Soy Sauce Poached Chicken

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2 years ago when we were in this apartment, I would frequent a small butcher shop down the street.  For old times sake I decided to pay him a window shopping visit and, refusing to consider the duck parts still awaiting attention in the apartment freezer, bought a little chicken.  There was NO chicken in my freezers, NONE.  Just a lot of duck and sundry.

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More and more I find that I prefer little chickens (poussin or young chickens) to the gargantuan American chickens I was so pleased to buy before I began to travel.  I think this, practically, an aversion to large chickens began when on one “home-leave” I excitedly bought a Perdue Oven Stuffer and noticed the pig-like slabs of fat all over the entire bird.  I spent a bit of time ripping these away and have since never purchased neither Perdue nor Tyson chicken products.  Bleah!

I wanted to poach my chicken in soy sauce heedless of the fact that I didn’t have all the ingredients in my paltry, apartment pantry.  Peu importe!  List in hand, in the pouring rain, dog on leash, umbrella in one hand, dog bag in the other, I marched several blocks to the supermarket, awkwardly stopping for dog toilet breaks along the way.  On arrival I removed my wallet from the dog bag, stuffed the dog in the bag, put the bag in the shopping cart with the umbrella.  There was a sign, but I don’t read German and anyway I thought that maybe, like in France, signs are only guidelines :D

free vector No Dogs clip art

At first Jessie, semi-quietly, played with her squeaky toy in the bag, then she whined, then she accelerated to a howl and finally, incessant barking.  Everyone looked at me; most people sympathetically but some really old, ill-tempered, Prussians glared.  I was approached by a store employee but that was just to make sure a dog wasn’t running rampant in the store.  She said something in German and I responded that I would be quick, to which she nodded her head and smiled.

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With blood curdling wails coming from my basket, I approached the worker in the vegetable section to ask for fresh ginger.  Language and hearing impaired, I gave it up as a bad job and just looked around.  They had gorgeous fresh garlic!  Probably imported from France but this was no time to read labels!  When I finally got in line for the cashier, two people ushered me in front of them.  It was as good as having an annoying child in tow :D

 

I loved making the poaching liquid.  It’s too bad that I had to pour most of it out because it would be great for later addition to soups and noodles.  I used one Hunan/Szechwan-like chilli for adults to flavor the liquid.  Two wouldn’t have hurt that much.

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While waiting for the poaching liquid to mature, I decided to do a quick, noodle stir fry using a leftover, cooked duck leg.

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Sometimes good ideas are so good!

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Soy Sauce Poached Chicken with Noodles

1 cup normal soy sauce

1/2 cup Tamari soy sauce

6 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup sherry

1/2 inch fresh ginger, sliced

1/4 bulb fresh garlic

1 large scallion, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1 red chilli, halved

1 small whole chicken

Scallions, sliced

Put everything but the chicken into a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the chicken, cover, then simmer for 15 minutes, turn, then simmer for another 15 minutes.  Remove the chicken, strain the liquid and reserve.

Cut the chicken into serving pieces, ladle over hot broth and sprinkle with sliced scallions.

Duck Noodle Stir Fry

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1/4 cup sherry

1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 2 tbsp water

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp sesame oil

1/4 bulb fresh garlic, chopped

1 red chilli, seeded and chopped

1 carrot, quartered vertically, thinly sliced

2 scallions, sliced

2 slices fresh ginger, julienned

1 cooked duck leg, meat removed and thinly sliced

1/2 small head broccoli florets, coarsely chopped

1 pkg plain instant noodles (3 slabs), cooked

Mix the chilli sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sherry together.  Add the cornstarch mixture and stir to blend.  Set aside.

Heat the oils together in a wok, then add the garlic, chilli, carrot, scallions and ginger.  Stir fry for a minute or two.  Add the duck and broccoli and noodles, then continue to stir fry for another minute.  Add the sauce and stir until thickened and heated through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crispy Duck Legs with Roasted Vegetables

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Yesterday I went back to the house to get the 2 packages of duck legs, good butter, Jean Louis’ duck breasts, foie gras slices and assorted fish from the remaining refrigerator freezer.  I took some other things out of the freezer also, but honestly, I abandoned a lot.  Sometimes you just have to walk away.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  I did grab some soy sauce, a few jars of spices and other food enhancers, but who can live otherwise?!

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I must confess that this is not the first time we’ve walked away from perfectly good food but happily we were in underdeveloped countries where many people literally do not know where there next meal is coming from and you could easily and happily just give it away.  In Sens, I often transfer the contents of the fridge and, if I’m going to be away a long time, the freezer to M. Parret who shares it with the rest of our friends.  Unfortunately, in Stuttgart, there isn’t a soul who I would feel comfortable offering my “leftovers.”  So that’s why.

