Waste. It’s a bit of a dirty secret in hospitality, we make beautiful things that make people really happy but there's typically lots of bits that just never make it to plates. It’s the same at many homes, perhaps worse, so many cooks just don’t know what to do with leftovers, apart from having *the same* as last night.
My 2018 home solution is broth. Sundays typically mean a chicken broth on the back of the stove, simple stuff, lots of carcasses and necks, and other bits from the crisper, fennel stalks, leek tops, forgotten herbs and lots, lots of great salt. This broth cooks for most of the day, is sieved and then used throughout the week in various guises, but my family’s current favourite is variations on this broth.
I slice and dice randoms from the fridge, dreaming up combos that would make great sandwiches or salads, soft, firm, crunchy and tangy bits. Pile them into a bowl and pour the boiling broth on top. Simple. This soup was made from roast chook leftovers, warmed by hot broth, finished with pesto made from summers excess basil, the key final ingredient is excellent local olive oil.
Sunday’s Chicken Broth
Stockpot full of chicken bones, half carcasses, half necks
Aromatics such as onion, garlic, fennel, leek, ginger, whatever you may have
Good salt, Murray River or Mount Zero are both in my pantry, I’m also dabbling lately with Phycosalt which has Aussie seaweeds blended into it.
Simmer for 6 hours, don’t be too fussy, skim it if you must. Sieve and pick out the leftover neck meat and parson’s noses for the cat.
Arrange in a deep bowl spoon size pieces of leftover bits and pieces that you will enjoy together, chopped but straight from the fridge.
I used for this soup. Pretty rows of;
Chicken breast (we prefer roast legs, and always have leftover breasts from a whole chook) topped with spoons of the pesto
Jerusalem artichokes, roasted then sliced
Fennel, roasted then sliced
Broccoli, stalks and all, sliced thinly, blanched in the heating broth
Peas, who doesn’t have frozen peas in the freezer?!
Chickpeas, I cooked them in the broth as it heated (I keep soaked but uncooked chickpeas in the freezer, they then can be cooked in 20 minutes)
At the end I stir through the boiling broth with some proper free range eggs that have been broken up with a fork, stirred through the boiling broth in the last 10 seconds
Finish with parmesan, grated fine so it melts into the broth and lots of local Mount Zero extra virgin olive oil
Add some thick cut, buttered bread, to dunk if that's your thing or some chilli that I forgot to add earlier.
Jackie Middleton is director and co-founder of sandwich and salad eatery EARL Canteen, which now has seven locations across Melbourne CBD. You can follow Jackie on Instagram @eatingwithjack or @earlcanteenmel