Hi! I hope you can hear me through the fog. From where I'm sitting, I can only see about twenty feet out the window. I'm up at Alex's parents' kitchen counter in Truro, and normally, I can see a deck and a thicket of beach plums and then the big, wide arc of Cape Cod Bay. But this morning, when Fisher and I woke up to make tea, we couldn't even see the beach. I tried to let him out, but he took one sniff, turned around, and came back inside to lie down. It's that kind of a day.
We've decided that rather than fight it, we're going to make a batch of butternut squash brownies and chicken noodle soup. Oh! and chicken salad. There's a lot of leftover roast chicken in that fridge.
I don't know if you make your own chicken stock, but I never did until I was shamed into it. In a recipe I wrote a few years back for my column in Maine, I called for for canned chicken stock, and Lee Johnson of Arrowsic was not impressed.
"CANNED??? chicken broth?!" she wrote. "Canned chicken broth costs money and is either very high in sodium or tasteless and it is certainly not local."
She had a point. And so, following her directions, I learned to make stock—strip the carcass, add water, an onion, a bay leaf, and heat. Boil for an hour, maybe two, then cool the broth and drain it. Throw out the bones and put the broth away, then let the fat rise to the top, gel, and skim it off if you like when you go to grab your breakfast milk. (I usually do, but since we buy our chickens from a farmer I trust—my friend Drew—and he raises his birds on pasture, I don't throw it out. I save it for sautéing veggies instead.) Sometimes I freeze it, and on days like today I use it fresh for chicken noodle soup.
As for chicken salad, I like mine simple: something crunchy, something nutty, mayo, and some sort of fruit. Today we're doing a Waldorf sort of variation—you know, like the apple salad with walnuts, celery, and yogurt. Except there's chicken, and mayo gets swapped in for the yogurt. It's good.
What do you do with your chickens? Special stocks? Chicken salads? Soups? We in the fog bank would love to hear.