Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

IMG 1546 585x585 Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

I only have the photo I took of this soup with my phone – and not a great one at that. Even then it had already been pilfered, skimmed of its sliced mushrooms, which looked so nice floating on the surface, and of its green onions. There wasn’t much left but shredded chicken, torn cilantro and a few strips of red pepper, but still I have to share. (It’s far prettier here, my launching point, although not quite the same.) Mike looked up from his bowl and said, “you must be happy with this one.”

I kind of love that it has no rice or noodles – no filler. Although you could certainly pile some into your bowl and ladle the soup overtop.

My kitchen is humming slowly along.. I have an oven now, and countertops! But no backsplash, and there are issues with the fridge that prevent me from actually emptying things into it. But we have ice! I’ve never had ice in my house not made from those awkward plastic trays I never seem to have room for in my breadbox-sized freezer. And the sink is technically in, but not sealed. And the counter around it isn’t completely finished. So.

We’re still very much living out of my makeshift dining room kitchen, where pieces of old, torn-out countertops hold the microwave and a few dishes, and a chair beside usually has a slow cooker or electric skillet sitting on top of it. There have been some in need of comfort this week, and so I pulled one of the (many) bags of frozen chunks of meat out of the freezer – this one happened to be most of a very meaty roasted chicken – plunked it in the slow cooker and covered it with water. When it was stock, I pulled out the bones, shredded the chicken and returned it from whence it came, and added some other tasty things to make it coconutty and Thai. It was a hit.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

I cheated and got the vegetable bits for the soup in the deli section of the grocery store; I filled a small container with a few sliced mushrooms, purple and green onions, sliced red pepper and radishes. An expensive way to do it I know, but I’m heading out of town in a few days and it saved me buying a big bunch of each and chopping them at home. When the stock was done, I just stirred in the seasonings and upended the container into the pot.

1 leftover meaty roasted chicken carcass
a few thin slices of fresh ginger
big pinch of salt
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp. Thai curry paste
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 small purple onion, thinly sliced
1/4 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
a few sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 lime

Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with water. Add the ginger and some salt, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Pour the stock through a colander or sieve into a bowl and once it’s cool enough to handle, pull any meat off the bones. Return the stock and meat to the pot and add the coconut milk, brown sugar, curry paste, fish sauce, peanut butter, onion, red pepper, mushrooms and cilantro. Stir, cover and let sit for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies have softened and everything has heated through.

Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice of half into the soup. Cut the other half into wedges to serve alongside. Serve the soup hot, topped with extra cilantro.

Serves 6.

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November 04 2014 | slow cooker and soup | 9 Comments »

Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Galette

Screen Shot 2014 10 28 at 8.45.12 PM 585x584 Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Galette

Squash pie. Right? Because pumpkins aren’t only for carving.

This could be pumpkin – the small, sweet sugar pumpkins most often labeled “pie”. They aren’t as woody and sinewy as their grandfathers, and easier to handle for baking. But really it’s butternut – the most common of the winter squash, but congenial in shape, allowing easy access to its innards. I like to buy ones with thick necks, then cut them off, peel and thinly slice and lay over grainy pastry with caramelized onions and cheese – goat, mostly, but I imagine Boursin would be a treat, or Stilton if you like it like that. (I just realized I’m posting a squash double header – ’tis the season, I suppose.)

Galette Collage 585x366 Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Galette

I still don’t have an oven. Some mornings, when it’s still dark, my neighbours see me sneak Bigfoot-like across the street to my sister’s house to put something or other in her oven. It’s like back in the day of Dickens, when families brought their turkeys to the community bake house to roast.

But! After a long lull and a few spurts of painting (although I got distracted and wound up painting the bannister on the stairs in the hallway instead – not an easy task with a large black dog) we’re going to make some major headway this week, when both the fridge and stove arrive AND the countertops are installed – serendipitously on my birthday. Coincidence? Totally. So here’s hoping there are no disasters, and everything was measured properly and fits together nicely like it’s supposed to.

But the upper cabinets are in! the trim is on! there’s a nice box just for the fridge to slide into! I’ve never had a new car nor a new fridge in my life – I think this makes me an official grown-up.

Kitchen Collage Oct 28 585x289 Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Galette

Look how clean and white it all is! Now I just need to get moving on a makeover here and clean it up to match. Oy. Can I just call a time out? Who’s with me?

By the way, I’ve been meaning to apologize for being all chatty on social media and tending toward MIA here. Once I post something (or send off a story) I tend to not look at it again, for fear I’ll want to change everything once it’s too late. And I sometimes forget I can go into the dashboard to reply to comments, and when I do the sheer volume of spam slows me down. But I do love chatting with you here, and if you have questions I promise I’ll be more timely with my answers.

In this galette I used a combination of whole grain flours – whole wheat, oat and barley – play around with these too if you like, or go the traditional all-purpose route. I liked the tweedy, sturdy whole grain crust – so much in fact that this was breakfast one day, and then lunch, and then I made another the next day. It’s just as good cold, so it’s the sort of thing you can leave on your dining room table and swipe slivers of every time you walk past.

Caramelized Onion, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Galatte

1 1/3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour, or some of each
1 tsp. sugar
big pinch salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into bits
1/4 cup cold water

1 medium butternut squash
olive or canola oil
a dab of butter
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup soft goat cheese (or crumbled blue cheese)

To make the pastry, combine the flours, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and blend it in with a fork, pastry cutter or even your fingers until the mixture is well combined, with pieces of fat the size of a pea remaining. Add the water and stir just until the dough comes together. Shape it into a disc and let it rest for at least 20 minutes, or refrigerate for longer.

When you’re ready to make the galette(s), preheat the oven to 375F. Cut the thick neck off the butternut squash, peel it with a sharp paring knife and cut it in half lengthwise. Slice each piece into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place in a glass (or microwave-safe) bowl, drizzle and toss with oil, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes, until the squash is tender.

Meanwhile, set a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and a dab of butter and saute the onion for 4-5 minutes, or until turning golden. Pull the leaves off the thyme or rosemary and add them to the pan (if it’s rosemary, finely chop them first) and season with salt and pepper.

If you like, divide the pastry in half or quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Layer the squash and caramelized onions in the middle of the pastry, adding dabs of goat cheese too. Leave at least half an inch uncovered around the filling, and fold up the edges to enclose the squash, crimping them a bit wherever it naturally folds in order to keep it in place. Bake for 20-30 minutes (for smaller galettes or a larger one), or until golden.

Slide out onto a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serves 8.

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October 28 2014 | veg and vegetarian | 12 Comments »

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