chard. Not necessary and definitely not traditional, but handy. A sprinkle of grated cheese, some fresh coriander (cilantro) and a drizzle of lime juice rounded it all up. The spice came in form of 2 fresh red long chillies and one crumbled up dried chili. Jalapenos would work just as well, so would cayenne pepper. I am no expert on chilies and there is a total lack of variety here in Australia, so if you know your chilies, you’ll probably know which ones and how many to use. If not, start slowly. If the soup isn’t spicy enough, you can always add some more during the cooking process.

Anyway, give it a go. It’s fast, easy and totally delicious. A definite winner which I am already looking forward to cooking again.

Continue reading ‘Chicken Tortilla Soup’

Making Soups and Salads

After a 2-week-break, my 6 faithful students returned for the “Soups + Salads” class. The first thing on our itinerary was to make a beautiful chicken stock. More than half the group had never done this before and were curious observers.  They were amazed by how easy and versatile it is and hopefully encouraged to try it out at home. After the stock was bubbling on the stove, they split into 3 groups of 2 again and every pair choose a recipe to prepare. On the menu were 3 different salads (Warm Lentil with Rocket and Goats Cheese, Pumpkin and Chickpeawith Sun Dried Tomato Dressing and Quinoa with Apples, Almonds, Fennel and Celery) and 2 soups (Curried Winter Squash and Chickpea, Zucchini, Tomato and Spelt). It was a busy morning, to say the least. However, by lunchtime we were finally able to reap in the rewards and oh my, it was a feast! Give it a try yourselves and let me know how it went…

Chicken Stock

I love to make stock. Anytime I have chicken bones left over, I chuck them in a pot, alongside any vegetables and fresh herbs in can dig out of my fridge. I use it mainly as a base for soups and risottos of all grains and colours. Even, if you have only a few small bones left, add a bay leaf, some parsley sprigs, an onion or spring onions, a clove of garlic, a stick of celery, a tomato, a carrot and you’re good to go. You don’t have all of the above? Substitute with some other herb or vegetable, it will still be better than what you get in a tetra pack at the store. Fill the pot with a litre (4-6 cups) of water, depending on the amount of veggies, and follow the instructions below.

Ingredients

  • Bones of 1 large chicken, cooked or raw
  • 1 leek
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 stalks celery with leaves
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large onion, not peeled
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 6 sprigs of parsley, washed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 4 litres of water

Directions

1. wash leeks, carrots and celery and cut them into large chunks

2. wash onion and cut into wedges with skin on

3. cut tomato into wedges

4. smash garlic cloves

5. rinse chicken bones (if raw) and place into large soup pot

6. add vegetables, parsley, thyme, bay leafs, peppercorns and water

7. put lid on pot, bring stock to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least 2 hours. I like to simmer mine for 4-5 hours.

8. Let stock cool I pot. Place fine meshed colander ever large bowl in sink. Pour stock into colander and squeeze ingredients as hard as you can. That way you will get all of the lovely juices in your stock.

9. Place bowl with stock in the fridge for at least 4 hours. This way the fat in the stock with solidify and float on the top. It’s easy to scoop it out with a slotted spoon or small mesh strainer.

10. Stir stock before filling into containers for freezing.