The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Unsalted Chicken Stock’

Seafood Risotto

In Recipes, Rice, Seafood on January 12, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Seafood Risotto

(Serves four. Active Preparation time 50 to 60 minutes)


8 cups of  Unsalted Chicken Stock
1 pinch of Saffron threads, about 1/8 tsp.
3 tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsps. plus 2 tbsps. Unsalted Butter
1/3 cup Scallions, sliced; about 4 Scallions both green and white parts
2 cups of Arborio Rice
1 cup plus ½ cup of dry white wine
¼ lb. of Arugula
½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ lb. bay scallops
½ lb. large shrimp (8 or 9), shelled, deveined and cut in half
½ tsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika


1.    Heat the chicken stock in a small pot.
2.    Remove one cup of stock and add the saffron and set aside.
3.    In a separate, 3 qt. pot, heat the olive oil on medium, add 3 tbsps. butter to melt, stir well.
4.    Lower the heat; add the scallions and sauté for 2 minutes.
5.    Add the rice, raise heat to medium, and stir well for about 4 minutes to coat each grain of rice.
6.    Add the white wine, continuing to stir until the wine is absorbed.
7.    Add the set-aside cup of stock with saffron and keep stirring until all of the liquid is absorbed.
8.    Add a second cup of stock from the heated pot and add a handful of arugula, stirring well until the arugula becomes limp and the stock is all absorbed, about 3-5 minutes.
9.    Continue this process until all of the arugula and 7 cups of stock are used, leaving one cup still heated in the small pot, which will be added at the end.
10.    In the meantime, heat the remaining 2 tbsps. of butter in a sauté pan, add the scallops and shrimps and sauté on high heat for three minutes.
11.    Pour the remaining ½ cup of white wine over the shrimp and scallops and continue to sauté until most of the wine is absorbed. Sprinkle with the paprika and add to the rice after step 9.
12.    Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano, as well as the one remaining cup of stock, mix well and serve immediately.

Black Bean Soup

In Recipes, Soups on December 28, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated (please see note below).   Active involvement-1 hour, cooking time 2&1/2 hours; makes about 16 servings.

Black Bean Soup


•    2 lbs. dried black beans, rinsed and picked over
•    1 ham bone
•    6 bay leaves
•    2 & ½ qts. water
•    8 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
•    4 cups of finely chopped onions, about 4 medium onions
•    2 cups finely chopped celery, about 3 stalks
•    1 cup finely chopped carrots, about 2 carrots
•    5 tbsps. minced garlic, about 1 whole head
•    3 tbsps. ground cumin
•    2 qts.  Unsalted Chicken Stock
•    6 jalapeno peppers including seeds, chopped fine
•    1 lb. Spanish Chorizos, sliced lengthwise and then at 90 degree angle, so that each slice is a ¼ inch thick half moon
•    1 cup rum


1.    Place beans, ham bone, bay leaves and water in a 5 qt. pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer on a low boil, until beans are tender about 90 minutes. If too thick, add an additional cup or two of water and continue to simmer until beans are tender. Remove ham bone and bay leaves and discard.
2.    In the meantime, heat olive oil in 8-quart stock pot over medium-high heat until shimmering; add the onions, carrots and celery, cook for 6 minutes stirring until vegetables are soft.
3.    Add the garlic and cumin and continue cooking, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
4.    Add the beans and their liquid (after removing and discarding the ham bone and bay leaves), mix well.
5.    Add the chicken broth and jalapenos, raise the heat to medium-high and bring to boil, reduce the heat to low, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6.    Remove 3 cups of beans and 3 cups of liquid to a food processor, process until smooth then return to pot. Add the chorizos and rum bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes more.

Upon serving add a splash of Amontillado Sherry to each bowl and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and sour cream.

NOTE: Please see The Gift of Christmas Ham that Kept on Giving for a discussion of how this recipe was adapted and developed

From a Cask of Amontillado

The Gift of Christmas Ham that Kept on Giving

In General Articles on December 28, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Christmas has come and gone, but the remains of the ham are still with us. Thanks to the kindness of our friend Rita, we found ourselves with a 12 pound Schaller & Weber bone–in smoked ham for Christmas.  Originally we had planned on a prime rib roast for Christmas dinner, but the receipt of the unexpected ham necessitated a new game plan. The Roasted Rosemary Potatoes would still work, but the ham, which would be baked with an orange-honey-brown sugar-mustard glaze called out for Dorothea’s Asparagus Tips as the green vegetable, rather than the originally planned Brussel Sprouts Roasted with Hazelnuts.

I was assigned ham duty and my wife took on responsibility for the asparagus and potatoes. The ham proved to be delicious and moist, unlike last year’s spiral cut ham, which became dried out as the interior was exposed to too much heat. Spiral cut hams are a great convenience, particularly for a buffet where each guest can cut off his or her own portion. But on balance, I think a whole uncut ham is superior in flavor and the carving is not all that difficult.

There were only six of us for Christmas dinner, so needless to say there were plenty of leftovers in the ham department. Big Mike always said, the best parts of a smoked ham are the leftovers and the ham bone. He loved frying up the ham for breakfast, which we did in his honor, on two mornings: fried ham and fried eggs the first day and then a ham and cheese omelet a few days later. Then the decision, what to do with the ham bone, which he usually employed in his favorite, Split Pea Soup. But a check of the pantry revealed a 2 pound bag of black beans, and a search of the refrigerator uncovered a package of Spanish Chorizos. With those ingredients readily available, it was not hard to envision a big batch of Black Bean Soup .

After a consulting Cook’s for the basics on Black Bean Soup, I deleted some ingredients, salt (I figured the ham had plenty of salt), baking soda and cornstarch and added some others, jalapenos, chorizos and rum. I also adapted the proportions of vegetables to my personal taste. Most importantly, I conducted a research of chicken stock at our local supermarket. To my amazement, the quantity of sodium in each brand available on the shelf varied from a low of 150 mg per 240 ml (1 cup) for Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock to over 900 mg per 240 ml for the store brand private label. According to Please, Don’t Pass the Salt! Blog, Swanson’s Unsalted Chicken Stock contains 13%  lower sodium – 130 mg per cup, but Swanson’s was not available on the supermarket shelf that day.

So from the gift of Christmas ham, not only did we have a memorable Christmas dinner but managed to eke out about 6 quarts of soup, breakfast meat for two mornings and still have  a half pound of ham leftover for sandwiches. Thanks Rita!

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