Dinner 2 - Marinated Olives, Yogurt Herb Soup, Easy Green Salad, Chicken Dumplings


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Notes

In the last year or two I’ve been trying to get more mileage out of the food I buy. Whether it’s freezing carrot and celery tops for easy soup flavoring or frying zucchini tops, there are a lot of things we tend to discard that can be used in more ways than one. Chicken is an obvious contender because it’s essentially a blank canvas waiting to painted. This dinner uses simple chicken soup and transforms it into a warming yogurt herb soup inspired by my days in Istanbul when I fell in love with cold yogurt soup in summer. You also use the chicken meat, fully flavored and tender from the soup, to make hearty chicken dumplings; something like a chicken potpie/hand pie pastry mashup of sorts.

I’d rate this meal on the intermediate level in that it’s not a super quick throw-together, but it’s also not very hard. A number of the steps can also be done a day or two ahead. This meal also introduces new ways to use a basic chicken soup, and yields quite a lot of food given that it doesn’t require too many ingredients and isn’t very expensive.

Beverage Recommendation: plenty of red wine and optional grappa/raki/digestivo with dessert.


Recipe 1 - The Olives and The Salad

INGREDIENTS

Olives
1 cup olives of choice (kalamata, picholine, etc.)
~3/4 c pickle juice*
~1/4 c olive oil
optional: 1 sliced shallot, chili flakes, herbs, 1 clove garlic

Salad
Salad greens of choice, preferably something bitter like spinach or arugula
1/3 c roasted, unsalted almonds, roughly chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a ~16oz jar or glass container, add the olives and the pickle juice. [*I used juice from some eggs I’d pickled the week before, but you can use any commercially bought pickles, sweet/sour bread and butter being best]. To that, add the olive oil to just barely cover the olives. At this point you can also add a sliced shallot, garlic, herbs (thyme, oregano, chili flake, etc.) to add more flavor to the pickle juice, as desired. Plus, they pretttty.

  2. Close and gently shake the container a few times to incorporate and set aside until ready to serve, at least one hour. This can also be done a few days ahead.

  3. When ready to serve, shake the container again and transfer the olives plus ~2/3 of the liquids into a serving bowl.

  4. For the salad, when ready to serve put your greens in the serving bowl and drizzle the remaining olive pickling/oil liquids; this is your salad dressing. Top with the almonds, add more oil or pickle juice as needed.

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Recipe 2 - The Chicken Soup

The chicken soup is very simple, and from it you’ll use the broth for the yogurt soup and the chicken for the dumplings. This can be done a day or two ahead. You can theoretically buy chicken broth or soup, or a few pieces of chicken to cook separately, but I think the flavor and tenderness of making it at home is well worth it. Plus you’ll end up with extra broth that you can freeze for a rainy day.

INGREDIENTS

3 whole chicken legs (leg + thigh attached), skin on, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 pieces celery, quartered
2 small carrots, quartered
1/2 medium yellow onion, quartered
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
olive oil, salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot on medium heat, saute the onions with a dash of olive oil and salt until translucent, ~8 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, combine and saute another ~5 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, dash of salt and pepper and olive oil, incorporate.

  2. Move the vegetables to the side of the pot to make space at the bottom of the pot. Lay the chicken pieces skin side down. Add a light dash of olive oil if needed. Brown the chicken on both sides, ~8 minutes per side. Meanwhile, bring a teapot of water to a boil.

  3. When the chicken has browned on each side, lower the heat, add the boiled water to the pot filling to ~2.5 - 3 liters of water, add the bay leaf. Using a flat wooden spatula, incorporate the ingredients, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Put the lid on the pot offset so air can escape, let simmer on low for 1.5 hours.

  4. When the soup is done, use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the 3 chicken pieces and place in a bowl. Once cool enough to touch, remove the bones and skin, reserving the meat for the dumplings.

  5. Use a colander to strain the vegetables from the broth. Reserve 3 cups of the broth for the yogurt soup. There will likely be extra broth so put the strained vegetables and extra broth in a container for another day.


