Now that you’ve made your chicken stock, you’re probably wondering what are you going to do with it. To help you out of this dilemma here is my almost foolproof soup recipe. I’m making it with carrots, sweet potato and leftover roast chicken, but you can make it out of any kind of vegetables you like. Don’t worry if you don’t have homemade stock, the instant stuff will work too.
Unfortunately this recipe involves a lot of peeling and chopping of vegetables, which is one of my least favourite things to do as I find it a little tedious, but the effort is well rewarded in end.
First, you need to peel and dice your onion and garlic, then place them to one side, out of the way.
Next up is the sweet potato which needs to be peeled and diced into small cubes. I find the best way to peel the sweet potato is using a potato peeler. Also, watch out as the sweet potato can be quite hard to chop as it is fibrous, so it’s easier to cut in one direction than the other.
It’s probably best to also peel and chop up the carrot and ginger now as well so that they’re ready to throw into the pot as soon as you need them. My top tip for peeling the ginger is to use a spoon! Amazingly this peels away all the skin with very little of the flesh going with it.
Heat up some vegetable or sunflower oil in the pot and add the onion, garlic and sweet potato and sweat them for a couple of minutes until the onion starts to turn translucent. Just a note: if you’re making this with other vegetables, it’s important to have something starchy like sweet potatoes or normal potatoes in order to thicken the soup. It’s also advisable to keep the onion, just to add a little more flavour, though you can also use leek to get the same effect.
When the onion has turned translucent, add the carrots and ginger and stir through and add the stock.
Shred your leftover chicken into the pot, bring the mixture to the boil, then drop the heat and leave to simmer for 45 mins to an hour. You’ll know it’s ready when the vegetables are soft.
When the vegetables are soft, its time to blend the soup. I use a stick blender, which I can honestly say is one of the best purchases that I’ve ever made, but you can ladle it into an upright blender, but this is a bit more time and effort intensive.
Blend the soup until it’s smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can, if you’re feeling a little naughty, add a little butter or cream, which makes the texture really smooth and velvety.
My beau has suggested that it would be a good idea to list recipes for some of the basic things that will be mentioned repeatedly on this blog, as ingredients in other dishes.
First on the list is stock. This is basically essence of meat (or fish or vegetables) that makes dishes such as soups and stews and so on taste really good.
I am going to list my method for making chicken stock, but you can substitute in bones from any animal. Fish stock is more difficult and I will admit that I have never made it myself as I do not have a good fishmonger near by for getting fish heads and so on, from.
First break up the chicken carcarss into about 3 pieces. If you are using a raw carcass (which are available from most butchers if you just ask), it is earier to break it up by using a pair of kitchen scissors, but if the carcass is from a cooked chicken it should break up easily enough just using your hands. Once broken into pieces add to the pot.
Next peel the onion and chop into quarters and put into a deep pot then peel, top and tail your carrot and roughly chop into large chunks and add to the pot.
Just a note that if you are using the carcass from a roast chicken, if you have any remaining gravy or juice in the pan, these can also go into the stock pot.
Finally, throw in the whole black pepper corns, bay leaves and salt.
Now add enough cold water to cover the carcass, this will probably be about 2 pints, depending on the depth of your pot. I have an inherited Le Creuset pot that I use especially for making stock in as it has a nice heavy bottom which heats evenly on my electric hob. Though as you may have noticed I am using my parents' gas cooker, this is because their kitchen is nicer to photograph than mine.
Bring the water to the boil. If you want the stock in a hurry, leave it at a high heat and let it boil for at least 45 mins. If you have more time, reduce the heat so that the water is simmering and leave for 2 hours. You can leave it for longer, the less liquid there is in the pot the more concentrated the flavour. When I am using it straight away for a soup, I will only roughly strain it through a colander or sieve. However, if I want for sauces, I will strain it through muslim so that there are no impurities.
You now have the basis for delicious chicken soups, chicken pies and chicken casseroles. You can of course using stock cubes and so on when making all of these things, but I find that homemade stock has a better flavour, plus you are getting another use out of the chicken and getting more for your money.
If you find that your stock is too fatty, you can leave it till it cools and then remove the fat layer from the top. When the stock cools it will have a consistency that varies from liquid to jelly depending on how far you have reduced it during cooking. The stock can be used immediately, or kept in the fridge for about a week or frozen indefinitely.
I’m going to start off the recipes with one of my favourite Danish dishes, Frikadeller. These are Danish meatballs, which are traditionally made from a mix of beef and pork mince. In my family’s version we use sausage meat instead of pork mince because when my grandparents moved to Ireland it was quite hard for my grandmother to get pork mince, but there was always plenty of sausages about. You may have seen versions of these in the German supermarkets, but homemade are the tastiest! The meatballs can be served hot or cold and keep very well in the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer for several months.
