Well it has been a little while, hasn’t it? I hope you have all been enjoying a restful and relaxed holiday season. A week or so ago, I posted the above photo to Sabzi’s Facebook page, and I received a couple of requests for the recipe. I’m not super pleased with the photo (it was dark out and the kitchen light is on), but I wanted to get this recipe up as soon as possible. You might be wondering what makes this “Persian style.” It is the use of the “reshteh” – Persian noodles and a very small amount of Persian dried limes, also known as limoo amani. The noodles and limes can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocery stores or here and here, respectively. Now, one could always take it to the next level of Persian-ness, by adding turmeric or saffron, or perhaps playing around with other spices like sumac. I was striving for a Western-style chicken soup, with the comfort of the reshteh and the slight tang from the dried lime. For that reason, I only use one dried lime for a rather large pot of soup. Feel free to play around with this recipe.
Not to get all Suzanne Goin on you, but this is a bit of a compound recipe. It originated in the form of a roast chicken – Elizabeth Frink’s Roast Lemon Chicken from the Essential New York Times Cookbook, then it evolves into the stock that I made from the roast chicken. And finally the soup that you see here. Feel free to use any roast chicken recipe that you like. I found this one particularly good and easy, so I will include it here, along with my stock recipe.
2014 was the birth year of this blog. I’m happy to have kept it up, though I know it’s a small achievement compared to the blogs that have been running for a decade. Although I’m currently in the midst of a very exciting and busy period of my life, both professionally and personally, I really enjoy what this space provides. It gives me the chance to reflect on my everyday cooking and to stay committed to larger projects and plans related to cooking. It helps me push past writer’s block – it’s a great warm-up for other types of writing. But most of all, I love hearing from people who are reading. If you visit this page and leave a comment, thank you so much! And if you visit this page but haven’t commented yet, thank you as well. I’m glad you’re here reading and hope to hear more from you in 2015. I have a couple of guest posts lined up for January. I can’t wait to share them with you. Happy New Year!
ELIZABETH FRINK’S ROAST LEMON CHICKEN
Adapted slightly from the New York Times
One 3-pound chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken in a large baking dish and season inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub the peel of one of the lemons over the outside of the chicken. Then cut the lemon into 8 pieces and squeeze juice over and into the chicken. Put the lemon pieces inside the chicken along with the garlic cloves. In a small pan, melt the butter in the olive oil and pour on top and inside the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg registers 180 degrees. Twenty minutes into roasting, add a small amount of water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the drippings from burning. Half an hour before taking the chicken out, pour the juice from the second lemon over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.
My recipe is not a recipe per se. I keep a freezer bag full of ends of carrots, celery fronds, ends of onions, unused halves of onions, and the stalks of herbs such as parsley. Every time I am chopping these vegetables for another recipe, I add the odd pieces and remains to the freezer bag. Then, after I have roasted a chicken, I pull the remaining meat off the bird and put the bare carcass in a large stock pot (mine is about 12 quarts). I add the bag of frozen vegetables, an additional onion cut in half but unpeeled, 4 cloves of garlic unpeeled, as well as 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, and some salt and pepper, and about 1/2 pound of raw chicken wings. The wings provide good gelatin for the stock and are very cheap. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that builds at the surface and reduce the heat to a medium simmer. Leave on the pot on the heat for about 3-4 hours. Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Once it is ready, strain the broth. Let it cool completely. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for a few months. I like to measure the stock out in 1 and 2 cup portions and freeze them for future use.
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP, PERSIAN STYLE
Makes 4 large servings of soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 Persian dried lime, pierced with a couple of holes (use a safety pin)
4 cups chicken stock (and more stock or water if necessary)
8 oz dried reshteh, or other wide noodles of your choice
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
1 big handful of parsley, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
Heat a large, heavy pan on medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and cook until soft, between 5-10 minutes. Do not let them brown! Season with salt. Add the garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and cook until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Add the dried lime and mix with other ingredients. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, turn the heat to a low simmer and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. This is to allow all the flavors to mingle and deepen. Add the reshteh or other noodles and cook until al dente (follow package directions). Add the chicken and cook until heated through. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Turn off the heat, add the parsley, and mix. You can serve this either very soupy, or more as a pasta dish with a little bit of broth. I like it somewhere in between.Noushe jan!