Weekend Project: Freeze Chicken Stock in Ice Cube Trays

The Paupered Chef officially endorses the convenient practice.

19th Oct 2011

I, Nick Kindelsperger, wholeheartedly endorse the practice of freezing chicken stock in ice cube trays. Doing so allows one to crack them into zip-lock bags and stash them in the freezer for safe keeping. It is convenient, fairly easy to do, and downright practical (in a slightly embarrassing way). Of course, the problem with dishing out little kitchen tips and tricks like this one is that ther...

How to Make Proper Barbecue Chicken

No offense, but you're probably doing it wrong

22nd Jul 2011


There's a lot of misconception when it comes to "barbecue." The problem is the word itself. It's used as a synonym for grilling, refers to the grill itself, or to the meat being grilled; it also has a sauce named after it; and sometimes it's just the word for the party itself held outdoors in somebody's backyard. What, actually, is "barbecue"?

American purists see things a little differently....

An Opinionated Way to Roast a Chicken

What's your favorite way?

24th Jan 2011

Roast Chicken in the Oven

Having roasted many, many chickens in my cooking life, I've come to the opinion that there is no way to roast a chicken without some kind of opinion. You may get away with tossing an untrussed chicken into the oven with a shower of salt, maybe a lemon in the cavity, and calling it dinner, pretending to be as careless as possible.  But that's still an opinion. So is planning days ahead of ti...

Better Than Southern Fried Chicken?

Thailand-style fried chicken

8th Nov 2010

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The crackliest chicken you can imagine.

I caught your attention with that title, didn't I? Well, the same thing happened to me, when I stumbled on a recipe in The Atlantic.com's food section in a post about Bangkok street vendor fried chicken--the recipe for which the author cajoled from the street vendor, then scaled down for use in the kitchen. And yes, he called it better than Souther...

Serious Eats Roundup: Summer Corn, Succotash, and Sizzling Steaks

23rd Aug 2010

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Our weekly roundup of what the two of us have written over on Serious Eats.

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Chicken with Tomato-Saffron Vinaigrette with Mixed Greens
Paprika and saffron help give a vivid orange-red tinge and a round, mellow flavor to this simple summer salad.

Summer Succotash with Bacon
Lovely, lovely bacon fat and a shot of...

Under Pressure: How To Make Superb Chicken Stock In About An Hour

What if there was a method for making stock that not only dispensed with the time-consuming part, but also produced something that tasted better?

10th Jun 2010

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In practice, significantly more flavor is extracted from the meat. [...] When combined with good ingredients, these factors produce remarkable stocks in significantly less time.

-Heston Blumenthal, The Fat Duck Cookbook

I started making stock when I realized that you could stash the carcasses from roast chickens in the freezer and save them up for an empty Sunday and a few hour...

My First Mole: Rich Red Mole with Chicken

Tackling Mexico's national dish

1st Jun 2010

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You can shave truffles over a dish and call it special, but it's not; it's just expensive.
- Rick Bayless

I've been a fan of Rick Bayless since this blog started over four years ago, but it wasn't until he blurted out the above statement during the Top Chef Masters finale last year that I really figured out why. I already knew that I loved so many Mexican dishes because they balanc...

Serious Eats Roundup: Spicy, Steamed, and Braised

10th May 2010

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Our weekly roundup of what the two of us have written over on Serious Eats.

"Dinner Tonight" Column


Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti with Bottarga and Almonds
Bottarga is the secret ingredient for this incredibly simple pasta.

Merguez Sausage with Collards and Couscous
This is definitely not your usual Southern version of collard greens. H...

The Mystery of the Chicken Oyster

How to save the oyster while cutting up chicken.

24th Feb 2010

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The chicken oyster. It sounds strange. But also intriguing enough to suggest deliciousness. I've heard other people talk about this elusive piece of meat hidden somewhere on the chicken. Only smart cooks know about it, like Thomas Keller, who mentions it in his recipe for " My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken " in the Bouchon cookbook. When the chicken is done roasting, the skin golde...

Serious Eats Roundup: Curry for Beginners, Chicago''s Great Sandwich, and an Oozing Cutlet

1st Feb 2010
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Our weekly roundup of what the two of us have written over on Serious Eats.

"Dinner Tonight" Column

Quick meals to your table five days a week.

Stuffed Chicken Cutlet With Ham, Cheese, and Sauerkraut
A breaded chicken cutlet, oozing provolone cheese between a layer of ham and tangy sauerkraut. What's not to like?

Beginner Almond Shrimp Curry with Tomatoes
New to curry? Even thoug...

