Wednesday, May 12, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Upon return home, it was decreed by those who had languished for a week without being properly cooked for that were would be having barbecued chicken. And me? I'm not one to argue. I'm a lover, not a fighter. Everyone knows that. Thus, sustainably raised and then killed for our sustenance chicken legs found their way onto our grill (which, since we were out of charcoal, I had to fuel with foraged fallen maple branches, taking this fully into the realm of the old school). I made BBQ sauce with tomato paste, red wine, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, coffee, balsamic vinegar, and passion fruit juice, and also brown rice and a salad of greens from the garden. No pictures. Settle down.

The point is, there were BBQ chicken bones in the fridge the next day. And the temperature had dropped faster than George Rekers' luggage/pants/rent boy (in that order), so soup was on. I simmered the bones with a carrot, fennel stalks, half an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, and a knob of ginger for an hour or so. While that was doing its thing, man, I pulled half a package of wonton skins from the freezer and put them on one of the folding backguard shelves over the simmering stock to help them defrost so I could pull them apart without disaster. While that was going on, yo, I took roughly half a pound of ground pork (the other half had been used for a pasta sauce in my absence) and mixed it with garlic (our first, green, just to see how it's progressing) plus scallion, salt, pepper, a minced kumquat, and lemongrass (from the plant I recently moved outside).

Those pale edges are from being frozen and not properly wrapped for a length of time. It makes for a bit of brittleness, but I was too lazy to trim them all. The seemingly empty bowl has water for dipping fingers in and making seams. I made tortellini shapes with them, because they're fun. I strained the stock, reserving the carrots and what chicken meat there was to save, and discarded the rest. The wontons I poached in batches in the stock, removing them to bowls with a strainer-type device as they were cooked. Then ladles of stock, bits of chicken, hunks of carrot, and the following to finish: bolting cilantro leaves, mustard seed pods, radish slices, and skinny asparagus segments. Thus are last fall's plantings being consumed along with this spring's recent arrivals.

The stock was deep, chickeny, and slightly smoky from the grilled legs, the wontons were silky, the pork inside was fragrant with allium and citrus, and the various garnishes all added various bright and trebly notes to the mix. Bastardized? Sure. But so damn good.


butterface said...

M'kay thats it. I'm buying kumquats.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't "wonton" translate to "I love you"? Just wondering. Every time I have made them (very sim. to your method btw) I am always asked why I don't make them more often. Well, because they're a bit of a pain? Because we eat them so quickly? I could go on but yeah, there's something special in these little bits.

Oh and 5- and 6-year-old hands work well with wonton-making.

peter said...

Gueule de beurre: Knowing you, you'll steal them.

El: They're meatballs IN pasta. It doesn't get much better.

cookiecrumb said...

That's unbelievable. I love it, wantonly.

precious said...

This is a very nice recipe! My mom used to make this when we were young but this is a better version.
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Girl Foodie said...

I love the idea of using barbecued chicken to make stock. I also have a woods behind me with tons of fallen and trimmed wood and it had never occurred to me to use it to barbecue with! Thanks for the tips!

peter said...

CC: You wanton, you.

Precious: Snaps for above-average spam.

Emily: It's funny, isn't it, how far we're removed from the things our ancestors did every day? The BBQ chicken bones make for a particularly great stock.