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There really is no way you can go wrong with fat, succulent French duck legs.  I first seasoned and seared them in a hot skillet.  After removing the legs, I added a heaping tablespoon of goose fat to the duck fat in the pan and stirred it into my prepared vegetables.  Real good idea.

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My husband ate this for lunch in a perfectly healthy way.  With gusto :)

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Crispy Duck Legs with Roasted Vegetables

4 large potatoes, cut into 8ths each

3 carrots, sliced

2 small fennel bulbs, slice

1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika

Dried for fresh thyme, chopped

4 duck legs, seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder

1 heaping tbsp goose fat

Place the potatoes, carrots, fennel and onion in a large bowl, season with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme.  Set aside.

Brown and sear the duck legs in a hot skillet.  Remove the legs and set aside.  Add the goose fat to the hot skillet, stirring and scraping up the brown bits.  Stir the contents of the skillet into the prepared vegetables.

Put the vegetables in a roasting pan, top with the legs, cover and roast at 350 F for 1 1/2 hour. Uncover, increase the oven temperature to 400 F and continue to roast for another 30 minutes.

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Main dishes, Recipes, Vegetables | Tagged , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Apartment Living in Stuttgart

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Well, we’re back in the tajine killing stove apartment again .  German baby back ribs braised at home.  Yes!  Take out noodles from Ha Long, Stuttgart.  Non!

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Magret de Canard and Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet

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I think the Dog gave me this idea.  I don’t have any cannellini beans in the pantry.  I’ve got 2 kinds of hominy and chickpeas.  In addition, normally I would have used duck legs instead of duck breasts for the cassoulet, preferring to reserve the duck breasts for searing and eating rare. However, I have so many duck breasts!  And these weren’t Jean Louis’ anyway but of an inferior but okay supermarket quality.

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This cassoulet turned out well, even with the chickpeas.  In fact, in was fabulous :)  I had a bonus of Toulouse sausages in the freezer and seared the fat from 3 duck breasts, using two in the cassoulet and reserving one for sandwiches or a salad later.  I browned the sausages in some of the reserved duck fat and also used some to saute the onions, garlic and carrots.

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All of my stove top casseroles and tajines are in France, so I used my large “back in the day”, Farberware skillet with cover to simmer the cassoulet.

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Magret de Canard and Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet

2 duck breasts, fat scored

6 Toulouse sausages

2 onions, halved and sliced

4 garlic cloves, chopped

3 carrots, halved and sliced

1 large and 1 regular cans whole or diced tomatoes

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 cans of chickpeas or cannellini beans.

In a hot skillet, on a medium low flame, brown and render the fat from the duck breasts. Cut the duck breasts into large cubes, then set aside.  Remove the rendered fat from the skillet and reserve.

Add a tablespoon of the rendered fat and the sausages to the skillet and brown. Remove and reserve.  Add another tablespoon of the fat to the skillet and saute the onions, garlic and carrots until the onion is soft.

Add the tomatoes (breaking up with a fork if whole), salt, pepper, bay leaf, oregano and thyme to the skillet.  Simmer for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas, cubes of duck, then top with the sausages, cover and simmer for an hour.

 

 

 

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Italian Sausage Breakfast Hash

IMG_5898b This breakfast/brunch hash was directly inspired by Frugal Feeding’s Potato and Chorizo Salad.  I found some Italian sausage in the freezer (there could be more) that I wanted to move on before I go back to the duck :)

Italian Sausage Breakfast Hash

4 medium size potatoes, cut into small chunks

4 hot Italian sausages

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, halved, then sliced into about 16 pieces

2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into medium dice

Salt and pepper

Smoked paprika

4 hard boiled eggs, quartered

Boil the potatoes for about 4-5 minutes, drain and set aside.  Brown and cook the Italian sausages, slice and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, then add the onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Saute until the onion is just soft.  Add the reserved potatoes, sprinkle all with salt, pepper and paprika, then cook and stir until the potatoes are lightly browned. Stir in the reserved sausages to heat.  Lastly, gently stir in the eggs.

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Happy

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Time to start moving some of this duck onward.  Remember the time I served my husband skinless chicken breasts 3 days running before he noticed?  Well, I’ve got more than 3 days worth of duck legs and breasts, let’s see what I come up with.  To begin, my original idea was to make magret de canard aux cerises.  I found some ENORMOUS cherries in the Waiblingen market with that idea in mind but I ate them all and they were good :)

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That left the green seedless grapes.  I did eat a lot of those also but there was enough left to make a compote.  My favorite fruits have always been small, round and firm or maybe just small and firm because I like strawberries a lot too.

