Originally uploaded by MGL.
In our continuing attempt to bore you to death, I will now invite you to participate in a very slow cooking experiment. Last night's whole chicken has now been mostly consumed, and I've taken the bones out with the intention to turn it into chicken broth which, I must admit, I have never attempted before.I am going to document every step of the way towards mastering this slow food classic.
First off: what's with the purple, you ask? Our laser-based Martian stove does not translate well into the spectrum of light available here on Earth, unfortunately.
The recipe I'm using is this one. It's very "the-way-my-mama-used-to-make-it" down-home style stuff, but the recipe seems rock solid.
Ok, so I've taken some liberties. Like I've replaced pretty much everything but the chicken bones, and I've boiled it down (get it?) to just the one chicken. Also, I've thrown in pretty much every single bit and bob, every Tom, Dick and Harry, every Snap, Crackle and Pop in the fridge, and in the vegetable bowl. The iron pot now contains:
bones from 1 chicken
2 whole chinese garlic, cut in eights
1 red onion in halves
3 carrots, quartered (roughly)
1/2 a broccoli, including stems, cut into smaller pieces
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
the remains of last night's sauce (cream, stock from the roasting process, tarragon, pepper)
Now I've brought the whole thing to a boil, and it is now simmering at medium heat under a lid. It should be ready around half past midnight tonight, according to the recipe. I doubt that mine will take that long, though, because I'm using much less stuff than the recipe.
I'm very excited about this. It feels like I'm actually making real food (though, I hasten to add, we have a strictly-real-food policy here in the house. We're not half bad at cooking, if I do say so myself).
Updates to follow.
Update 1: as far as I've understood this thing, the idea is that regularly during the process, one should skim the scuzzy stuff that rises to the top off. I just did this for the first time. brown stuff sticking to side of the pot. Into the sink it goes!
Update 2: I've added about a cup of water, because the water was receding below the level of the contents. I've understood it such that this is the way it is done. Now, my question is: if I keep doing this in order to keep the soup at a specific amount of content, will the taste remain at a constant level, or will it still get better throughout? If you know anything about this, comment.
Update 3: Near disaster. I forgot the soup while watching Woody Allens Crimes and Misdemeanors (which was excellent. One of Allens strongest pieces, a wonderful comic tragedy skillfully crafted. Only slipping briefly, at the very end, when an elderly philosopher in voiceover tries to make a grand, positive conclusion from the material, and fails, despite the ironic undercurrent of our knowledge of his life. It had just a tad too much telling and not enough showing. Powerful storytelling, though. Some very strong scenes, particularly an imaginary dialogue between the beleaguered ophtamologist who is one of two main characters, and Sam Waterston playing his imaginary rabbi stands out. I loved the double plot, one being a comedy, the other a tragedy, both commenting slyly on each other, and on the relationship between film and real life as well). When I went to check on it, it had almost completely evaporated. I quickly poured more water on it, and set it to reduce again. I fear that some of the stock and the flavour may have evaporated. I'm getting it in another half hour, tops.
Update 4: (Although, when I think about it, maybe the two storylines were a little bit too mismatched.)