01-07-13-chicken-soup

It starts with a chicken. A whole chicken. And a pot.

It’s clean-out-the-freezer-time and I had a chicken and a container of chicken stock taking up valuable real estate. It was time to put them to use.

Simmering a chicken on the stove is one of the most satisfying things you can do. The possibilities are truly endless! From soups and stews to salads and sandwiches, there are just a zillion things to do.

With this chicken, I did three.

First was yesterday’s chicken soup. I put the frozen stock in a soup pot and melted it all down. Then, I added the whole, frozen chicken. The giblet bag was still in it. I added water to cover everything, brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer – for hours. When it had thawed enough to take out the giblet bag, I did – and then added everything but the bag back to the pot. Over the course of the afternoon, I added more water now and again to keep the chicken submerged.

When it reached its falling-off-the-bone stage, I took it out and strained the broth.

Into the pot went 1 andouille sausage that I diced, and 1 onion, minced. When they were looking good, I added 2 cloves of minced garlic.I skimmed the fat from the broth and added it back to the pot.

And then I started building the soup.

First thing I did was pull all the meat off the legs and thighs. I put the cooked breasts away for today.

Soups like this are clean out the refrigerator and/or use up what’s in the house. It’s no-rules cooking – if it’s laying about, it goes into the pot. This batch had the leg and thigh meat, a few stalks of chopped celery, several chopped carrots, a can of drained and rinsed red beans, a half-bag of frozen mixed vegetables, and maybe a cup and a half of elbow macaroni I cooked separately, and then added. Spices were minimal – a bit of thyme because it goes well with both chicken and andouille, and salt and pepper. The sausage added enough flavor that I just didn’t need a lot of other things competing with it. I always have frozen mixed veggies in the house. They’re perfect for soups, pot pies, and the like.

A fresh loaf of bread and butter, and dinner was served…

I had the chicken breasts in the ‘fridge, so tonight was Chicken Enchiladas Verde.

01-08-13-chicken-enchiladas-verde

It’s kinda hard to make an enchilada picture-worthy, but suffice to say, they tasted pretty damned good!

I started off with a can of green enchilada sauce. I know, I know… canned sauce… but it’s pretty good stuff.

I shredded the chicken and added shredded cheeses. We had a bit of monterey jack, Italian truffle, and fontina. Not exactly queso fresco, but I wasn’t going to buy more when we had this already in the house. I then added a can of chopped green chilis and a pinch of salt and pepper.

I heated the sauce, placed a corn tortilla in it to soften, and then added the filling, rolled them, and placed them in a casserole. I topped them with a bit more sauce, and then covered them and baked them at 350° for about 45 minutes. Refried black beans and black japonica rice finished the plate.

The third thing I made was some chicken salad.

01-08-13-chicken-salad

Chicken, celery, onion, chopped pickle, mayo, salt and pepper. As basic as basic can be – and really, really good. Piled onto some nice toasted bread… It doesn’t get much better.

Two dinners and three lunches. One chicken.

Not bad.

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