Experiments with Sous-Vide Chicken

Perhaps the best way to cook chicken.

18th Nov 2009

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In my opinion, the best chicken is chicken sous-vide. Each bite is tender and succulent in a way I never thought chicken could possibly be. It's kind of changed everything for me. Even the appearance of the meat is different, instead of stringy and tough, a fork can simply cut through the meat. It's enough to make anyone convert.

So for the past few weeks I've been proselytizing about the p...

Building a Better Chicken Soup

Some tricks to improve this classic soup.

7th Oct 2009

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It's cold season, and everyone's coming down with something.  Chicken soup is a nourishing potion, one that seems almost automatic even though I've never really questioned why. Most of the time this tradition involves nothing more than opening a can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup: somehow those minuscule pellets of chicken and mushy noodles are okay once your temperature is above 100.


The Importance of Jus: Two Chickens in One Meal

How the most chickeny chicken dish imaginable.

10th Aug 2009

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Every morning we would roast thirty-six chickens just for their juices, rather than for the meat...Thirty-six chicken provided enough juices for thirty portions of freshly cooked chicken. In other words, the customer had the juice of more than one whole chicken accompanying his dish...It was extreme.
- Marco Pierre White, Devil in the Kitchen

The flavor of natural roasting juices...can...

Chicken Satay

There's more than one way to grill a chicken.

14th Jul 2009

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Cooking chicken satay at a July 4th cookout is, I admit, a little odd.  It's especially so if you consider that my wife and I subjected our parents and grandparents to the ordeal.  While everyone else around the country casually flipped hamburgers and hot dogs, I rounded up everyone available to help me skewer tiny pieces of highly marinated chicken onto wooden skewers.  That marinade also...

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

The spiciest way to grill your chicken.

3rd Jun 2009

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My first bite of jerk chicken, fresh from two hours of mingling with smoke, was everything I wanted it to be.  The rub of allspice berries and black peppercorns mixed with fresh ginger and thyme and created this incredible aroma --one that I couldn't help but adore.  I was completely happy and content until quickly, and without much warning, the spice hit.  A double dose of habanero cut thr...

A Return Home: Roast Chicken with Crispy Drippings Croûtons

What Nick cooks when he feels nostalgic for simplicity.

10th Mar 2009


I think part of the reason I took a break from roast chicken was the rising absurdity of my preparations.  A few years ago I had chased after juicy meat and crispy skin, by trying various combinations of slow roasting , extreme slow roasting , experiments with baking soda , and high, high heat .  The results were often spectacular, if never quite practical.  And somewhere alo...

Wrapping Up Tamales

3rd Mar 2009


My wife has been bugging me for months now to make tamales , and it's always been the next project, the one I'll do after I finish whatever I'm doing at the moment.  When that time comes I've usually forgotten about them and have moved onto something else.  Truthfully, I didn't see much of a rush.  I love tamales, but I can indulge in them whenever I'd like around my neighborhood.  The...

New Orleans (Faraway, So Close): The Sad Tale of File Gumbo

28th May 2008


I can't remember exactly where the conversation began, or why we suddenly started talking about New Orleans, but for about 5 minutes last Friday Night I waxed poetic about the Crescent City.  My interest has been explored before , but apparently my chatter seemed especially interesting that night.  I suppose I could have been because my friend Hal had never been, and I took umbrage. ...

On Stewing Hens and Coq au Vin

16th Apr 2008


A few months ago I was wandering the poultry aisle at my food coop looking at the bewildering number of options for a roasting chicken.  As the words free-range and humane--proclaimed on every package--began to lose their meaning, I came across a pile of frozen, gangly-looking birds with their long necks still intact.  The label, announcing this new product, read “Amish stewing hens.€..

Edna Lewis''s Fried Chicken

9th Apr 2008


In the midst of deep frying chicken last week I dreamt of Loretta Lynn .  This happens only occasionally, and usually is musical in nature, but this time I had an image of her pan frying chicken in a large iron skillet.  Sure enough, I found some rather hilarious commercials of her pawning Crisco on YouTube .  How wonderful, I thought, that the amazing country singer never had...

The Ultimate Fried Chicken (Sort Of)

2nd Apr 2008


I am not sure where these urges come from, but last week I just had to have fried chicken.  For no obvious reason, I dreamt of perfectly crunchy batter and moist meat.  This was all quite odd.  I’ve got enough roast chickens stuck in my head around to keep me occupied for months.  But fried chicken?  I can't even remember the last piece of fried chicken I'd ever had.

Instead of heading over...

Turducken: Live Poultry to Culinary Grotesque to Epic Stock

25th Mar 2008


My friend Matt's email arrived in my inbox, forthright and serious.

