I recently bought a couple of rotisserie chickens for a quick family favorite (Chicken Broccoli Divan). After cutting away most of the breast meat I decided to make a nice chicken stock to reserve for the next time I made soup. I particularly like this recipe — I was able to substitute chicken carcasses for the chicken bones, it uses roasted vegetables, doesn’t require a lot of prep, it uses the stems of the parsley leaving the rest for other uses, and I was able to use the bottom end of the celery and save the tops. . . . And of course, I picked through to salvage as much chicken as I could for sandwiches or the pups.
CHICKEN STOCK (Yields about 1 Quart)
- 4 pounds chicken bones, chopped
- 3 large onions, quartered
- 1/2 head celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup whole peppercorns
- Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems only
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Combine onions, celery, and carrots in a pan; toss with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast until the vegetables are a rich golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Place the chicken carcasses and vegetables to a large stockpot, add 12 cups cold water, and the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 4 hours.
- Remove from the heat and strain through a mesh strainer into a clean pot. Place back on the stove over high heat and cook until reduced by half, skimming the scum that rises to the top with a ladle every 20 minutes.
- Use immediately or let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
Melted onions are heavenly — creamy, sweet and savory . The onions are cooked slowly, until they’re so tender they just melt. They’re not really meant to be eaten on their own. Instead they are used as an ingredient or a condiment to enhance and elevate other dishes. Use the melted onions to add flavor to sauces, on top of a steak, burger or sandwich, to add another layer of flavor to vegetable dishes, the possibilities are endless. I created a sandwich on a toasted onion roll with a generous layer of melted onions, sautéed mushrooms, and sliced roast beef dredged in some reserved steak sauce. Yum!
- 3 large onions
- 1 1/2 T. salt
- 3 T. unsalted butter
- 2 T. garlic, minced
- 1 T. dried thyme
- 1 t. oregano
1. Peel the onions and slice thin. The thinner the slice, the creamier the end result.
2. Add the onion and salt to a large skillet over medium-low. Stir occasionally for 20 minutes or until the onion have released most of their juices.
3. Add the garlic, herbs and butter. Cover the pan and cook for an additional 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions should eventually become creamy looking. If they start to become too dry add a little water, butter, or stock to the mixture.
4. This will keep in your refrigerator for one to two weeks.
I LOVE TO ROAST VEGETABLES!! You can reduce the amount of fat required by using dry heat to soften vegetables. Dry heat (roasting, grilling, broiling, etc.) also does a much better job of preserving the nutrients of the vegetables than wet heat (steaming, boiling, poaching, etc.). This is a very simple recipe, and the key to its success is in the seasoning. I choose an herbed sea salt and freshly ground pepper along with a good quality olive oil.
ROASTED BROCCOLI (serves 4)
- 14 ounces broccoli
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Cut broccoli florets from the stalk. Peel the stalk and slice into 1/4-inch slices. Mix florets and stem pieces with olive oil in a bowl and transfer to a baking sheet; season with salt and pepper.
- Roast in the preheated oven until broccoli is tender and lightly browned, about 18 minutes.
I discovered this recipe earlier this summer when I was looking for a way to use up some house-made cocktail sauce. The result was outstanding — so much so that we decided to try it again. The steak is placed in the marinade for several hours before it hits the grill. Cooked over an indirect heat, the steak becomes tender with a beautiful even “mahogany finish”. The marinade is reserved, added to sautéed mushrooms, and reduced to create rich, flavorful steak sauce. It makes a really impressive presentation — definitely company ready. Served with Roasted Broccoli.
STEAK MARINADE AND SAUCE (serves 2)
- 1 pound beef sirloin steaks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2/3 cup cocktail sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
- Pierce steaks all over with a fork, and place them into a resealable freezer bag. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, cocktail sauce, honey, soy sauce, garlic, and seasoning salt. Pour over the steaks in the bag, seal, and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 6 hours, turning frequently.
- Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. When grill is heated, lightly oil the grate.
- Remove steaks from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill for about 7 minutes on each side, or to your desired degree of doneness.
- While steaks are grilling, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, and cook until tender. Pour in reserved marinade, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, or until thickened. Serve with steaks.
Everyone loves ‘Breakfast for Dinner’!! I have to admit that although I’ve lived in the Dirty South all of my adult life, I have never made biscuits and gravy. This recipe helped me break the mold! Spicy Andouille sausage sautéed and served on biscuits, topped with eggs over-medium and a creamy mornay sauce. Filling, delicious, and southern with a twist that appeals.
CAJUN EGGS BENEDICT (Serves 4)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 dash hot pepper sauce
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 large buttermilk biscuits, halves
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound Andouille sausage, halved then cut into 2-inch pieces
- 8 eggs
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour, and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour mixture, and cook over low heat. Cook and stir until the mixture is thick and smooth, about 10 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and hot sauce; season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
- Meanwhile, warm the biscuits in a toaster oven and keep warm. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the Andouille pieces into the skillet cut-side-down. Cook until golden brown, then turn over and cook until browned on the skin side; remove and keep warm. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Crack four of the eggs into the hot pan, and cook until the egg whites have firmed about halfway through, about 1 minute. Gently flip the eggs over, and cook 10 to 20 seconds more until the other side has just firmed on the outside. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
- To assemble, place two biscuit halves onto each plate, cut-side-up. Divide the Andouille sausage among the biscuits, then top each biscuit with an egg. Finally, spoon some of the sauce over each egg and serve.
I had a few oysters leftover from the Oysters Rockefeller that I made a couple of nights ago so I decided to put together a modified Oyster Po’ Boy. Fried oysters dipped in a cream and egg bath and rolled in cornmeal were paired with a smoky chipotle mayonnaise and served on fresh Sour Cream Cornbread. Make a full batch of the mayo and use to spice up crab cakes, fries, burgers, chicken wings, etc.
OYSTER PO’ BOY (serves 2)
For Chipotle Mayonnaise
- 1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon dried chipotle powder, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For fried oysters
- 6 cups vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shucked oysters, drained (about 36)
Make chipotle mayonnaise:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Store in fridge for up to one week.
- Heat oil in a deep heavy pot (preferably a cast-iron Dutch oven) over high heat until it registers 375°F on deep-fat thermometer, about 12 minutes.
- While oil is heating, whisk together egg, milk, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Shake cornmeal, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and pepper in a plastic or paper bag until combined well. Working in batches, add oysters to egg mixture, then lift out, letting excess drip off, and transfer to cornmeal in bag, shaking to coat well.
- Carefully transfer to oil, knocking off excess coating, and fry, turning occasionally, until golden and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Coat and fry remaining oysters in same manner, returning oil to 375°F for each batch.
Halve loaf crosswise and horizontally, cutting all the way through, and spread one cut side of each piece with mayonnaise. Sandwich oysters and lettuce between bread, pressing gently.
At last, a recipe for cornbread that I can make any time! Most recipes call for something I never have on hand — buttermilk. This recipe uses sour cream instead, and produces a flavorful, moist end product. I did cut this recipe in half since the original is made in a 9 x 13″ baking dish and serves 16. A half-recipe can be baked in a 8 x 8″ pan or in a traditional cast iron skillet. Easy and delicious!! (Served here with Italian Sausage Soup.)
SOUR CREAM CORNBREAD (Serves 16)
- 2 cups cornmeal
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 4 eggs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Add sour cream, butter, and eggs; stir until fully incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cornbread comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.