Saturday, May 31, 2008

Basic Southeast Asian Chicken Broth

Every recipe for chicken broth is fairly similar, I thought this one was interesting, as it has a Southeast Asian taste and kick to it. Instead of celery and/or carrots and/or leeks, we add shallots and ginger and whole coriander, we replace black peppercorns with the spicier Sichuan peppercorns. This comes from the excellent culture-based travelogue/cookbook called Hot Sour Salty Sweet, a look at Southeast Asian food and culture, that of Thailand, Laos, southern China - Yunnan, and Vietnam. Well worth the read, I'm enjoying making some of the recipes.

Basic Southeast Asian Chicken Broth
From Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
1 whole chicken or 3 to 4 pounds chicken necks and wings (or 1 chicken carcass)
water to cover
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 to 3 shallots, halved, or 2 scallions trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths (optional)
about 10 black peppercorns or Sichuan peppercorns (optional)
3 thick slices ginger (optional)
2 whole coriander plants, including roots, well washed (optional)
salt and/or Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce to taste

Rinse the chicken well. Place in a large heavy pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, skimming off and discarding any foam that comes to the surface. Add all the remaining ingredients except the salt and/or fish sauce, stir well to wet them, and simmer, half-covered, for about 40 minutes. (If you are using a chicken carcass, simmer the broth for about 2 hours.)

Place a sieve over a large bowl, pour the broth through it, and set aside meat for another purpose; discard the remaining solids. Let the broth cool completely, then pour it into one or more containers. Cover and refrigerate. After several hours, a layer of fat will have solidified on the surface; skim it off and set aside for another purpose if desired. You can use the broth immediately, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. You can season it after skimming off the fat or instead wait, as we do, and season with salt and/or fish sauce just before you use it.

If using the stock to make a clear broth, warm it slightly, then strain through a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth before proceeding with the recipe.

Makes 6 to 9 cups broth.

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