Knorr will I tell it like it is… a very fine stock indeed

by foodhoe on July 8, 2011

I recently signed up to participate in a recipe contest for the Blogher publishing network, but when I received the package and read the welcome letter which began:  we’re thrilled you have chosen to enter the knorr Four Recipe Contest… where you will put your culinary talents to the test and compete for riches beyond belief… I had serious misgivings.  What was I thinking?  I love cooking but I cook from cookbooks, but that’s really as far as it goes.  So Blogher, I’m sorry but I’m just going to take a look at this extremely cool product that you sent me and use it in one of my favorite recipes by Alice Waters from The Art of Simple Food…  Okay so now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at the goods.  The sample I received of Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock comes in a convenient 4-pack, each packet makes 3.5 cups of stock.

Knorr homestyle stock

The little tub contains a soft puck of concentrated stock that is mixed in with 3.5 cups of boiling water

It did require quite a bit of stirring, but eventually it did dissolve.  The end product had bits of onion and vegetables floating around, and really did look like home made stock.  Because Mr. K has his Sunday roast chicken ritual, I make a fair amount of stock and feel that this would be a completely acceptable substitute.  There is the slightest hint of boullion cube flavor, but I think it would be perfectly fine used as a base for recipes.

All right, back to the recipe… sumptuously tender braised chicken legs.  Braised chicken legs take less than an hour to cook and can be combined with almost any herb, spices and vegetables. While this dish would not be classified as summer dining, I live in the Bay Area where summer weather can be cold and clammy and sometimes this can be just the thing.  Come on, admit it, you have been to the city clad in a t-shirt and shorts when it’s 90 degrees every where else and froze your ass off in the wind and fog.  Imagine coming home to a lovely bowl of this…

Braised Chicken Legs

Ingredients:

8 chicken legs
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
2 tbl olive oil
2 onions, sliced thick (or diced large)
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 bay leaves
2 small rosemary sprigs
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 tomatoes, diced coarse, or 1 small (12-oz =) can organic whole tomatoes, diced, including juice)
2 cups Knorr homestyle chicken stock!
Garnish: lemon zest , chopped fresh herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

The day before, season the chicken legs with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.  Get the whole leg that includes thighs, and cut them into separate pieces before seasoning.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, then place the chicken legs into the pan skin side down and cook until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes. Turn carefully and cook for another 4 minutes.  Alice says this step is critical to brown the skin, which adds color and flavor to the dish.  Remove the chicken and set aside. 

Put the onions in the pan and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes.  I was really excited to use fresh bay leaves that I picked up while hiking along the Yosemite Falls trail recently. There was a crew repairing the trail and hacking back the shrubbery, and with their blessings I gleefully stashed a small branch in my pack. I grew up with Bay Laurel trees in the backyard, (which seem to grow everywhere the area, especially in parks) and love to throw them into sauces for their wonderful aroma.  I also have an unruly rosemary bush and gigantic lemon tree in the yard, so these items are also fresh from the garden…

I stirred this into the pot full of sauteed red onion which resulted in a richly scented sauce, one of the best smelling aromatic events in my known universe.

stir in the white wine and reduce by half.  Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Next was a can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes which really helped in scraping all of the browned bits off the pan.  Alice says you must scrape every little bit because each one adds flavor to the sauce.  When you have done this, arrange the chicken in the pan, skin side up, adding in any juices that have collected. Pour in broth.  The liquid should reach halfway up the chicken; add more if needed.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer, then cover and cook at a bare simmer or in a 325F oven for 45 minutes. When done, pour the braising liquid into a small bowl and skim the fat. Discard the bay leaf and rosemary. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. I wanted a thicker sauce, so I pureed this in a blender.  Return to the pan and serve.

Garnish with lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

To soak up the delectable juices, you really have to serve this over rice… really.  Or pasta, or starch of your choice like crusty bread to sop up the sauce.  Honestly, I really have to put more time on the food styling part, but I’m usually way too hungry and can’t wait… 

If I do say so myself, this is pretty good.  And try this stock too, it’s better than you would expect from something that starts off looking like a hocky puck!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa July 8, 2011 at 8:22 am

That dish looks marvelous and so tasty!

Cheers,

Rosa

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Single Guy Ben July 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I don’t really have big stock pots to make chicken stock too often, so I use ready-made stock a lot. Knorr’s is a good go-to stock that stores well in the powdered form too whenever I’m desperate. The dish you made sounds good, I wish I could smell the aromatic. So did you plant that twig of bay leaves you got from Yosemite? That’d be so cool to grow bay leaves in your backyard that originally started at Yosemite!

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hungry dog July 11, 2011 at 7:11 am

Yes, this would indeed be perfect on a cold summer day…like today. I happen to have this cookbook so will make a note to try this recipe out, it sounds fantastic. Not a bad job styling either!

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rowena July 13, 2011 at 6:41 am

I tried the beef stock ones awhile back and thought they were pretty good, but old habits die hard and I always find myself reaching for the powdered or cubed stock. I would just dig into this dish as well and forget the food styling!

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Kim Curtis July 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm

This looks similar to (but better than) Better Than Bouillon, which I cannot live without.

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