This? This is amazing. Especially if you live near a high concentration of Asian groceries and can find a bunch of these ingredients for cheap, and salmon goes on sale for the right price. A nice Thai riff on the classic salmon chowder, and makes the apartment smell amazing. 

Thai Style Salmon Chowder

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced large
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, outer layers removed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves (you can get these for super cheap at Asian grocery stores, trust me)
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 13 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 lb salmon, skin removed and cut into .5 inch pieces (save the skin)
  • .25 c fish sauce
  • .25 c fresh lime juice

Heat a large pot over high heat. Add the olive oil, and once it starts to shimmer, add your sliced shiitake, and sautee until deeply bronzed (about 7 to 10 minutes). Then, stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant (a minute or so), followed by the tomato, bell pepper, lime leaves, and lemongrass, cooking until the tomatoes release juice and the bell pepper just barely starts to wilt. 

Add in the chicken stock and coconut milk and stir together, bringing to a simmer. Once steadily simmering, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. 

While the soup simmers, heat a small pan with olive oil over medium high heat, add your salmon skin, and cook on each side for about three minutes, until crispy. (Mine didn’t quite work out that way due to the sheer amount, but I tried and got pretty close!  See pics 8 and 9). 

Once your salmon skin is ready, add the salmon chunks, fish sauce, and lime juice in, and cook another minute or two, until the salmon that you can see is cooked. (The residual heat will take care of cooking it the rest of the way.)

Taste and adjust to your tastes, add a bit of salmon skin for garnish to your bowl as you scoop it out, and enjoy your ridiculously good soup. 

So, when I originally made this, I didn’t have quite the right quantities for doing so (I think I only had half the necessary rice and tried to reduce accordingly), but what I got out of it was pretty good, and I definitely want to try making this again. Seems like a perfect spring type recipe, with the lemon, and especially with the herb garden I want to get going out here. 

Baked Risotto with Finnes Herbes and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts finely chopped and well washed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5 t sea salt
  • .5 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5 c arborio rice
  • 1.25 c dry white wine
  • 3.5 to 4 c chicken stock, warmed
  • .5 c Parmesan cheese (I used parmigiano reggiano)
  • .5 t fresh lemon zest
  • (original recipe recommends .25 c fresh parsley, 3 T finely sliced chives, and 1 T coarsely chopped fresh tarragon, I think I did a bunch of dried parsley and tarragon, going to try that again once fresh herbs are more in season)

Preheat your oven to 425. Keep your chicken stock warm in a separate nearby pot. While your oven preheats, take a large (roughly 2 qt, I used this to break in my new dutch oven) baking dish, and lightly butter it. If you’re me, what you’ll do is just use that dutch oven for everything, making this a one-pot meal. If you don’t have a baking dish that’s stovetop usable, grab a separate pot. Whatever you end up cooking in, melt 2 T butter over medium heat. Once melted, add your chopped leek and onion, sea salt, and pepper, and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, which should take around 10 minutes.

Then, add your rice. Stir to coat in the butter, and cook until the rice starts toasting (you’ll get a nice nutty smell, and it sizzles and pops a bit), about two minutes or so. Then, add your wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer until almost completely absorbed, about three minutes total. (And yes, in accordance with the other risotto recipes, you absolutely need to drink the rest of the bottle of wine for science.)  Then, add 3 c of chicken stock, bring everything back to a simmer, and either just put it straight in the oven, or, if you needed a separate dish, put it in that. 

Bake your risotto for five minutes at a time, stirring every five minutes, for fifteen minutes total, until the stock is completely absorbed into the risotto. (See the difference between pictures 3 and 4.) Remove from the oven, and stir in your herbs of choice, the remaining 1 T butter, the parmesan, and the lemon zest. Then add the remaining .5 to 1 c chicken stock slowly, and stir until the rice is creamy. Season to taste with more sea salt and pepper, and enjoy!

So, I’ve been meaning to try my hand at making chicken stock for a while, I’ve just been lacking a chicken carcass to do it with. As it happened, the gentleman whose apartment I’m taking care of was kind enough to leave me one in his freezer from right before he left for Paris, so with a pretty lazy Sunday in front of me, yesterday afternoon seemed like a good time to try my hand at it. And with a recipe of tithenai‘s that seananmcguire posted that’s been lurking in the back of my head a good long while, well, let’s just say I’m set for a meat soup base for a good long while. Also? This makes the apartment smell fantastic when you’re cooking it.

