There are so many ways to use leftovers but having eaten so much on Christmas Day the pleasure of having a large bowl of hot soup is soothing. Even more comforting is using up lots of those Christmas leftovers. Even if you do not intend to make soup, make the stock and freeze it for later use. It will keep in the freezer for up to a year. Leave the onion skins on to add colour to the stock.
Follow the instructions if you are making this recipe fresh but if you are using leftovers add any root vegetables, pureed or not, towards the end. Add mushrooms if you have them and there is nothing amiss about using cauliflower or broccoli either. In other words, just add all your leftover vegetables, up to about 4 or 5 cups worth. The only thing I do not like to use are leftover potatoes because they can be used for potato pancakes and when roasted they make good hash browns.
If you don’t like barley boil noodles separately and add them to the soup when serving. Barley will cause the soup to thicken as it stands. If made the day before, it may need to be thinned when reheated.
These are the wings I make so I can devour chicken wings without feeling guilty. They are simmered in stock to remove some of the fat, and the sauce is kept as fat-free as possible without sacrificing any taste. Use the leftover stock as a base for Asian soups or sauces.
This dish is a shout-out to Cuba, whose food will probably become more Americanized now that it’s easier for Americans to travel there. Chicken and rice is really the national Cuban dish and most families have their own recipe. This one is mine. It is a close cousin to paella but with Cuban spicing. Use short grain rice, either Spanish or Italian arborio.
During the four years Victoria Hutton lived in Jakarta, she fell in love with the fresh, pungent flavours of Indonesian food. With an abiding interest in cooking, she decided to explore the cuisine and write a book, now in the planning stages, for non-Indonesians. One of her favourite dishes is Soto Ayam, the popular chicken noodle soup served with many garnishes. It makes a wonderful family dinner as everyone chooses their own add-ins.
The aromatic spice paste in this dish is one of the hallmarks of Indonesian cooking. It used to be a back-breaking chore to pound the chilies and other spices into a paste, but nowadays a blender or food processor does the job. The turmeric in the paste gives the soup a lovely yellow hue. Fresh turmeric, a perennial plant of the ginger family, is available in Asian stores. If you can’t find it, the dried version works well.
Fried shallots are a popular garnish for many dishes in Indonesia. Shallots have much less water than larger onions, so they fry up crisp without the addition of flour. They can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
One of the best tacos I have ever eaten was at a food stand at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa. Frankly, the combination of rich duck and mildly spicy ancho chili paste sweetened with cherries incited gluttony.
Despite its sophisticated flavour profile, the dish is easy to reproduce once the chili paste is made and the onions are brined (both can be done ahead). And if you aren’t a duck fan, you can easily substitute cooked chicken legs or pork belly.
I make double the amount of the paste and keep it refrigerated to liven up other dishes. The marinated onions also keep for weeks. As for the chilies, dried, large, fairly mild anchos are available at Latin American stores and some supermarkets.