HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK

CHICKEN BROTH

Happy Ramadan everybody!

Ramadan food preparation is one of the closest tasks to my heart! Although I am almost preparing food all your round but there is something so special about preparing food for Ramadan; it has a totally different feel!

The past few days I have been doing nothing but stuffing sambousak/katayef, cutting konafa, cooking tons of homemade stock, roasting nuts, making juices; basically having my fridge & freezer ready for this holy month! 

I will be sharing with you as many recipes as possible, hopefully! I thought to start with my favorite recipe for homemade chicken stock because basically that’s the base for most of our food & it doesn’t make sense to be making stock daily in Ramadan! 

I believe we all know how to make stock; it is basically boiling chicken with some spices in water until the chicken is cooked through, right? But lately, I have been reading a lot about making stock the professional way to have the maximum nutrients & flavor. I researched & tested so many times until I finally found the perfect recipe.

Below are some tips “that actually go against everything I knew about making stock” but they turned out to be the perfect base for a delicious recipe:

  • Sear the chicken in ghee/butter/oil before adding water to give the stock a richer taste; don’t worry about the fats, we will remove them at the end.
  • Start the stock with tap water & not hot water.
  • Use whole spices & not powdered spices.
  • Use vegetables & greens to flavor the stock; not only spices.
  • Stock has to be simmered uncovered on low heat. Simmer (don’t boil) because otherwise all the liquid will evaporate. A simmer is when you see a couple of small bubbles (in different spots) on the surface of the water every second or two.
051118088-01-simmer-vs-boil_xlg_xl
Difference between simmer (on the left) & boil (on the right)
  • Stock has to be cooked on low heat for a long period of time to extract all the nutrients & have a deliciously flavored liquid.
  • SALT OR NO SALT? There is a big argument about whether to add salt or not while making the stock but I went with the “NO SALT” opinion to reduce the sodium level. You will use stock in making other recipes so season the final recipe with salt & pepper & not the stock. If you decide to add salt to your stock, then add it at the end & not the beginning.
  • When you taste the stock, it has to taste clean, not bitter, not greasy & without any overpowering taste. Because the stock has no salt, it will be tasteless – DON’T WORRY – it is supposed to be like that! If you want to make a test, heat one cup of stock & season it with salt & pepper, you won’t believe the difference; it will be the normal stock taste you are used to.
  • To have a healthy nutritious stock without any fats, let the stock cool completely then remove the fat layer that will form on the surface.

Please stop using store bought stock cubes; they are just full of crap! Prepare a big batch of homemade stock & freeze in portions … it can stay in your freezer for up to 3 months!

Let’s get ready for Ramadan or actually for the whole year :)

HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK

  • Servings: 12 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole chickens about 2 kg each
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee or oil (for optional step)
  • 3 onions cut into quarters
  • 3 carrots cut into chunks
  • 3 French celery stalks with leaves كرفس (see notes for substitution)
  • 1/4 bunch parsley بقدونس
  • 1/2 garlic head, peeled whole cloves
  • 5 cardamom whole حبهان
  • 2 large mastic pieces or 4 small مستكا
  • 3 bay leaves لورا
  • 1 cinnamon stick عود قرفة (optional)
  • 1 dried lemon لومى (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorn فلفل حب
  • water at room temperature

Directions:

  • Optional Step: Dry the chicken well with tissue paper. Heat a large pot on high heat, add the butter/oil/ghee, the mastic, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamon & black peppercorn then sear the chicken on all sides until it takes a light golden color. Add the rest of the ingredients & cover with water. All the ingredients should be covered with water.
  • In case you are going to skip the above step, put all the ingredients in a large pot & cover with water. All the ingredients should be covered with water.
  • Cook on high heat until the water boils. Reduce heat to low to maintain a simmer. A simmer is when you see a couple of small bubbles (in different spots) on the surface of the water every second or two (see above photo for reference).
  • Simmer UNCOVERED for about 3 hours; skimming off the foam & fats that floats to the top of the stock with a metal spoon. You can skim the foam & fat every 45 minutes. This isn’t necessary but it will make your stock clearer & cleaner.
  • After 3 hours, the stock should be reduced by about 1/3. Strain the stock through a sieve; disregard all the veggies & spices.
  • Let the stock cool completely then remove the fat layer (if there is any) that is formed on the surface.
  • Divide the stock into portions & freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Use the stock as a base in cooking sauces, soups & vegetables ..etc.

Notes:

  1. In case you can’t find french celery (the one with long stalks), substitute with 1/2 a bunch of local celery.
  2. You can use the cooked chicken in salads, wraps & sandwiches.
  3. You can use chicken wings & carcass instead of whole chicken.
  4. You can find dried lemon (loumy) at any spice store.
  5. Don’t add salt to the stock in order not to increase its sodium level. Stocks are used in preparing other recipes so season the final recipe with salt/pepper. In case you want to add salt while preparing the stock, add it at the end & not the beginning.
  6. When you taste the stock, it has to taste clean, not bitter, not greasy & without any overpowering taste. Because the stock has no salt, it will be tasteless. – DON’T WORRY it is supposed to be like that. If you want to make a test, heat one cup of stock & season it with salt & pepper, you won’t believe the difference :)

LIGHT BECHAMEL SAUCE

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The Holy month of Ramadan is 2 weeks from now & I can’t wait for my favorite 30 days to start :) The month of unbelievable spirituals, gatherings & food!

