Yes to Yummy

Tag Archive: comfort food

The Best Chicken Soup Ever

October 26, 2013 4 Comments Print this page

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The weather’s getting colder. The sky’s getting darker earlier with each passing day. There’s a certain nip in the air that just makes it feel like fall…

…or winter, in my humble opinion.

Me Cold

For some reason, last year was the first year I really felt winter’s chill. I’ve always been a warm-blooded girl, but my freshman year, I walked around high school from November to March in my puffy orange jacket , a hat, and sometimes gloves because I was so. COLD. Last Tuesday was the first day I had to wear my jacket in class, and it was a sad, sad day. Goodbye warm weather…well, at least until I head south in a couple months.

While I don’t particularly like the cold, I do love cold-weather food. Soups, stews, braises, roasts? Sign me up! I love hanging out in my kitchen, the warmest room in the house, and breathing in the aroma of pot roast or coq au vin. I love all of the root vegetables–beets, sweet potatoes, squashes, parsnips, celery root–and the spices–cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice–and use them as much as I can in my cooking. To me, they’re like best friends that you don’t see all summer: they embrace you with a warm hug and just make you feel safe and comfortable. Mmm. That’s my kind of food: so soothing and gently flavorful, you can taste the love.

I’m here today with my first of many comfort food recipes: the BEST chicken soup I have ever made. It’s one of my favorite dishes EVER, and I would be happy to eat chicken soup every single day if you asked. And, since it’s a soup, I’m filled up with warm fullness from my first to my last sip (or bite). I like eating (or is it drinking?) soup with a small spoon so the wonderful feeling will last as long as possible. You too can enjoy this delicious awesomeness–it’s easy, doesn’t have too many ingredients, and won’t take you forever to make!

Want a print-out version of this recipe? Click here!

The first thing you’re going to need is a 3-4 pound whole chicken, cut up into 8 pieces. Want to know how to do it? Watch my video–the first one I’ve ever filmed for Yes to Yummy! I’ll warn you: I’m wearing my pink polar bear PJ bottoms and look at the camera a little funny, but it’s me in my purest, rawest (no pun intended) form. Plus, the background song is the Chicken Dance…and who doesn’t love the Chicken Dance?!

Cluck.

If you’re lazy or don’t have the time, use either a combination of chicken legs and breasts or all chicken legs. I wouldn’t recommend using all white meat: it dries out and is too chewy to pair nicely with the soup.

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Once your chicken is cut up (or out of its package), toss it in 1/2 cup of arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Make sure each and every piece of chicken is well-coated!

In a  dutch oven or just a big pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter (or ghee) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add in half of the chicken pieces (I put in 1 drumstick, 1 thigh, 1 breast half, and 1 wing) and let cook until completely browned on that side, about 5 minutes. Once darkened and crispy, flip it over to the other side and brown for another 5 minutes. Transfer the pieces to a plate and do the same with the other half of the chicken pieces.

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Your chicken will look marvelous, but don’t do anything to it yet! It’s still not completely cooked through.

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To the remaining fat, add 1 large onion, chopped, 3 medium carrots, chopped, and 3 celery stalks, chopped. Saute with a pinch of salt until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric and poultry seasoning, then add in 1 cup of apple cider and 6 cups of chicken broth.

A word about chicken broth: I do not recommend that you use store-bought. Honestly, there isn’t much chicken in there: it’s mostly salt and powdered vegetables, which don’t really contribute much flavor, do they? Making your own is easy: just boil the backbone of a chicken or a chicken carcass with some odd vegetables (onion peels, carrot bottoms, old celery stalks) for a few hours and strain.

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Bring the liquid and veggies to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add the chicken back into the pot. Cover it with a lid and cook for another 25 minutes.

When the 25 minutes have elapsed, remove the chicken from the pot and shred it up into little pieces. Discard the bones, or use them to make chicken broth for next time.

Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine. If you want a decadent, slightly creamy base, add in 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Stir just to combine, then let cook over low heat for at least another 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

I got my heavy cream in a glass bottle from grass-fed cows, so it has the health benefits that regular store-bought heavy cream doesn’t have. While this heavy cream is absolutely amazing, dairy isn’t for everyone (and neither is its high price tag for the good stuff!), so you can leave it out and still have a tasty soup.

Spoon this liquid of the gods into big bowls and sip down. Watch as your worries melt away into taste-bud explosive ecstasy…

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Now THIS is what Yes to Yummy is all about.

What’s your favorite fall or winter soup? Leave me a comment HERE (yay!) or on Facebook and let me know!


