Poached Chicken and Rice

poached-chicken-and-riceI just realized our kitchen calendar was still on August and flipped it over, revealing the stereotypical picture of golden hued oak trees and a dilapidated barn that always accompanies September. Ugh… Here on the Westcoast September would be more accurately represented by a grey sheet of rain.

Yep, autumn has come just like it always does; like a switch is flipped, the sun just surrenders and the rains begin like the final act of Seven Samurai… And as usual most of my friends, family and co-workers are getting sick.

So the calendar goes back up on the wall, I fire up a big pot on the stove and pull one of my secret weapons against autumn depression from the freezer: Master Stock! I know it sounds like Master Chief’s little brother or a particularly corny GI Joe villain, but it’s not. It’s a broth made from simmering a whole chicken with Asian aromatics and then, over the course of many uses and multiple chickens it condenses into a powerful, gelatinous flavour bomb for use in soups, stews and sauces.

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Fish Stock (Aka Severed Head Soup)

Fish Stock1I returned home from work the night after Halloween to find a severed head in my fridge.

It was arranged on a plate next to the celery, eyes bulging, mouth agog with still-glistening tongue half protruding the way I’d imagine a strangulation victim’s would. It wasn’t a person’s head of course; it belonged to a fish, a really big fish… But it was still kind of a shock.

While I was at the restaurant, Crystal’s sister had stopped by with a present from the clan in Ucluelet. Uncle Chuck had landed a huge Halibut and (because he’s awesome!) shipped it over to us, packed in ice. Lisa had spent the afternoon processing the beast and once it was down to nothing but guts ‘n gills she figured I’d take care of the rest. She was absolutely right! It’s just the kind of weird stuff I love doing on a weekend. (more…)

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