Roasted Honeynut Squash Soup with Apples, Ginger, and Yellow Miso

One of the biggest clichés in food writing is the idea of cooking with love. It’s abstract, vague, overly sentimental.

And yet, there’s something about it that makes sense to me, especially when I’m making soup. You can cook with a lot of love when you’re making soup. You can take the time to strain it, for example, to make it extra smooth. You can take the time to make stock from scratch, instead of using stock from a box. Most people won’t notice the difference, but you’ll know that you took the time to do it. So what else to call that except cooking with love?

One Chicken, Two Dinners (Roast Chicken with Parsnips & Potatoes / A Chicken Burrito) + Stock

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.

My Favorite Way To Use Homemade Chicken Stock

I can imagine many of you who read the last post about homemade chicken stock were probably thinking, “What’s the point?”

You were probably thinking that in far less time and with far fewer dirty dishes, you could just buy a carton of the boxed stuff, squeeze it into your braise or your soup and be done with it. And though I’d urge you, if you insist on using pre-packaged stock, to follow Michael Ruhlman’s advice to use water instead, I have a compelling dish for you to try on the day you do finally make your own chicken stock; that dish is risotto.

Risotto, more than any other dish (except maybe soup), becomes an entirely different entity when you use homemade stock. The Arborio rice acts like a sponge and sucks up all the wholesome goodness of your stock; the resulting risotto is richer and way more intense than any risotto you could make with a boxed stock. So do this: make your own stock, whenever you get the chance, and then make my citrus risotto with seared scallops. It’s a really simple process: just cook an onion (I used a red onion this time) in butter, add the rice for a minute and then start ladling in stock. At the very end you add the supremed fruit, its zest and its juices. This time, as you can see in the picture above, I had a beautiful result using two Meyer lemons and–this was the kicker–two blood oranges.

Make stock then make risotto and I guarantee you’ll never make risotto with a boxed stock again.

Chicken Stock, 1 2 3

It’s cheap and easy to have homemade chicken stock on hand: all you really need is time. And thyme. But mostly time.

Sure, it can be expensive–I still can’t get over The Barefoot Contessa’s recipe which calls for not one, not two, but THREE whole chickens that you boil for three hours and discard. That seems extraordinarily wasteful, don’t you think?

I’ve played around with lots of stock recipes, but my latest foray into stock making was a pretty happy one. The recipe comes from Molly Stevens and it’s simple and straightforward and cheap, cheap, cheap.

AGTV: Stock & Soup

Sorry for the delay in getting you this week’s video. I think it’s safe to say now that I won’t be doing a video every WEDNESDAY, but I will try to do a video every week. This one, as you’re about to see, is an incredibly spontaneous document of my attempt at the chicken stock from yesterday’s interview with Michael Ruhlman. How many carcasses does it take? What do I do with the stock when I’m done? How does Karen Carpenter achieve such a melifluous tone? Watch the video and find out! [And, after the jump, I’ll give you the recipe for the soup that I make in the video’s second half.]

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