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The Best Chicken Soup Ever

October 26, 2013 Print this page

This is the best chicken soup I have ever made…heck, eaten, too. It’s like hugging a million fluffy bunny rabbits at once.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 min
Yield 6 to 8 servings

1 3-4 pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces,  (or a combination of 3-4 pounds of legs and breasts or just legs) (learn how to cut it up here)

1/2 cup of arrowroot powder

1 teaspoon of salt plus a pinch for sauteeing

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of butter (can be substituted with ghee)

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning

1 cup of apple cider

6 cups of chicken broth (preferably homemade)

1/2 cup of heavy cream (optional)

Directions

Toss the chicken in the arrowroot powder, salt, and black pepper. Make sure each and every piece of chicken is well-coated!

In a  dutch oven or just a big pot, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, add in half of the chicken pieces and let cook until completely browned on that side, about 5 minutes. Once darkened and crispy, flip it over to the other side and brown for another 5 minutes. Transfer the pieces to a plate and do the same with the other half of the chicken pieces.

To the remaining fat, add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute with a pinch of salt until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the  turmeric and poultry seasoning, then add in the apple cider and chicken broth.

Bring the liquid and veggies to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add the chicken back into the pot. Cover it with a lid and cook for another 25 minutes.

When the 25 minutes have elapsed, remove the chicken from the pot and shred it up into little pieces. Discard the bones, or use them to make chicken broth for next time.

Add the chicken back to the pot and stir to combine. Pour in the heavy cream if you’re using it, stir just to combine, then let cook over low heat for at least another 10 minutes or until ready to serve.

Spoon this liquid of the gods into big bowls and sip down.


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Healthier Fried Chicken

April 8, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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I know what you’re thinking: fried chicken, HEALTHY?! How could something battered in flour and fried in oil be HEALTHY?!

Well, with the help of Charles Mayfield’s Paleo Comfort Foods, I successfully recreated this indulgent Southern dish without the extra guilt.

Even though this fried chicken is certainly healthier for you, it’s not something I recommend eating every single night. Save it for a once-in-a-while treat—it’ll make it all the more special.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with tinfoil. Place a wire rack on top and lightly grease it to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, heat 1 1/3 cups of refined coconut oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Unrefined/extra virgin coconut oil will leave you with a coconut-y taste as well as splatter more, so save yourself the trouble. 

In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of almond flour with 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder, a good pinch of salt, and a crack of black pepper. In a medium bowl, lightly beat two eggs. You’re now ready to assemble the chicken.

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First, dip each piece of chicken in the egg, then toss in the almond flour mixture to coat. I used about two pounds of drumsticks and thighs, but any chicken part will do.

When the oil’s hot (at about 350 degrees…although honestly, I didn’t check), add in the chicken. Watch out for sputtering grease! Cook until browned on the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes…

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…then flip over with a long pair of tongs. Continue frying for another 3 to 4 minutes.

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Remove the chicken from the oil and place on the prepared wire rack/baking sheet. Bake on the top rack of the oven until cooked through and crispy, about 15 minutes.

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To add some nutritive value to this meal, I made two delicious side dishes: carrot timbales (also courtesy of Paleo Comfort Foods) and braised red cabbage.

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For starters, you’re going to need carrots. LOTS of carrots. I used a little over a pound, which yielded 4 6-ounce timbales. 

Shred the carrots and 1 to 2 cloves of garlic. You can be old-school and use a box grater, or you can be lazy like me and use a food processor.

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Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large skillet over low heat. Add the carrots, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook until brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little bit of water if it starts to stick.

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Next, put the carrots in the bowl of a food processor or blender and add 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (go easy—nutmeg is VERY overpowering), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt. Process or blend until completely smooth, adding more coconut milk if the carrots aren’t mixing nicely.

Add two eggs to the food processor or blender and process for 1 additional minute just to combine. 

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (Note: I baked the carrot timbales before the chicken.) Put some water to boil on the stove-top.

Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins with olive oil or coconut oil. Evenly distribute the carrot mixture among the 4 ramekins and place in a large roasting pan.

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When the water is boiling, pour it into the roasting pan so it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins. (You don’t have to be exact—just don’t completely cover them!) Bake for 45 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown on top and around the edges.

To make the cabbage, heat up 1 tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of lard (yes, lard) in a large skillet on medium, then add 1 large thinly sliced onion. Saute until light golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Add 1 small head of red cabbage to the skillet. (You could also use savoy or nappa cabbage.) Add 4 tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, turn the heat down to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes. If the cabbage starts to dry out, add some more vinegar, water, or chicken stock.

Once the cabbage has softened a bit, season it well with salt and pepper. Add in one green apple, chopped into matchsticks, and stir it to incorporate. Cover the cabbage with a lid and cook until everything is tender, about another fifteen minutes longer.

Taste before serving, and add 1/4 cup orange juice if the cabbage seems bitter.

Voila—a flavorful, comforting meal that you CAN have. Don’t be ashamed to lick your fingers and scrape the plate!

What’s your favorite comfort food? Leave me a comment and let me know! 


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