Tuesday, January 13, 2009

££-£--£---£----£-----£ Stretching

Moving back to the pound stretching, am concentrating today on recipes using cooked chicken for we can pick as much as 8 oz (225g) from a carcase after making stock - so why not make good use of it? It doesn't matter if a recipe expects us to used cooked chicken in 'chunks', for we can change this to 'scraps', but the larger the bits the better if presentation is important. For personal and family dishes, scraps are as good as anything. Also please remember, the full amount of chicken does not need to be used (for when taken from a carcase the amount is never predictable), just make up the shortfall by using more of the other ingredients. It is the total weight of ingredients that makes enough to serve four.

A part-can of condensed soup can be decanted and frozen to use another time, and in this instance doesn't have to be mushroom - it could be cream of chicken or any other that goes with chicken.
Regarding the use of potato crisps. With such a variety of flavours on sale, you could make a choice from bacon, cheese and onion, chicken, prawn, or just plain unsalted. Another alternative would be to use crushed corn Tortilla chips. Or maybe something a little more healthy such as crushed dried breadcrumbs. The choice is yours.
Crunchy Chicken Bake: serves 4
1 lb (450g) diced, cooked chicken
juice of half a lemon
4 fl oz (100ml) mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
1 - 2 ribs celery, chopped
5 oz (150g) condensed mushroom soup
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tblsp flaked almonds
2 oz (50g) Cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz (50g) potato crisps, crushed
Mix together the almonds, cheese and crisps and then set to one side. Mix together the remaining ingredients and spoon into a baking dish, then top this with the cheese/nut/crisp mixture. Place in the fridge to chill overnight. Next day, bring back to room temperature and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 25 minutes until hot and bubbling.

This next recipe, although serving four, uses very little chicken, and although the recipe (as given) cooks the packages by deep-frying, these could also be baked in a hot oven 200C etc. until the pastry is puffed and golden. It is worth knowing that when food is cooked in really hot oil, it does not absorb much fat as the heat immediately seals the surface of the food that is being fried.
Chicken and Sweetcorn Parcels: serves 4
half oz (12g) each butter and plain flour
5 fl oz (150ml) milk
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
4 oz (100g) cooked chicken, chopped
2 oz (50g) sweetcorn kernels
1 lb (450g) puff pastry
Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook for one minute then gradually add the milk, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens and comes to the boil. Season to taste, remove from heat and beat in HALF the egg. Fold in the chicken and sweetcorn, then set aside.
Roll out the pastry as thinly as possible and divide into 8 small rectangles. Divide the chicken mixture between them, spooning it onto one half of each rectangle, leaving the edges clear, then brush the edges with some of the remaining egg, folding the pastry over to form square parcels, and sealing the edges together. Brush both sides of the parcels with the remaining egg and chill for 30 minutes.
Fry the parcels in deep hot oil for 6 minutes until golden brown and puffy. Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately with a pre-prepared green salad.

This next is a variation of the kedgeree, and although I have included turmeric to give slight curry overtones, this can be omitted. As the original recipe (but adapted) was given as a 'light supper' dish to serve four, have a feeling that is pushing it a bit and myself might call the serving more 'a snack' (that word should be banned), so you may wish to increase the ingredients if everyone has a good appetite. To gain more protein content, add more eggs rather than chicken (unless you have plenty of chicken scraps to spare). If you wish, the rice can be cooked in advance, also the eggs, then it is really a matter of assembling and heating through thoroughly.
Chicken and Mushroom Kedgeree: frugally serves four
6 oz (175g) long-grain rice
1 tsp turmeric (opt)
4 eggs, hard-boiled
3 oz (75g) butter
4 oz (100g) small mushrooms, sliced
6 oz (175g) cooked chicken, chopped
4 tblsp double cream or creme fraiche
salt and pepper
4 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
Cook the rice and turmeric (if using) in salted boiling water for 10 minutes, until just 'al dente' (with a bit of bite left in it), and drain well. Shell the eggs and cut into quarters (or they can be sliced or roughly chopped).
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and stir the the prepared mushrooms, cooking gently for a few minutes until they have softened. Stir in the cooked rice, chicken, and the cream adding seasoning to taste.
Heat through, then spoon onto a heated serving dish, decorate with the eggs and sprinkle over the parsley.

To keep this recipe really simple, those of us who have made own chicken stock (stored in the freezer) could just read through the ingredients, and realise we could dilute some stock down to the amount required (estimate this), adding the spices - then simmer for half an hour to extract the flavours. After running it through a sieve, continue with the recipe. When made properly, chicken stock does take the flavour of the vegetables cooked with it, so no need to add the dried ones.
Chicken (or turkey) Soup: makes 6 - 8 servings
Chicken or turkey carcase (after roasting, not raw)
cooked meat from carcase (approx half a pint measure)
3 tbslp dried vegetable flakes
2 tblsp dried onions
5 peppercorns
4 whole cloves
pinch nutmeg or mace
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp vegetable stock powder (eg Marigold)
6oz (175g) long-grain rice
Crack the carcase bones and put into a large saucepan along with any skin. Add the dried vegetables and onions, the peppercorns, cloves and other spice, plus the bay leaf. Add enough water to cover the bones and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Cool slightly, then strain, spooning off excess fat if you wish. To the strained broth, add the stock powder (or if you prefer add concentrated chicken stock you may have in your freezer), the chicken or turkey meat and the rice. Simmer for 20 or so minutes until the rice is tender. Serve hot.