Let us all acknowledge the truth about roast chicken: it’s not about the chicken, it’s about the vegetables. That truth dawned on me long ago when I used to line a roasting pan with red potatoes sliced in half, all surrounding a well-seasoned chicken; the rendered chicken fat would coat the potatoes, they’d get all crispy, and when it was time to eat, the actual roast chicken was an afterthought. It only got better when I discovered Thomas Keller’s roast chicken: in with the potatoes went leeks, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, and suddenly next to that pretty little bird would be vegetables as beautiful as the crown jewels. Now imagine turning those salty, schmaltzy vegetables into soup, a soup that takes about 5 minutes.
Today’s my blog’s 11th birthday. I was going to do a post about that, but there’s really not much to say that I didn’t already say last year (see: Ten Years a Food Blogger). So instead of a navel-gazing post, here’s a produce-maximizing post. It’s a post that came about through necessity.
See, my CSA came this weekend, and after I unpacked it, I was a little angry. Look at the photo above: there were 4 or 5 dinky carrots attached to a huge mound of carrot greens. And a fine bulb of fennel attached to so many wisps of fennel fronds, it looked like Rapunzel. What was a responsible food blogger to do?
When I was writing my first book, I had a chapter called “Stretch a Chicken” in which I was going to try to stretch one chicken over as many meals as I could. That chapter never materialized but last week I found myself stretching a chicken without really thinking about it. I made two dinners and froze the carcass for chicken stock. Both dinners were excellent and, because I used the same chicken, relatively cheap. Here’s what I did.
If you make the ice cream in the previous post, you’re going to find yourself with an excess of egg whites: specifically, six egg whites that you should not, by any means, throw away. Resourcefulness is what separates good home cooks from great ones; and there, with that bowl of egg whites, you can make a delicate, memorable dessert, especially if you top it with whipped cream and berries. The dessert in question is pavlova, named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Depending on your taste for sweets, it may either be the best or worst dessert you’ve ever tasted.