Recipe 3 - The Yogurt Soup

INGREDIENTS

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 can of chickpeas or white cannellini beans (no/low sodium) plus the canning liquids
1 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
1/2 c Greek or Icelandic skyr-style whole milk plain yogurt
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp garbanzo bean flour (or AP flour if you don’t have garbanzo)
3 cups chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
optional: 1/3 c fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped and/or chili flakes, for garnish
olive oil, salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot on medium heat, saute the onions in the butter, a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper until translucent, ~8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, oregano, thyme and combine, adding a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the can of beans with the canning liquids, bay leaf, and chicken broth. Simmer on medium-low for ~15 minutes.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, egg yolk and flour.

  3. When the broth pot has simmered for 15 minutes, bring the heat down to low. Temper the yogurt mixture to prevent curdling by gently incorporating broth into the yogurt bowl, ~1/4 c of broth at a time until you’ve added 1 c. Slowly stir the hot broth into the yogurt mixture with a spoon so you can gradually bring the yogurt mixture temperature up. Once you’ve added 1 c of broth into the yogurt, pour the warmed yogurt mixture into the broth pot and combine. Simmer on low for ~5 minutes. Serve or keep in the pot and warm again when ready to serve.

  4. When serving, add the lemon juice to the soup and any garnish (olive oil, chili flake, mint, etc.)

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Recipe 4 - The Chicken Dumplings

Ok, these are a bit labor-intensive. If you don’t want to make the shapes I did, a simple square or circular hand-pie will do just fine!

INGREDIENTS

For the pastry
1 3/4 c AP flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Greek raki (NOT ouzo), or alternatively white vinegar or soda water
1 stick unsalted butter, very cold
~1/2 c cold water
1 egg, lightly beaten for the egg wash

For the filling
Meat from 3 whole chicken legs
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp allspice
1/2 c almond milk (or regular milk)
olive oil, salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

For the pastry

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using a box grater, grate the cold butter and add to the flour. Stir in the oil, raki (or vinegar, or soda water), and half of the cold water, and gently combine with a spoon. Using your hands, start to combine the dough. Be gentle, this doesn’t need to be overworked and you don’t want to warm the butter. Add the remaining water as you go until the dough just comes together. The dough will be crumbly and a bit dry, that’s ok! Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

For the filling

  1. In a large pan on medium heat, saute the onions with a dash of olive oil and salt until translucent, ~8 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, combine and saute another ~5 - 7 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, allspice, dash of salt, pepper and olive oil, incorporate.

  2. Bring the temperature down to low, add the chicken meat and milk, cooking for ~3 minutes. The chicken should be very tender and you can use your spoon to roughly shred it as you combine everything. I prefer to use almond milk because there’s no tempering, but if you use regular milk just have it at room temperature. Set aside.

Making the dumplings (see images below)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. On a large surface where you’ll roll the dough out, cover with plastic wrap if possible. I do this by wrapping my dining table over and under with the plastic wrap roll. I cover my rolling surface with plastic wrap only because it makes clean up VERY EASY. It’s certainly not required.

  2. You’ll need a rolling pin and more flour for dusting. Cut the dough into four equal parts. Roll each one out into a circle, ~6in in diameter. Flour each as you roll and stack them. When you’ve rolled out all four, flour very well between each dough sheet again. Gently roll them out stacked atop each other until they’re ~12+ in diameter. Be sure to check periodically as you roll, flouring more if needed, otherwise they will to stick to each other! Alternatively you can roll each sheet individually. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect circles or get ripped or tattered at the edges, it’s a delicate dough.

  3. To assemble, place a quarter of the chicken mixture in the center of a dough sheet and gently gather the dough from the edges, bringing them in towards the center in a circular motion, like a dumpling. Holding the gathered dough with one hand, gently use your hands to pick up the dough from the middle, and then cup the filling from the bottom to settle the filling at the bottom like a sack. From the middle gently twist the dough just slightly and let the excess dough that was gathered at the top fan out and fall over the filled portion. See images below.

  4. Place the dumplings on a baking sheet lined with parchment and brush with simple egg wash. Bake for ~25 minutes until golden brown on top, rotating the baking sheet half way through.

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Recipe 4 - Dessert

After a big meal my go-to, default dessert is always a bowl of chilled seasonal fruit and some chocolate bars. EASY. Grappa, raki or digestivo of choice optional.

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