Tithenai’s Chicken Stock

Ingredients

  • chicken carcass
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 medium to large (or 2 smaller) carrot, chopped
  • 1 leek, white to pale green bits chopped (save the tough green bits for vegetable stock)
  • peeled garlic cloves to personal taste
  • water
  • 1 large stick cinnamon (or 2 small)
  • 1 stalk rosemary

Take your chicken carcass, and chopped onion, carrot, and leek, and put them in a pot. Add your peeled garlic cloves, to personal taste. (I added in like five, because of my love of garlic) Add water until the chicken carcass is covered. Then, add in a stalk of rosemary, and your cinnamon stick. 

Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat, cover, and let cook for six to eight hours. I went with six. Stir at least twice an hour, and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting around hour two. Pictures four and five are after about one hour, and three hours, respectively. Picture six is what your stock will look like after about six hours, and with the heat turned off. 

Take a metal strainer, put a bowl underneath it, and slowly pour the contents of the pot through the strainer. (I ended up working in batches. Pic seven shows my strained stock, pot contents in the strainer on the left, and the already strained stock on the right. Be sure you have paper towel down around your work area to catch any stock that might jump out of the bowl as you pour.)

Then, take your stock, and use either immediately, put it in the fridge for a few days, or put in containers and store in the freezer until needed. 

This is a neat little recipe. Didn’t really notice that it was billed as “skinny”, but eh. The recipes in the original are a little vague, so I tried to spell things out as much as possible. Nice, hearty recipe, though. 

Chicken Saltimbocca
Makes however many chicken breasts you use

Ingredients

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (either packaged, or however many you may want to get if you have a good meat counter)
  • sea salt 
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sage leaves (didn’t have any, used a liberal dash of ground sage per breast)
  • slices of prosciutto (get as many as you have chicken breasts)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • .25 c white wine (I used Cupcake Winery’s Angel Food)
  • .5 c chicken stock
  • 4 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T capers
  • .5 T butter

Season your chicken with sea salt and fresh-ground pepper. If you have the sage leaves, take two leaves, and if you don’t, season both sides with ground sage. Wrap the prosciutto slice around the chicken breast, and secure with a toothpick, securing the sage leaves if using just under where the slice ends meet. 

Heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium high, and sear the wrapped chicken for six to ten minutes a side, until golden brown and the prosciutto is crispy. (Original recipe recommends shorter and lower temp, but that doesn’t get it done all the way through.)  Remove to whatever you will be serving/storing the chicken in.

Deglaze the pan with your white wine, and then add your chicken stock, lemon juice, and capers, bringing to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by half (about 6 to 8 mins), and then add in your .5 T of butter, and cook until melted and the sauce has thickened a bit, an additional 2 to 3 mins. If it’s not thickening enough, throw a dash of corn starch in. 

Then, pour the sauce over the chicken, and nom!

Some nights you just need a quick, simple soup to throw on the stove, simmer, and then dig into. This definitely fits the bill. This has seven ingredients (six if you exclude one), and is done in fifteen minutes’ time. No dicing, no chopping, just pour it all in a pot, boil, simmer, and boom. Done. 

Additional ingredient notes: You can use homemade pumpkin puree if you like, but honestly, it’s easier and cheaper and saner just to find some cans at the store. The original recipe suggests adding peanut butter, and I added a cappuccino peanut butter that I think really added to the soup.

Thai Pumpkin Soup
Lasts 6 meals as a main

Ingredients

  • 2 T red curry paste
  • 2 c chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock to make vegetarian)
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 15 oz (or 1 32 oz) cans pumpkin puree
  • 2 T soy sauce (can also use fish sauce)
  • 2 T lime juice 
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • .25 c peanut butter (optional)

Heat a pot over medium heat, take your red curry paste, and stir till fragrant (about a minute). Then, add all the rest of your ingredients, whisk together, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for five minutes.

And then, behold!  You have your soup!  Quick, simple, and no hassle.

Risottos are always a fantastic thing. This is the first time I’ve made this one, and it has a nice breakfasty twist to it. It could probably use a bit more wine and chicken stock to absorb into the risotto, so I’ll remember that for next time. Poaching the eggs didn’t work so well this time around, but there’s always next time. But otherwise? A wonderful, cheesy risotto. 

