Chicken Stock Recipe

Celery, Carrots, Dried Shiitakes, Onion and Garlic

Today I’m going to share illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to make the most amazing chicken stock you’ll ever have.  I decided to go into great detail with this recipe because it really is a game-changer.  I made the transition from canned stock to homemade last year and I’ll never turn back.  Use stock as a flavorful base to soups, sauces, risottos and grains (just to name a few).  If you start with a super tasty stock, your end result is almost guaranteed to be delicious.

A few notes about this recipe:  The amount of steps may seem a bit daunting, but really, the process breaks down into four easy techniques – prep, caramelize, simmer, strain.  Simply spend a few hours (mainly unattended) on a Sunday afternoon making this recipe and you’ll have flavorful stock at your fingertips for a month.  I should also mention that I don’t add salt to my stock.  I prefer to salt whatever the stock is going into.  Continue reading for a comprehensive guide to my homemade chicken stock.

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Braised Chickpeas with Spinach Salad [Giveaway]

Braised Chickpeas with Spinach Salad

When one hears the term slow cooker, thoughts of chili, pulled pork, stews and soups usually come to mind.  Major yum.  Not so healthy.  So several weeks ago, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to cook something completely healthy in my slow cooker.  This recipe for Braised Chickpeas with Spinach Salad is what I came up with.  Dried chickpeas are soaked overnight then cooked in a flavorful bath of homemade vegetable stock, carrot, onion, celery and bay.  Finished with fire-roasted tomatoes, salt, and pepper, these slow-cooked chickpeas are tender, buttery and oh so delicious.  The depth of flavor really is craveworthy.  A spinach salad dressed in a red wine vinaigrette is a fresh counter to the rich, bold chickpeas.  I enjoyed this dish several times for dinner.  No meat required.

Before we get to the recipe and giveaway, I want to mention two tips that will help you make this dish as tasty as possible.  First, be sure to use homemade stock or a high-quality store-bought stock.  The chickpeas will be braising for 8 hours in this liquid, so you want to make sure it’s top notch.  Second, do not use canned chickpeas here.  Starting with dried chickpeas allows you to really infuse them mouth-watering flavor.  Continue reading for the recipe plus a slow cooker giveaway.

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Homemade Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

Spending a Sunday afternoon beside a simmering pot of stock has become a monthly ritual of mine this past year.  Engulfed in an array of comforting aromas, I just love sitting in my kitchen with a warm mug of coffee and my eReader.  Pleasant hits of parsley, bay and thyme briefly interrupt my casual page-turning.  If you are not making stock at home already, I would highly recommend starting now.  The process of making Homemade Vegetable Stock is fairly easy and the results are cheaper and tastier than store-bought versions.  All you have to do is brown some vegetables, add herbs and spices, cover with water and simmer!  It’s really that simple.  The ingredient list is also pretty flexible.  Taste will not be compromised if you only have 4 carrots rather than 5.  And if you have a stray leek or handful of mushrooms leftover from a previous recipe, this pot of Homemade Vegetable Stock would gladly welcome them with open arms.  So I urge you to block out some time this Sunday afternoon, and give this recipe a try.  Continue reading for the recipe, tips on making a perfect batch of flavorful stock and ideas on how you can use this stock.

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Bolognese Sauce

Pappardelle in Bolognese Sauce

Up until this year, my method for making Bolognese Sauce called for adding cooked, seasoned beef to my Homemade Tomato Sauce, simmering for a bit, then finishing with fresh herbs.  It wasn’t until I saw this video that I realized I wasn’t really making Bolognese Sauce at all!  After experimenting a bit with Mario’s recipe, I found a method that I really love.  This slow cooked Bolognese Sauce pairs a number of classic aromatics with ground beef, pork and bacon.  The mixture is then simmered in tomato paste, whole milk and wine.  Thick, rich and luscious, the finished sauce has the most amazing depth of flavor.  The recipe below definitely takes some time to make.  But I urge you to give it a try.  You won’t be sorry.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Ginger Glazed Short Ribs

Ginger Glazed Short Ribs

I love ordering braised short ribs at restaurants.  And luckily for me, many of the top restaurants around San Diego have short ribs on the menu:

Cucina Urbana – Short rib pappardelle
Banker’s Hill Bar & Restaurant – Braised all natural beef short ribs
Burlap – Local beer braised short ribs, crispy sweet onion & jager reduction
Nine-Ten – Port wine braised beef short ribs
Bo-Beau – Braised short ribs with horseradish smashed potatoes and chives

Several weeks ago I found myself wondering why I had not yet tried to make short ribs at home.  The process of braising is easy enough.  Simply put, braising is when you cook food in liquid low and slow (low temperature, slow cooking time).  After seeing this recipe for Ginger Glazed Short Ribs in the Times, I knew I had to make it.  First, I heart ginger (uhhh, obvay).  Second, I thought it would be fun to try to recreate a restaurant experience that I love at home.  Braised in a mixture of red wine, red wine vinegar and chicken stock, these short ribs are flavored with a tantalizing array of ingredients including garlic, shiitakes, ginger, allspice, cinnamon and konbu.  Major depth of flavor.  Umami to the max.  This dish may not come together in a snap, but its preparations and process couldn’t be easier.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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Double Celery Soup with Curried Apples and Croutons

Double Celery Soup with Curried Apples and Croutons

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  I wish I had some sort of St. Patrick’s Day related recipe for you today; however, I don’t.  Instead, I’m going to show you how to make the most amazing Double Celery Soup with Curried Apples and Croutons (celery is green, so somewhat St. Patty’s day related right?).  Fragrant chunks of celery root are simmered with vibrant celery stalk, onions, apples, bay and thyme.  Accompanied by curried apples and croutons, this hot, comforting soup is packed with flavor and texture.  I’ll have to say, celery root (pictured below) is one of the ugliest ingredients I’ve ever worked with.  But don’t let looks put you off, once peeled, the root gives off an unreal, fresh aroma similar to celery stalk and parsley.  Continue reading for the recipe.

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The Bacon Bloody

The Bloody Bacon I must admit that over the years, I’ve become quite the connoisseur of bloody marys.  Particulary, spicy bloody marys.  I almost always choose the bloody mary over the mimosa when faced with cocktail options at brunch.  Paired with all manner of pickled goodies, the savory, spicy bloody mary is, for me, pure perfection on a lazy Sunday morning.  This Bacon Bloody features a bright, flavorful bloody mary blend mixed with spicy Bacon and Habanero Vodka.  Adorned with grassy celery, pepperoncini, olives and cornichons, this drink might just be the ultimate bloody mary.  Continue reading for the cocktail.

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