"This coming Saturday, March 22, a turducken will be assembled and cooked in my apartment...in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn.  Beginning at about 12 or 12:30, the birds will be deboned, the stuffing will be made, and the ingredients layered and sewn up...resulting in the creation of a delicious culinary grote...

The Gateway Stock: What to Do With Leftover Roast Chicken

29th Feb 2008


As a cook, I've been rather reluctant to prepare homemade stock.  I give the usual litany of excuses: too much hassle, not enough time, not cost-effective.  I keep a little jar of Better than Bouillon in my fridge door (one chicken, one beef, one vegetable) and I've always got instant stock whenever I need it, in small quantities or large.   I don't have to worry about it going off, beca...

Crisp-Skinned Roast Chicken, via Baking Powder

6th Feb 2008

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Sometimes I can’t even follow my own train of thought.  I was buying some butcher's twine at a kitchen supply store because I figured it was time to learn how to truss a chicken.  I had skated around the issue for a year or so because Barbara Kafka had told me not to worry about it.  She said it was unnecessary and even detrimental to the cooking process.  But maybe that was just for her...

Gorgefest Saturday

Manhattan. 1 day. 9 Restaurants.

26th Nov 2007

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I hadn’t been to New York since my exodus in July and I returned with a plan.  I wasn’t going to waste any moment visiting attractions, or seeing a Broadway play.  I lived there for two years, so it felt right to walk back in and get to what I spent most of my time doing: eating.  And with the Paupered Chefs reunited for the first time in half a year, it really wasn't that hard for ou...

The Not-So-Humble Hot Brown

9th Sep 2007

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I’ve been gathering cook books by whatever method I can...and beggers usually can’t be choosers.  I borrow nearly anything I can lay my hands on.  I owe lots of money to the library.  And whenever I get to head home I usually make it out with an armful books my mom hoarded over the years ( I promise I’ll return them!).  One of those was The Louisville Courier-Journal Cookbook.  By a...

Fastest Roast Chicken

3rd Sep 2007

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I’m not sure why I never thought of this technique before.  The biggest problem I have with most of the chickens I roast is that the white and dark meat are done at different times.  It’s the great paradox of whole roasted chickens: they should probably be roasted separately.  To get the dark meat done I usually have to dry out the white, or dig into a wing when I know it probably shoul...

Hard Shell Tacos: A Reunion

22nd Aug 2007

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I eat a lot of tacos.  I keep a pack of corn tortillas around at all times.  Thanks to folks like Rick Bayless, I’ve even branched out to mushroom and swiss chard tacos, huevos rancheros, shrimp, and the granddaddy of them all, our very own Fish Tacos .  Glorious, ethereal fish tacos.

This is all rather strange coming from someone who only ate hard shell tacos for the first 16-17 years...

Tacos in a Tortilla Factory, Bushwick, Brooklyn

6th Jun 2007


Bushwick, named by the Dutch Boswijk for “town in the woods,”  is no longer a town in the woods—it is a rapidly gentrifying section of Brooklyn southeast of tragically hip Williamsburg.  Once one of the most blighted areas in town after the blackout lootings of 1977--at that time, it was characterized by empty lots, drugs, and arson, and the majority of residents who could leave, l...

How Low Can You Go?

20th Apr 2007

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I tend to get caught up on certain cook book authors, and for the past month it has been all about Heston Blumenthal. Head chef at the Fat Duck in the U.K., his cookbook In Search of Perfection has been fostering idea after crazy idea.  In a Serious Eats article, we wrote about cooking a pizza on the bottom of a cast iron skillet , to great success.  The best part is that his mad-...

Slow-Roasted Chicken

19th Feb 2007

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I realize now things have gotten out of control.  What started as a simple pursuit to find the ultimate method to roast a chicken has taken up way too much of my time.  I like to roast a chicken at least once a week.  But this is less a ritual than a weekly torture session.  Rather than repeat the same well-worn recipe that has been time-tested and approved, I try something new every singl...

A Paupered Week in Flatiron Day 3: Embarrassingly Poor

31st Jan 2007

_ Check out Day 1 to figure out why Nick is spending so much time on lunch spots in Manhattan . _


While the $5 limit I usually impose on lunch might seem low by some standards, there are times when even that is a little too high. Whether it's close to payday or after a long expensive weekend, sometimes you need to go lower.  That's when you have to dive deep into the belly of the city t...

