Friday, May 7, 2010

Chicken goes the distance

My mom’s friends have a saying that “A ham goes the distance.” It’s something about trying to feed everyone when all their kids are home.

But this week I am saying that the chicken goes the distance.

I got my whole chicken two weeks ago but left town and didn’t actually cook until last week. I had plenty of tips on what to do with it, and I read a lot of Internet recipes to reassure myself. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and put some of my spring onions inside it. I put it in the crock-pot with more onions and some celery I had on hand.

My big debate was whether to add water. I read everything from no water to four cups of water. The online recipes said if you want broth to add water. I went with the middle and added a cup of water.

When I got home from work, the chicken was falling off the bone. It was moist and tasted pretty good. After I took off all the meat, I simmered the broth with the bones and vegetables on the stove for a couple of hours. I did end up adding more water at this point to get more broth. I strained the broth and then let it sit in the refrigerator to allow the fat to collect on top. I took off all the fat and poured the broth in a freezer bag and let it freeze flat.

So then I had a plenty of meat and chicken broth, which I used to believe only came in a can. I used part of the chicken for tacos when I had friends over, and then I used the chicken and the broth in a chicken tortilla soup I made in the crock-pot to take to a friend that recently had a baby.

I was pretty surprised at how easy it was to cook the chicken and then how convenient it is to have cooked chicken ready to go anytime. Of course I have another two weeks until I get another chicken, but at least it hasn't gone bad. 

And I have to say that I think I did pretty well with my first pick-up. I’ve eaten all the lettuce, used the watercress in pesto and just have two spring onions left. The only thing I didn’t do very well with was the spinach. I added it to my salads most of the time, but sautéing it didn’t work out and I lost all motivation after that. Any suggestions for what to do with fresh spinach?

I’m leaving you with the chicken tortilla soup recipe, which my mom passed on to me. I made this knowing I was giving it to someone else and looking at the recipe I assumed it would fall into my dislike category so I had not intention of eating it. But I felt it was unfair to post the recipe to the blog without trying it, and I got home at 9:30 p.m. and had to eat something. So I ate a bowl of it, and it was actually much better than I thought. I might even save enough to get one more meal out of it for myself. 

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken (I have no idea how much I used.)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce (I went with the mild sauce.)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers (I left this out to avoid the extra spiciness.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (I also left this out because I didn’t have it.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir in corn and cilantro. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.

I get a whole new collection of stuff on Saturday, hopefully with some strawberries!

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