Bacon and Poached Egg Risotto
Lasts 2 to 3 meals as a main

Ingredients

  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced (original recommends shallot)
  • 1 c arborio rice
  • .5 c white wine (I used Cupcake Winery’s Angel Food wine, as is my standard for risottos)
  • .5 c freshly grated gruyere (original recommends Comte)
  • .25 c shredded parmesan
  • 4 slices thick sliced bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T butter
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Bring your chicken stock to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer in a separate pot. In a pan over medium high heat, heat your olive oil, and add your minced onion. Saute until translucent (about two minutes). Add your rice, toast until it smells nutty (about two minutes), and then add your white wine, stirring until it’s completely absorbed.  Then, drink the rest of the bottle of wine as you’re cooking the risotto.  Yes, this is absolutely necessary to the success of the recipe. Because science.

Now, take your heated chicken stock, and add a few ladlefuls at a time to the risotto, stirring constantly until it’s absorbed, and then adding a few more, until your quart of chicken stock is used up.  It’s going to take almost constant effort, but the result will be worth it, especially in how creamy it makes it, trust me.  After the chicken stock is used up, taste the risotto to see where it’s at – it should be creamy, but not at all mushy.  Keep drinking the wine.  It totally helps.  (This is the area where I think I may need to add more chicken stock next time.)

While you’re adding in the chicken stock, cook your bacon to its desired doneness and set aside. To poach your eggs, fill a small pot with water, a splash of white vinegar, and salt.  Crack your eggs into separate holders (ie ramekin, small bowl, whatever) while the water comes to a simmer.  Once simmering, stir the water with a whisk in one direction until it’s spinning around like a small whirlpool. Then, add your eggs into the center of the whirlpool one at a time, and turn off the heat.  (This method works for up to four eggs.) Let sit for five minutes, and then remove from the water with a slotted spoon.  Your eggs will be nice and soft in the center, and quite yummy besides. (I didn’t have the salt and vinegar this time, so this is likely why they did not turn out as well.)

Once the stock has been absorbed, remove from heat, add your butter, gruyere, and parmesan, and stir. Add your bacon and poached eggs on top, and then enjoy!

This uses up the last of the diced pumpkin I had on hand, and let me tell you, it is a pretty spectacular dish. The original recipe has a LOT of additional bits and baubles, and some more obscure ingredients, so the version I cooked has some significant changes. If I ever find some of those ingredients, I’ll probably try again, but for now, the version I have is pretty damn good.

The one more obscure ingredient I will recommend getting is harissa – a local farmer’s market stand that specializes in peppers and spicy stuff had their own homemade version, so that was pretty easy to find for me. In case you don’t have something equivalent where you are, Smitten Kitchen has a harissa recipe that I will probably try out at some point; otherwise, try a Whole Foods or an online spice store. 

Pumpkin Chicken Tagine

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces (mine was probably closer to 2 lbs, I used chicken I had in the freezer, 2 large breasts)
  • 1 onion, diced (I used half of a large onion)
  • 1 T fresh garlic, grated
  • 1 T fresh ginger, grated 
  • .5 t ground tumeric
  • .5 t ground cinnamon
  • .5 t ground ginger
  • .5 t ground cloves
  • .5 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 c chicken stock
  • 4 c pumpkin (about 2 lbs), diced
  • 2 c apples (about 3-4 apples, 1 lb), cored, peeled, and diced
  • 1 T harissa
  • 1 T honey
  • sea salt and pepper
  • (also recommended for the main recipe is .25 c dried cranberries, saffron threads and preserved lemon, I substituted a few squeezes of lemon juice for the lemon and forewent the cranberries and saffron EDIT: will probably add the cranberries back in next time I try this)
  • (additional optional items for garnish: .25 c toasted sliced almonds, 2 T chopped cilantro, .25 c yogurt, .25 c pomegranate seeds)

Heat your oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the diced chicken, and brown lightly on all sides, and then remove and set aside. Add the diced onion and saute for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the tumeric, cinnamon, ground cloves and ginger, garlic, fresh ginger, and cayenne pepper, and saute until fragrant, about a minute. 

Add in all of your other ingredients (the pumpkin, apples, chicken, honey, harissa, salt and pepper, and chicken stock), give it a thorough stir so it all combines, and let it come to a boil, before reducing to a simmer.  Cover, and simmer for about twenty minutes, until the pumpkin is tender. 

And then, enjoy your fantastic spicy fall stew, ideally with some couscous on the side!