Unlucky me, I am one of those people who finishes Ramadan with 3-4 extra kilos on my waist line. I don’t know whether it’s the fasting or the amazing gatherings that make my appetite go crazy or the delicious food that makes me think of nothing but food!

But lately, I have been making some changes that proved to be working! For me, Ramadan is not the month of healthy food; I eat, I indulge & never deprive myself but with 3 new rules:

Continue reading “LIGHT BECHAMEL SAUCE”

CRISPY OVEN BAKED CHICKEN FILLET

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I don’t know where or how to start as this recipe goes way way back! I have been working on this recipe for almost a year now, even before I started thinking about my blog! I simply love fried food & can’t deny that it is a staple in our house so I had to find a lighter/healthier alternative!

I have tested this recipe over & over; tried every single breading you can imagine; flour, corn flour, panko, nuts, corn flakes, tortillas, pretzels … etc but nothing worked & the result was always the same:

  • Either the chicken gets too dry until the crust takes a nice color & crunch or
  • The chicken is cooked perfectly & the crust is light in color + not crispy

I just couldn’t accept eating any of the above options & compared to fried chicken, they sucked big time!

Continue reading “CRISPY OVEN BAKED CHICKEN FILLET”

CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOM & COCONUT BROWN SAUCE

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I fed my kids, put their favorite cartoon on! Made myself a cup of coffee to work on this post peacefully! Let’s say that this is how I pictured the whole situation yaaaah!

Reality: I am holding my coffee with one hand; typing with the other while my kids are running everywhere around me!

Let me try to wrap this post before I get attacked by these 2 little monkeys!

Another chicken dish on the blog! But as you know I never compromise on it being easy, quick & extremely delicious; perfect for your tight busy weekdays & also elegant for any dinner hosting.

Continue reading “CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOM & COCONUT BROWN SAUCE”

CREAM CHEESE PESTO PASTA WITH CHICKEN, FRESH MOZZARELLA & ROASTED TOMATO

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It’s me again with another pasta dish!

I just happen to love carbs … all kinds of carbs!

Sometimes I go for light healthy pasta recipes but most of the time, I go for creamy cheesy sauces that just melt in your mouth!

Cream Cheese, Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella & Parmesan cheese is a mixture made in cheese heaven! The different flavors & textures of the 3 cheeses complement each other so well without being too greasy or heavy. Cheese heaven, right?

Continue reading “CREAM CHEESE PESTO PASTA WITH CHICKEN, FRESH MOZZARELLA & ROASTED TOMATO”

SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN

I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t love Chinese Food! I remember growing up with Peking Restaurant being a phenomenal outing every weekend to indulge on all those Chinese dishes.

What I also discovered is that cooking Chinese food is as enjoyable as eating it. Easy & quick dishes that are packed with veggies YET very delicious. Perfect for our busy lifestyles.

Continue reading “SWEET & SOUR CHICKEN”

CHICKEN WITH SWEET CHILI BBQ SAUCE

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Before getting married & having kids, I used to hate anything cooked with bones; mainly whole chicken. It was such a hassle to eat; I always preferred fillet!

Then my cooking obsession started & I learnt that poultry cooked “bone in” yields the juiciest results.

And GOD! Whole chicken is so easy to cook; you just marinade it, throw it in the oven or over the stove & it takes care of itself! SPOT ON for busy & lazy days or actually any day!

Continue reading “CHICKEN WITH SWEET CHILI BBQ SAUCE”

ROSEMARY CHICKEN WITH ORANGE INFUSED BALSAMIC REDUCTION

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Happy New Year Everyone!!

I personally have consumed HUGE HUGE amounts of cookies, desserts & of course 7alawet El Mouled in the past few weeks :( Because simply who on earth could resist all these food occasions attacking us all at once??

But my body & pants are suffering BIG TIME so I decided to slow down a bit & go back to basics:

Continue reading “ROSEMARY CHICKEN WITH ORANGE INFUSED BALSAMIC REDUCTION”

SMOKED CHICKEN MUSTARD SANDWICH

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A filling & delicious homemade alternative for your lunch breaks healthier than ready made sandwiches.

I was never a fan of making sandwiches; what’s the point of making one while I can buy it from anywhere? I always bought a sandwich on my way to work or university; of course the only sandwich my mum made me was white cheese so if I wanted the tinniest change, it had to be takeout.

Continue reading “SMOKED CHICKEN MUSTARD SANDWICH”

HERB CHICKEN STRIPS IN VEGGIE BROWN SAUCE

Italian Chicken

Easy, Quick, Delicious & Full of veggies! The perfect recipe for your busy day!

One of our favorite recipes at home is Chicken mushroom sauce! One day while preparing it, I opened the fridge to find ALOT of veggies staring at me about to soften and wilt so I thought why not add them to my dish before they go bad …

The result was this amazing recipe that became a new family favorite!

Continue reading “HERB CHICKEN STRIPS IN VEGGIE BROWN SAUCE”