I know it’s Christmas and I should be posting something Christmassy. Alas, I am lucky enough to get cooked for at Christmas and rarely need to get into the kitchen during the festive holidays. So instead I leave you with a chicken ballotine I made a few days ago.
I love croquettes, they take me down memory lane and remind me of when I used to walk home from secondary school and stop at the local grocery to get some, which I would finish off by the time I got home. They were the best croquettes I have ever eaten but sadly that grocery store is no more. The memory lives on, however, and I will continue making croquettes in search of that perfect taste and texture.
Once again I turn to my faithful soups. I know it’s still summer (just about!), but as I grew up all meals started with a soup and I want my kids to have the same healthy habit. The truth is I never tire of making soups and made this one this week because I had a chickpea craving. I love chickpeas! (I know I’ve said this before…). And they are healthy too, which is a huge bonus.
One of the staple foods of Portugal is salted cod or ‘bacalhau‘, as we call it. It may well be THE staple food. The tradition of eating salted cod is at least 500 years old and we pride ourselves in preparing salted cod in hundreds of different ways. Literally hundreds, and some claim thousands. Cod is the only fish the Portuguese don’t eat fresh and somehow the tradition has stuck to the point that buying fresh cod in Portugal is hard if not impossible but buying any other fresh sea creature that can be eaten is easy. We love our fresh fish but we wouldn’t have our cod any other way!
If you ever find yourself throwing away the bones, skin and remains of a roast chicken, roast chicken thighs or wings, stop! Approximately one hour separates you from that moment and a delicious chicken broth that will feel like a warm hug.
Throw those bones, skin and chicken debris in a pan with a few vegetables and olive oil, add water and small pasta, let the heat do its magic and you will be suitably rewarded. It really is that easy.
Soups are my thing. I grew up with a bowl of soup at the start of every meal (lunch and dinner). I love eating them, I feel comfortable making them and I am always swapping ingredients around. That is what I did to get to the best carrot soup I have cooked so far. This soup is like velvet and tastes fantastic. And it’s a soup for all occasions, casual or fancy. The cheesy croutons are a little luxury that give it a bit of interest. Alternatively, a little swirl of cream should also impress your guests if you are not in the mood to make croutons (although these are really easy!). Or just have it on its own, believe me it is still a treat.