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Posts Tagged ‘sesame dressing’

With the weather getting really cold here in Chicago already, my mind starts to go towards stews, braises, and soups. Being Jewish, a good chicken soup with matza balls is always a winner (at least the way I make it), but I wanted to do something different. Since my mom lives in Mexico I thought I’d make a Mexican-Jewish soup. I made a relatively classic chicken pozole verde but dropped some matza balls in the soup instead of tortilla chips. 

Most of the recipes I found online used a combination of store-bought chicken broth and water with chicken breasts. Making a simple chicken broth is really easy so I opted to use plain water and chicken thighs. Dark meat has much more flavor than white meat and I never use breasts when making a soup. What I did was bring 10 cups of water to a boil and then put 2 pounds of skin-on bone-in chicken thighs in. Once it came back up to a boil I turned the heat down to medium and let it simmer for about an hour. Every 10 minutes or so I skimmed the surface to remove the muck and some of the excess fat. Once I had gotten all of the chicken flavor into the broth I removed the chicken, took off the skin and bones, and shredded the meat. I set the meat aside while I prepared the verde part of the soup.

The verde part is really just a simple salsa verde, much like you’d be served at a taqueria with chips. I used 1 pound of tomatillos, 2 poblanos, 2 jalapenos, 5 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup of cilantro, 1 small onion, and 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. I gave everything a rough chop and tossed it into my processor. I processed it into a smooth salsa and added a ladle of the broth to make sure everything mixed nicely.

I heated up a soup pan and poured in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and then added the verde. As you can see from this picture it started off a nice bright green. About 10-15 minutes later with occasional stirring…

…you can see it took on a much more drab color. That’s what you want in order to get rid of the raw flavors of the garlic and jalapeno and whatnot. Then I poured it into the broth and made the matza balls.

The last time I made matza balls my mom called me out for using matza ball mix. So, this time I did it from scratch. Honestly, there really isn’t much difference. I used 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of matza meal, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and some cracked black pepper to taste. I mixed everything thoroughly in a glass bowl, added about 4 tablespoons of cold water and mixed that in, then covered the bowl and threw it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

Then I got the accoutrements ready for the soup. I got out the shredded chicken, 3 radishes thinly sliced, 1 avocado, a 28 ounce can of hominy drained and rinsed, and a large handful of watercress chopped. I added the chicken and hominy to the soup and slowly brought it back up to a low boil while the rest of the ingredients stood aside and waited their turn.

When the soup was at a low boil I got the matza ball mix out and turned it into matza balls. With moist hands I rolled out balls about the size of silver dollars and dropped them in the soup. A lot of people cook theirs in plain boiling water and then add them to the soup. I’ll never understand why as that prevents them from absorbing the broth’s flavor. I want tasty balls! Once my balls were all swimming in the soup I covered it up and let them cook for about 30 minutes.

For a side I just made a simple tomato and watercress salad. I quartered a bunch of cherry tomatoes, laid them on a bed of watercress, and drizzled some sesame dressing on top.

To garnish the soup I added the sliced radish, the watercress, I diced the avocado, and squeezed some lime juice in.

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The other night Yuki and I cooked together. We made one of my favorites, chicken hijiki rice, along with some vegetables that we needed to use up.

Making the rice is easy as can be. We used 1.5 tablespoons of dried hijiki seaweed, 4 shiitake sliced, 1 carrot sliced in half moons, and 1/2 pound of skinless chicken thighs. While I rinsed off 2 cups of rice and cut up the vegetables Yuki cut up the chicken and quickly sauteed it in sesame oil. After filling the rice cooker with the proper amount of water for 2 cups of rice I put the hijiki in and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then we tossed everything else in, turned on the cooker, and let it go.

I made a sesame dressing for some pea pods that were in our fridge. I used 1 tablespoon of miso paste, a pinch of sugar, 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1/2 tablespoon of mirin.

I toasted the sesame seeds in a dry skillet for a few minutes until they turned a golden brown and started to give off their fragrance. Then I ground them with my pestle and mortar. I added the rest of the ingredients, mixed them all together, and set it aside. I simply steamed the pea pods for about 4 minutes when the rice was ready. Then I tossed them with the sesame dressing.

We also had some chikuwa and 1/2 a zucchini to use up. Chikuwa are tubular, hollow fish cakes that have been baked or grilled. I sliced the zucchini into long sticks and stuffed the chikuwa with them. Once the rice was ready and the pea pods steaming I just put them in the toaster oven and toasted them for about 6 minutes. I drizzled them with the sesame dressing as well.

While I was doing that Yuki made some miso soup. I didn’t watch her make it, but she put in it sliced onion and wakame.

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