Scaloppine Alla Marsala

3rd Jan 2007

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Happy New Year!  Those are the first words we've written in a long time here at the Paupered Chef because for all the holiday spirit, the roasts, the wine, and the interesting family rituals we could have informed you about, we decided to be lazy.  Unlike successful people, we took the break for exactly what it was, and waited until our respective families fed us until we couldn't stomach an...

On the Difficulty of Roasting a Good Chicken

5th Dec 2006

Herb_roasted_chicken_23 There's a passage in Anthony Bourdain's book of bistro recipes, Les Halles , that goes something like this: "If you can't roast a chicken, you are a sorry, incompetent idiot who should dig his own grave."  Apparently, roasting a chicken should be marvelously easy: throw salt and pepper on that bad boy, put into the oven, and out comes a crisp-skinned, succulent, juicy, hot dinner, twice as...

"Mexican" Chicken Stew: Return of the Leftovers

18th Oct 2006

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"Just use whatever leftovers are in the fridge."

That little statement is repeated endlessly throughout the course of one day on the Food Network and I'm not sure who they are trying to fool.  It's as if those celebrity chefs aren't paid enough to send an assistant to the store to pick up some tomatoes--not that they need to.  Their fantastically clean fridges come stocked with leftover t...

Atlantic Antic: Sardines, Whole Pigs, and Too Many People

19th Sep 2006

Atlantic_antic_12_1 This wasn't one of those Manhattan street fairs that blocked traffic on random weekends and offered the same tired stand of roasted corn, corn dogs, and grease laden elephant ears, block after block.  Brooklyn's Atlantic Antic (rated number one street festival by Time Out!) was as hodge podge as Atlantic Avenue always is, except now the music spilled onto the streets and so could the beer (...

School Days Friday: Chicken Nuggets Make Us Get All Political

15th Sep 2006

Library_4676 As we were pulling the dark brown breaded chicken nuggets from the bubbling pot, dropping them onto the oil-soaked paper towel to cool and drain, the whole thing struck me: this is the most unhealthy food I’ve eaten all year.  It follows: Kids eat total crap in school.  If it isn’t fried, it’s poor quality meat seasoned like crazy, processed and emulsified and water-injected and general...

Grill Week Day 3: Mexican Grilled Chicken

30th Aug 2006


Grilled chicken breasts are the obligatory un-hamburger.  They tend to grace all backyard cookouts because someone ultimately didn't want red meat.  And even though most chicken breasts lack flavor, cook unevenly, and will undoubtedly be dry, they, like burgers, can be easily pressed between two pieces of bread.  They keep the cookout rolling, but they're essentially a cop out.

So when it c...

Zuni Cafe''s Roast Chicken

The heat was intense, but this roast chicken was the best yet

8th Aug 2006

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Yeah, it's true, I did decide to roast a chicken on the hottest day of the year , much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, my neighbor Jason, and my brow which had to battle the entire evening against a downfall of sweat pouring over my forehead.  And while the hysterics of previously mentioned cocktail mistress (girlfriend) could be seen as an over-dramatization of slightly toasty dinner, s...

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Dill

14th Jun 2006


With half a chicken left and none of the dark meat in sight, I was left with two slabs of white meat and not one good idea.  Sure there are thousands of cookbooks dedicated to what to slap on boneless, skinless chicken breasts to give them some semblance of flavor, but I don't like lying to myself.  So instead of trying to figure out something creative, I decided to punt and completely d...

Chicken a la Veracruzana: Me and My $30

13th Jun 2006


I'm tapping numbers into a junky-looking ATM in the back corner of some random bodega that hugs the BQE.  It's dropping those dollar bills down, one hundred, two hundred, as I get prepared to hand over some dear cash to the broker for a beautiful new apartment in Brooklyn, when I notice that I probably shouldn't probe the machine for any more.

I have thirty dollars.

Which is all well and...

Kafka''s Herb-Roasted Chicken

How to roast a chicken at 500 degrees

4th Jun 2006

High heat has its positives and negatives, but one thing for sure is that it definitely tastes much different than whatever the Joy of Cooking will throw at you.

In fact, one of the only downsides is that this recipe is easy to the point of being rather boring.  For the busy this is a godsend, but we cooked it with some much more challenging melting potatoes , that upped the ante on the fat...

Roast Chicken: Getting Dirty With the Bird

You know exactly where it came from. This thing used to be an animal. You’ll want to name it.

18th Apr 2006


Hello, there.  The first step to perfectly roasting a chicken is to get acquainted with the subject.  At first I hid it underneath the wrapping when chopping and prepping, like I was ashamed that it might see me.  But the only way to really get the chicken to do what you want is to get personal.  You'll be shoving lemons and such inside its cavity short enough.  Don't get squeamish.