The brand new year, 2019, arrived at the stroke of midnight as it has a habit of doing every 12 months. With this turn of the calendar, however, things took a significant turn for my household. Goodbye spendy restaurants, sunny cafés, kitchy diners, and cozy pubs; hello shiny new kitchen shears and sheep’s foot paring knife. Time to get chopping.
Yesterday I made a spatchcocked (butterflied) whole chicken (use kitchen shears to remove the backbone and then splay it out in a rather unceremonious manner on a roasting sheet) and roasted an embarrassing amount of Brussel sprouts to go along with it. The chicken reached the desired temp in record time – 45 minutes! – but the veggies about 10 minute earlier, so we noshed on caramelized goodness while the chicken finished roasting and resting. That’s right you naughty bird, you just lay there and think about what you’ve done! Luckily Jeff doesn’t mind his meals in shifts from time to time.
With the backbone, skin, wings and bones, I made a batch of stock that bubbled away for a few hours and added some nice moisture to this dry, winter cave of a home. I swear, if you even look at the floor rug out of the corner of your eye lately, you’ll feel an electric current racing up your right thigh.
After another attempt at poached eggs for breakfast this morning — finally, success! — and a light lunch of toast and apricot jam (don’t judge), I got down to the serious business of making some soup with the remaining chicken breast, the usual vegetables, some greens (a boatload of kale and a bit of fresh parsley), egg noodles, and that luscious stock from the day before.
I cut the carrots and celery on the diagonal because I was feeling fancy. No simple rounds for us, old chap. And instead of a small onion, I finished off a large half one that was napping in the fridge, cutting it quite thin instead of the usual dice. I’m glad I did too, as the onion nearly melted into this really nice, silky texture without any need to sauté it beforehand. Less work, great flavor, and one less pan to wash. (Please hold your applause until the end of the meal. Thank you, thank you.)
Rice could have been used instead of the egg noodles I suppose but, let’s be honest, rice is dead boring sometimes. I wanted taste and texture, not just bulk and filler. Now, now, don’t go sending me any pro-rice hate mail. Yes, sometimes rice is the best starch out there for a given meal, but for me and my family, we choose egg noodles (for our chicken soup).
All in all, a decent way to begin the new year in the kitchen.