Sunday, October 11, 2009

cazuela(?) - maybe just call it a chicken stew.


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:

"Tacos (Mexican)

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.


1 medium-sized onion, chopped
1 fat clove garlic, minced
bacon fat
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
1 onion
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.


Cate said...

I'm so excited you're back to cooking! Chilean or not (I don't really remember the food I ate in Chile...there was wine, though, lots of wine!) this looks really good. I'm going to have to try an egg in my oatmeal one of these days, too.

Lisa-Marie said...

There is something about cooking a meal in a new place that makes it fee like home, isn't there.

This looks really good, I was just wondering if there's anything you think could replace the corn on the cob (I don't like it). I was thinking I could try it with baby corn.

Shanna said...

The soup looks fabulous especially with the chunks of cob in there. Your pictures are so inspiring!

Did the egg cook a little after you tossed into the oatmeal?

The cookbook cracks me up...that sounds disgusting about not washing hands but you definitely must share more of those tips in future recipes LOL :)

sTyliSH1 said...

That looks absolutely divine! Great for these cold days =)

Jessica said...

I thought cazuela was a Spanish dish, named after the sort of terra cotta container it was traditionally cooked in.

Then again, I live in Anchorage now, so I've not had my coffee and I don't have First Cup down the street to get me some. :) No coffee = less than intelligent.

Blue Is Bleu said...

The corn in it reminds me of the soups my grandma makes :) This sounds pretty yummy actually... stews / soups are my favourite thing about the colder weather.

beastmomma said...

Congratulations on getting your stuff put away. We have been in our place for almost two months and have not finished that yet. Also, the cookbook has some bizarre commentary, but it is good that you are inspired to make tasty dishes!

Eliana said...

what an amazing pot of goodness this is!

Soon, Then said...

wait wait wait, you can file an amendment and get the cash now? Really? I did not know.... runs to find out more....

maranaomi said...

Oh wow, this looks so delish. I can't wait to try!

Maija said...

whoa egg in oatmeal! blowing my mind. That sounds great -- I love oatmeal on these blustery days, and the egg would add that needed protein. Never would have thought of it - but it makes sense, since many Asian soups add egg, etc.

Zupan's said...

“Hooray for Soup Season!”

We’re excited too—So many wonderful, tasty combinations to dish up on these increasingly cold nights. With fresh bread and a glass of good wine, we couldn’t ask for much more.

Carolyn said...

hoo, boy. that cookbook's intro to mexican food and tortillas is so ridiculous!

brandi said...

this made me smile and salivate this morning! and i'm pretty sure i've heard of this peasant cookbook you speak of. is tom a one trick pony or does he continue to give his illuminating insights throughout the text!?!

jason made a comforting chicken 'n veggie soup with rice for dinner last night... can you say parsnips and italian carrots!? mmm, i heart root vegetables! we finished it with a zippy squeeze of lemon. so dang good!

hooray for soup season, indeed!!!

clare said...

this looks incredible. i wish i'd stumbled onto in before i made my south-of-here feast over the weekend. because we really needed on. more. course.

Lynn Richards said...

Welcome back from moving!! The chicken stew looks awesome. Why do I find making stock so overwhelming, though?

jb said...

you're back! and you're kitchen is super cool.

nacherluver said...

Ha! That recipe book is a hoot! I am so looking for it at my local used book store. I'm wondering if it has pictures. I don't cook without pictures. It's my handicap!

LoveFeast Table said...

Love the redesign! It's amazing what one can do with a can of paint!! And the stew looks perfect for the fall!!

onepot said...

Wait a minute! More about this egg-in-the-oatmeal business, please! There are few things in life I love as much as eggs and oatmeal, but it had never occur to me to combine them. When exactly does the egg go in?

Sarah.Lou.Hunt said...

I made this last week and we're still enjoying it. BEST chicken soup ever. Thanks for the kitchen inspiration!!!

la jose montero said...

cazuela, is really chilean food and is tasty!!