Ah, new kitchen. Actually, my kitchen kind of sucks. I've slathered like 30 coats of paint onto every surface (literally- I even painted over the gross, cracked, misplaced linoleum squares.) in an effort to hide the flaws- a temporary fix, but we plan to use our sweet 8k tax credit on a nice kitchen remodel next year. (Yes, I know I can file an amendment and get the cash now. We aren't even done with our bathroom yet, leave me alone, haha!)
But! I've got all my crap put away and I'm back to cooking at home, which is comforting on a really deep level. I was really, really tired of takeout. So, last night I made a big pot of stock, and today I made this chicken stew. I got the recipe from this goofy 1950's cookbook I picked up, The Peasant Cookbook. I flipped through it and felt inspired by a lot of the recipes, so I bought it. It's been really good for giving us dinner ideas (we're having another recipe from it later this week!) but the recipes themselves are kind of hilarious.
What kind of hilarious? First, each recipe has a small paragraph describing the food (with adorably dated, sometimes xenophobic-sounding comments about the culture), then a small menu telling you what to pair with the dish, and then the recipe itself. Here's what the book has to say about tacos:
This is the Mexican equivalent of a sandwich and like much Mexican food is highly seasoned. It is best when approaching Mexican food for the first time to season gently until your taste buds become used to these fiery foods. Also beer or milk should be drunk with it to ameliorate the hotness. Tom Gullette, who grew up in Texas and wandered back and forth over the border, says that tortillas taste much the best when made by a beautiful and very young Mexican girl whose hands have not been washed very recently. (Editor's note: WHAT THE EVERLOVING HELL?) However, he has been known, when far away, to buy them from a Mexican restaurant or store or else, when the blue corn meal that is traditional was obtainable, to make them himself with clean hands, being neither very young nor very beautiful, using the same proportions as in a crepes Suzette recipe.
Menu: TACOS BEER
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 fat clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
chile powder (5 or 6 chile pods well crumbled for those who are used to it)
1 dozen tortillas
Uhhhhh... Anyway. HA!
So, given that most of the recipes seemed 'dumbed down' for American palates, I decided to just go ahead and alter the recipe to the best of my ability, and what I ended up with was very tasty. I can't say it was distinctly Chilean- I don't think I've ever had Chilean food but what I came up with was your pretty standard chicken soup with some extras that made it more fun.
Cazuela- Adapted from The Peasant Cookbook
Whole legs from a chicken
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
handful of fresh parsley
handful of green beans
1/2 lb green peas (frozen is fine)
1 cup white rice
a few large potato chunks (or small whole potatoes)
large handful of peeled/diced pumpkin (or any sweet squash. i used a regular pumpkin and it would have been better with a sugar pumpkin or something sweet.)
2 ears corn, cut into 2" pieces
1 raw egg
4 cups homemade stock
couple cloves of garlic
In a separate pot, heat stock with thyme, oregano, and parsley. In your soup pot, saute diced onion and garlic until they begin to soften, then brown each chicken leg in the bottom of the pot. Cover with homemade stock (if using store bought stock, consider using some diced carrots and celery along with the onions, just for added flavor) and throw in a cup or two of cold water just to make sure the chicken is all the way covered. Bring up to a nice simmer, then throw in potatoes. After about 15-20 minutes, throw in the beans & pumpkin. After about another 15 minutes, check to see if your chicken is about done. If it is, remove it to a cutting board and let cool so you can pick the meat off. Stir in the rice. Let it cook for about 10-15 minutes longer, then toss the chicken back in and dump in the peas. At this point your potatoes, rice, and pumpkin should be fully cooked. Stir in the whole raw egg very quickly to thicken the broth into a sort of gravy. Stir as quickly as you can to incorporate without getting big chunks of cooked egg (but don't freak out if you get some white bits.) Toss in the corn and heat through, then spoon into bowls.
This is exactly what I did, and it was a really hearty and rich, but it didn't really strike me as being South American, and since I didn't use a sweet pumpkin it didn't add much to the soup. If/when I make it again, I'd probably use some cilantro instead of fresh parsley, and maybe squeeze in some lime or something for a big of acid. Overall, though- this was an awesome and I really enjoyed it. My son got a kick out of the corn, too. Hooray, soup season! This is actually my second soup of the season, I started off with some lentil soup the week before we moved, but I was too busy to write about it. Uh, it was really good, though. I put a raw egg into it, just like this recipe! I got the idea from reading the book and now I kind of just want to stir whole eggs into everything. This morning I actually stirred a whole egg into my oatmeal, and I think I might do that from now on. It was an oatmeal masterpiece! Whole egg, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of kosher salt. I am having it for breakfast as soon as I wake up. The egg just thickens the liquid and makes everything silky and rich, plus they're so good for you.
So, back in the swing of things. The weather is chilly, my kitchen is full, no complaints. (Okay, I have complaints. I MISS MY DISHWASHER. BEW HEW, FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.) Also, shout-out to the cute chick who recognized me at Target tonight. Haha, HELLO.