First gather together all your ingredients. You don't have to but I find it makes things easier if you're not desperately searching for something in the middle of cooking.
Mix together the milk, flour and cornflour, making sure that there are no lumps. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to use a hand blender or to sieve it when you’re done.
Put the mince, and sausage meat into a bowl and grate in the onion.
Add the beaten egg and mix together.
Make sure that you take off any rings, and possibly your watch as well for this, as you don’t want raw meat stuck in either.
Now mix the milk mixture in with the rest of the ingredients along with a little seasoning of a little salt and a goodly amount of pepper.
Once you have mixed everything together so that it looks like pink gloop, the mixture needs to stand for an hour. I cover it with a tea towel to prevent insects or larger animals, if your kitchen is shared with a cat or dog, getting into the mix.
After the hour, heat up a frying pan with a small amount of sunflower/vegetable oil or butter, depending on how healthy you're feeling.Form the mixture into balls about a dessertspoon in size and place in the pan. It should take about 10 mins to cook each batch in the pan.
The frikadeller should be golden brown on each side. Serve with mashed potatoes, carrots, peas or whatever you fancy. They're also great on bread. I'm afraid I don't have picture of the frikadeller plated up as they all got eaten too fast.
Let me know how you get on and what you think of one of my family’s favourite dishes.
Since Wednesday 2nd December, the National Craft Fair has been running in the RDS, finishing up this evening, Sunday, 6th December. I was there on both Thursday and Saturday, so I got to have a really good look at all the wonderful craft stands as well as spending a large amount of time wandering around the Food Emporium, sampling it's many delights. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see any of the cooking demonstrations as I was in serious Christmas shopping mode, and having caught a couple of them last year I was disappointed I missed them. Here are just a few of my favourite stalls;
Harry's Olde Sweet Shop - This is a new business recently set up by Helan Reddin and Nikki Lawless. As you can see from the picture, they have a large range of old fashioned sweets such as bullseyes, sour apples, kola cubes and so on. Their bullseyes were some of the best I've tasted. They are also able to provide jars of sweets for special occasions, such as weddings and birthdays, with customised labels. They have no permanent base yet but can be contacted by phone: Helen - 086 3841300 or Nikki - 086 3892872.
Natasha's Living Foods - I first encountered this company in my local independent supermarket. They specialise in making delicious, healthy foods. They have excellent chocolates, as well as a range of crackers made from sprouted grains. This year I spotted a new addition of "Cheezy" Kale snacks. This is quite possibly the tastiest way I've ever eaten kale, they were yummy and very moreish. They also had their usual selection of hummus, cakes and confectionaries. If you come across them I would highly recommend giving their goods a try.
Italian Fields - These guys are my bargain of the fair. They were selling Italian goodie bags that contained a bottle of wine, a large lump of organic parmesan, a chunk of prosciutto, a slab of pancetta and a foot long salami, all for €59. The salami is delicious and the parmesan is one of the best I have ever tasted. I am really looking forward to making some tasty treats out of these ingredients in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to find out where, if anywhere, these guys can be found during the year. If anyone has any information on this can you please let me know!
Good Food Ireland had a whole section in the food hall, which was showcasing a whole range of different companies. There was an amazing Christmas pudding, several different cheesemongers, the Burren Smokehouse and many others. I sampled my way around most of the stands in that section and ended up purchasing a soft goat's cheese from Knockdrinna for both myself and my mum, as it was similar in texture and taste to Fleur Marie (or Flower Marie) which is a sheep cheese and one of our favourites.
The last couple honourable mentions I want to make, are for the Toastabags company, from whom I finally purchased their product in order to make tasty toasties in my flat and the Aran Gourmet Foods company, who make a seriously good smoked salmon (look out next year for the peat smoked!). It's just a pity that you can't get it in Dublin the rest of the year.
Did any of you visit the National Craft Fair? Did you try anything unusual or try something spectacular? Did you manage to catch one of the demonstrations and was it any good? Please let me know, that way I can keep an eye out for them next year.
Welcome to Smörgåsblog. An Irish based food blog written by myself, Joanna Schaffalitzky and (hopefully) other contributors. We’re aiming to provide a pick and mix of recipes, reviews of all types, and discussions on cooking methods, ingredients etc.
This has taken quite a bit of work to get off the ground and I would like to quickly thank all those who have been involved, supplying help, advice and enthusiasm and kept me on track with this project. Big thanks go to my beau, Jon who built this site from the ground up.
I am aiming to update this every Monday and Friday barring technical snafus (such as currently being unable to find the cable I need to release pictures from my camera).
I hope you enjoy it and if you have any suggestions please feel free to contact us at: email@example.com.
And just to keep you interested - here's a picture of some bread I'll be making in the future!