Aaron Make Soup

I had made a full jar of bone broth from ten spent drumsticks. This is easy with an Instant Pot. You put the bones in the pot with water up to the line, and you turn it on for 120 minutes, and it pulverizes the bones and mines all the good stuff from within. So this big jar of schmaltz was just there in my refrigerator, teasing me, I either gotta use it or freeze it. But it’s chicken noodle soup season so let’s go for it.

Three chicken breasts got seasoned and cooked in a slightly-greased cast iron skillet, three minutes a side on the stove top, then 7 minutes a side in a 400-degree oven. I’d go more like five minutes next time as the meat is still a little stringy.

Deglazed the pan with most of a can of store-bought chicken broth and some white wine, this gave me two more cups of flavorful liquid. Stuck the pan bqck in the oven to dry, then brought it out to cool and chopped five carrots and two celery stalks plus all the leaves, all chopping besides the leaves done on the bias. These went into a mixing bowl tossed with salt and rested for ten minutes, then tossed with a bit of oil and into the cast iron skillet, into the oven at 400 for 20 minutes to roast.

As many egg noodles and schmaltzy liquid that would go to the fill line went into the instant pot, and cooked for two minutes. A small amount of noodles did not fit. I just boiled those.

I like noodles via pressure-cook with some flavorful liquid. Rather than boiling with water, you are pressure cooking with salty yummy liquid, hopefully blasting that flavor into the noodles. Plus, it is quicker and there is no draining.

Now all ingredients into the pot. The noodles with the schmaltzy liquid, the roasted vegetables, the carved chicken breast, any other leftover liquidy yems, stir, and enjoy.

Ham Hocks

So I did the Green Beans with Ham Hock and New Potatoes recipe from Food Network last night. This is what fresh green beans are for. The picture was taken after I’d devoured a bunch of it already.

The recipe is really perfect. You simmer two ham hocks for 45 minutes, which gets a bunch of yummy out of those knuckles. Then you throw in the beans with some sugar, and I think the sugar does more than add a bit of sweetness; I think it helps to break down that tough cellulose. I only had a pound of beans, so I used 1/4 cup of sugar. After they simmer a while, in go the potatoes and salt. The result is beans that are nicely seasoned, easy to gobble, and that still offer that somewhat resistant mouthfeel. The potatoes give up some starch to the beans at just the right time, I think.

Another observation: I have only worked with ham hocks once before, and I did not bother at the time to go hunting for meat. I did with these, and I was surprised how much good pork one can find from this hard-working part. To throw on some color, I threw these hocks into my air fryer for five minutes. Once I removed the fatty layer, but I was able to find maybe a quarter pound of really nice meat. Next time, though, I’ll save this step for later because it is a good bit of work, and the potatoes and beans do not need the meat. Why add another step while you have a delicious steaming bowl of beans and taters to serve? Save the carving for later; the meat will serve another purpose. I’m thinking spaghetti sauce or tacos.


Tonight’s Chicken and Rice

This was done in my three-quart Instant Pot. It turned out real nice. Here’s how I did that tonight. This is more for me to keep track of what I did, but if it gives you ideas for preparing a meal, mazel tov.

I had two pounds of chicken breast. I cubed them. I browned them in a hot cast iron skillet, pouring a bit of kosher salt on each batch. This is real browning, by the way, not throwing all two pounds of meat in the pan and hoping some of it will turn GBD. It won’t. Treat each cube like a little steak you’re trying to get rare in the middle.

I set the meat aside and set the cast iron skillet off to cool a bit. Into my three-quart Instant Pot I put one cup of chicken broth (reduced sodium) and 1/3 cup of water. I stirred in 1 and 1/3 cup of long grain white rice. I threw in the browned chicken. I stirred it up a little.

Then I used the rest of the can of the broth to deglaze the cast iron skillet. I took this yummy soup and set it aside, and then I put my cast iron skillet in a warm oven to dry.

I got out a saucepan and made a roux. A roux is when you cook a tablespoon of all-purpose flour in a tablespoon of butter until the flour seems a bit cooked and the mixture is a nice yellow. Then I let the saucepan cool for a bit, then threw in the yummy soup and went to work with a whisk. But before I did that, I turned on the Instant Pot to pressure, five minutes.

Then I made a gravy by whisking the stuff in the saucepan up.

When the Instant Pot counted down to 0, I released the pressure immediately. I opened the cooker and stirred the contents. I stirred in a cup of frozen peas. I stirred in the gravy. I also threw in about 1/4 cup of half and half I happened to have so that the half and half wouldn’t go bad and would actually get used.

It’s not a dump and go recipe, though it could be if you forgo the steps of browning the meat first and sopping up that nice fond in the pan to make a yummy gravy. But why in the wide wide world of sports would you do that?

Chicken and rice can be prepared in many different ways. Aside from my oven method, this here is my favorite. I might take the IP time down by a minute next time as I am always nervous about overcooking chicken breast, especially when they’re cubed, though they came out okay. Also, I have this groovy jerk seasoning I got at Niblacks that I’m fond of, but I try not to overuse it.

My IP recipe book grows. Slowly, but working on it.

(I read the recipe at I Don’t Have Time For That before I did this.)

Egg to Go

I don’t need big breakfasts, but I need breakfast, and I generally need to break fast about an hour or so into my shift. I don’t wake up famished. My appetite generally takes some time to kick in. Plus, that first hour? That’s for coffee.

So I’ve been playing with ways to take single-egg dishes to the job. The latest iteration:

First you get one of these

Then you poach an egg, let it cool a bit, and put it in there.

Then you get one of these

and cut it in half and throw it in there.

LITTLE TINY BREAKFAST