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My plan is to walk the dog and cook from the freezer in the mornings, then sort through our things for pack out in the afternoons.  The afternoons will be drudgery and I don’t know why we felt that we needed all this stuff!  Still, nothing last forever and it will be done and over eventually.  I miss going to coffee :(

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I’ve not been myself.  My husband needed a replacement part and, as he himself is irreplaceable, I’ve been quite frightened.  Because the Germans are considered some of the best mechanics for this procedure, we decided that he would go to the “garage” here and get everything over with before he retired.  Yesterday they opened up his hood, successfully replaced a valve and now he’s good to go! Aren’t the Germans clever people?! I love them so much!  It’s okay to put rice in your burritos now :D

 

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Duck Breasts with Herbs and Green Grape Compote

2 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp butter

1 cinnamon stick

6 tbsp water

4 cups seedless green grapes

2 duck breasts, fat scored

Salt and pepper

Assorted herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary), chopped

4 small courgettes, chaos cut, steamed and buttered

Bring the sugar, butter, cinnamon stick and water to a boil in a sauce pan.  Add the grapes, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Set aside and keep warm.

Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper, then rub in the herbs.  In a preheated skillet, sear the breasts, fat side down, for about 6 minutes.  Remove the accumulated fat, turn the duck breasts and cook for about another 6 minutes or until done to taste.

Let the breasts rest for about 10 minutes, slice and serve with the grapes and courgettes.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, French, Fruit, Main dishes, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

The Way My Mother Did It

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I have an emotionally challenging week coming up and with all the stress of the big things, I seem to need to pile on petty, little, peevish, inconsequential irritants.  Like rice in burritos. I think by focusing on the “rice factor” I am, in truth, avoiding the fear of Monday morning and thereby relieving, for a time, my overwhelming stress.  So that’s why :)

Tangential Jessie picture.

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When I was a child, we had Mexican food at least once a week and sometimes twice or thrice. My Mom charred fresh green chillies, scraped off the skin, stuffed them with raw onions and cheese and fried them; chillie rellenos old school.  She made chili (no beans), chili beans(no meat), menudo, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tamales, refried beans and guacamole.  I was her “coupe oignons” and helped with stuffing, rolling, etc.

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This was during the time when using good quality canned foods, instead of fresh, was fairly new, time saving, modern and almost exotic.  This was before canned foods went the way of Wolf Brand Chili.  I believe my Mom liked Rosarita canned products for her Mexican dishes.  I see Rosarita brand is now owned by ConAgra Foods, also owner of Orville Reddenbacher, Chef Boyardee, Pam and, wait for it, Healthy Choice.  Today I used Rosarita brand refried beans, Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chillies, La Preferida (what?) green chillies and Pace Hot Picante Sauce because that’s what was in the commissary.  I think you can do a lot better by either making everything from scratch or searching out better canned Mexican products.  Anyway.

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Deep, deep, deep in the freezer I found a package of ground veal that I browned with a few spices and herbs, added a can of diced tomatoes with green chillies, a can of refried beans and simmered until thickened.  The look was there.  Of course you can use just plain ground beef. I’m just emptying the freezer.

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My Mom was heavily into raw onions in her Mexican roll ups.  We kids liked them or maybe we just ate them because the alternative was starvation.  Schooled in the certainty of being parentally back-handed from the table, we never, ever considered picking them out.  This was before Ritalin and my Mom had to raise her children the natural way, without chemical aids.  She didn’t believe in allergies, delicate stomachs or children’s food preferences.  I’m glad she was a good cook.  That made things happier and easier for us :D

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My Mom always bought a chunk of sharp cheddar to grate for most of her Mexican dishes.  Did you know that Kraft’s Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese has absolutely no carbs in it?  Don’t you think that’s odd?  I do.  Odd and scary.

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After rolling up the burritos, my mother always baked them for 15-20 minutes to crisp the ends of the tortillas and heat the fillings.  No choice.  No microwave.  You could probably microwave these but the tortilla ends wouldn’t be crisp.

Real Mexican Burritos

1 lb ground beef

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp cumin seed

1-2 tbsp chili powder

1 can diced tomatoes with green chillies

1 can refried beans

8 flour tortillas

1 can whole green chillies, sliced into strips

1 small onion, chopped

Cheddar cheese, grated

Lettuce, shredded

Tomatoes, diced

Picante sauce or salsa

Start the meat frying with the oil in a skillet.  Add the salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and chili powder, then cook for about 3 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes with green chillies and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Add the beans and simmer, stirring until thickened.

For each burrito, spread on some of the beef and bean mixture, top with strips of green chilli, onion and cheese.  Roll up and place in a lightly greased baking pan.  Bake in a 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes

Scatter some lettuce and tomatoes on each plate, place the burrito on top and pass the sauce or salsa.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Food and Wine, Main dishes, Mexican, Recipes, Sandwich | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments