East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Peas and queues

What to do with most of a chicken left over? I could nibble away at it for a couple of days, but that would only be moderately fun. Plus I saved some of the broth, and felt obliged to do something with it. Soup came to mind -- but what kind?

Chicken with cheese is looked down upon by many people, but I suspect they're just not using good enough cheese. A moderate amount of a nice, pungent cheese should neatly complement chicken. So I went off to Berkeley's temple for turophiles, the Cheese Board.

I drew the five of diamonds. I really don't understand the Cheese Board queueing system -- all I can work out is that if you get the Joker, you'll be served next; otherwise you'll be waiting a while. Once someone does deign to serve you, the service is excellent. I tried an exquisite Roquefort, but I can't afford twenty-something bucks a pound, and certainly not for something I was going to throw in a soup. I bought instead what the counter guy called "the poor man's Roquefort", Bleu d'Auvergne. It's a raw cow's milk cheese with some bite to it, just not as much as Roquefort. I also got some Morbier which I'm looking forward to getting into tomorrow.

Cheese & peas & leftover chicken soup
  • 2-3 middle bits of spring onions (yay, spring onions are back)
  • Olive oil
  • 1.5 cups leftover broth, hopefully with detectable alcohol content
  • Thyme
  • 8 oz peas (frozen will do)
  • 1 leftover chicken breast, cut into half-inch cubes
  • 3-4 oz Bleu d'Auvergne
  • Pepper
By "middle bits" I mean cut off the bulbs, which can be put to better use, and the parts of the green tops that are tasteless. You'll have the main stem with a little light green at the top. Peel off the outermost layer, wash and slice. In a saucepan, gently saute the onion for 3-4 minutes. Add the broth, plus thyme to taste. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Throw in the peas, simmer for 5 more minutes. In most pea soups, you'll end up blending everything, but (i) the taste of the peas will get lost in the cheese, and (ii) my blender sucks. I chose to keep my peas intact instead of trying to mash them; your preference may vary.

Drop in the chicken chunks and raise the heat a little. Gradually stir in the Bleu until you reach your desired level of cheesiness; I used 3 ounces. After the chicken's been in for ten minutes, stir in pepper to taste (you shouldn't need salt) and you're done.

Results

The peas were way overcooked. If you're not going to blend, put the peas in at the same time as the chicken, or later.

The chicken was superfluous. There wasn't much chicken taste, and I suspect this was a problem yesterday: I overlooked it in my rapture over the juiciness. That's what you get for using a four buck chicken. On the plus side: still pretty juicy.

The cheese was well-chosen. While distinctive, it was willing to work with the other ingredients. If the chicken breast had been dry-cooked by itself it would've been excellent, but that wasn't the concept, was it? Only the spring onions stepped up, which is kinda exciting since I still have the bulbs. To grill or to pickle?

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1 Comments:

  • At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Lightman said…

    Bleu d'Auvergne does not look like Roquefort... it's a drier cheese. Roquefort is also stronger... These are two different cheeses. Bleu d'Auvergne is a cow milk, Roquefort is not...
    It's a matter of taste, not a matter of quality :-)

    If you're interested in Auvergne products, you can find some on testadaz.com (included Bleu d'Auvergne), provided you speak french : we did not have time to translate it in english yet.

     

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