Let me start out by saying…this is a long post.
A couple of days ago I was accepted into the Daring Kitchen to participate in the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers Challenges. I absolutely love that I am going to start participating in these challenges, but the recipes somewhat go against what I’m trying to promote here…simple and quick. The recipe challenges that are given to us each month are in no way “simple.”
Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!
I decided against making Consommé this time, but would love to try it someday. I found a great recipe for bread that I wanted to try. Bread is one of those tricky things that I have had some success at, but I keep trying. Once again, the bread is not for a novice baker, but it’s ok to try if you are ready to learn. It’s not as tough as it seems.
The bread rose nicely and was very easy to work with, especially if you have a Kitchen Aid mixer. If you ever plan to be a foodie like me, a KA mixer is a must.
The bread was amazingly good both served warm and cooled. I have to thank the hubby for helping with the bread. I had an appointment, and I didn’t time my bread preparation properly. He has been such a good sport through all of this!
The chicken stock is ohhhhh so good. I’m not sure why I haven’t made my own more often. I am going to start saving all of my veggie scraps to use for future batches of stock. This recipe was really easy. Just make sure you do it when you have 4 hours to be home. You aren’t cooking that entire time, so don’t be scared!
The tortilla soup is super easy. Use canned or fresh ingredients. I used all fresh just to make it extra special, but canned works just fine. Just don’t forget to put the chicken in the pot (not that I speak from experience or anything). You can serve this with the bread recipe from this post, or tortilla chips. You can also top with cheese and sour cream. YUM!
The process of making the stock, soup and bread took a lot of time. Taking the pictures, writing about it and posting everything online took just as long. I’m so glad that everything turned out so good, and I hope that you will try to make something you have read here today. If you made it through reading this entire post, you deserve a gold star for the day!
Chicken Tortillas Soup with Homemade Stock
1 large, whole chicken
2 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
4 carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped
3 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
10 sprigs fresh parsley
5 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, and seasonings in a 16 quart stockpot. Add 5 quarts (20 cups) of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours, removing the chicken after 2 or 3 hours and returning the carcass back to the pot for the remainder of the cooking time. Set chicken aside to cool, and once cool, shred or chop and store in refrigerator. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Chill the stock overnight. The next day, skim fat from the surface and use immediately or pour stock in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
Chicken and veggies in the stock pot
Stock after 2 hours and with chicken meat removed
Final product after straining everything twice
Chicken Tortilla Soup
About 10 cups of stock ready to be stored
2 cups whole kernel corn (canned, fresh or thawed frozen)
3-1/2 cups chicken stock (see above)
1-1/2 cups cooked chicken (shredded or cubed)
1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1-1/4 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
Place corn, stock, chicken, beans, tomatoes, and chilis into large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally) or until thoroughly warmed.
Cornmeal Honey Bread
Recipe from: Andrea at Cooking Books
which was adopted from Beth Hensperger’s Beth’s Basic Bread Book
*I really loved the way Andrea narrated this recipe below, so I just copied her exact recipe, word for word. She has a lot of good recipes on her blog
, so go and check her out.
3/4 cups warm water (105F – 115F)
1 tablespoon (1 package) active dry yeast
Pinch of granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups warm buttermilk (105F – 115F) (it might separate a bit when being heated, but that ain’t no thing so don’t worry about it)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 more tablespoons melted for brushing
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal, fine or medium grind, plus a bit extra for sprinkling
4 1/2 – 5 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
The first step in this easy bread (and in any bread) is to proof the yeast. Which is just a fancy way of saying put it in some warm water, give it something to munch on (the sugar) and wake it up (yeast is a living thing, after all). To proof it, pour the 3/4 cups warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and the sugar on top. Give it a gentle stir with a fork so the yeast dissolves and just let it sit there for about 10 minutes until it’s a bit foamy.
To make the dough fit your standing mixer with the paddle attachment, and pour the buttermilk, the melted butter and the honey into the bowl of the mixer. Add the salt, cornmeal, and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour. Beat on medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the now-bloomed yeast. Add the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition. The dough will be soft and a bit sticky, but if it’s too sticky to handle, add more flour.
As the dough begins to come together, you’ll have to switch the paddle out for the dough hook, or just turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand. Kneed it for about 3 minutes with the dough hook until it becomes smooth, not overly sticky and elastic. It shouldn’t be dry, so be judicious with any extra additions of flour.
Take the dough out of the bowl and set aside. Lightly grease the bowl and return the dough to the bowl, rolling it over so that it is coated. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for about 1.5 hours, until it’s doubled in volume. Go do something else.
Dough before rising
Dough after rising
Come back, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle the extra cornmeal on the paper. Set aside. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Dough before dividing
Divide it in half, which will deflate the dough. Shape the dough into two round loaves. Place the loaves seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let the loaves rise again at room temperature for about 45 minutes, until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 375F. When the dough is risen, use a sharp knife to cut an ‘x’ into the top of each loaf, which should not be deeper than 1/4 inch. Brush the loaves with the rest of the melted butter and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the loaves sound hollow when tapped with your finger. Remove from the oven and transfer the loaves to cooling racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.