lemon

A baking tray filled with uncooked pasta with lemon, leeks, olives and herbs.

Leek and Lemon Pasta Bake

Pasta is a staple in my pantry. I like to have it available in all shapes and sizes. On a harried day, I like to throw pasta into a pot of water. In less than 30 minutes, I have a meal. Meal planning is easier with pasta as an option The Leek and Lemon Pasta Bake is not one of my emergency meals. It is one of my meal plan option.

CONTINUE
A glass container filled with chicken broth and surrounded by celery, thyme, rosemary and lemon

Omi Eran

A glass container filled with chicken broth and surrounded by celery, thyme, rosemary and lemon

I once put up a picture of my pot of chicken broth coming to life on my personal Instagram account. One of my friends asked jokingly what I was doing. You see, in the Nigerian kitchen, chicken broth is not something we intentionally make. Broth is often the result of braising meat for consumption. So, I feel almost silly writing this recipe on how to make chicken broth.

In Yoruba Language, Omi Eran is what we call stock or broth. It literally translates to the juice of the meat.

My knowledge of Nigerian food is based on my heritage as a Yoruba woman. This caveat is important because Nigeria, as a country, is an amalgamation of many rich cultures that have many different traditions. These traditions converge and often times, they diverge. Even when the Yoruba heritage, many different tribes have their perspective on food. My knowledge of food is based on my heritage as a Yoruba woman who grew up in Lagos. My food is rooted in my mother’s Abeokuta lineage and watching the Cooking Channel obsessively.

A glass of green smoothie made with chicken broth with avocado and lemon
One of my favorite things to have in the morning is a warm smoothie. The recipe for this green smoothie is on my Instagram page. You can follow me here.

The intersection between what is mine to claim within my culture and that I have gleaned from a foreign culture is what makes my food interesting. It is what makes my chicken broth interesting. I have often seen food bloggers talk about how to make chicken broth. Many recipes focus on wringing out the essence of the chicken bones.

I view chicken broth as more than just the essence of chicken. For me, making chicken broth is about creating a flavor base that saves times. In writing this recipe on how to make chicken broth, I am really telling you one of the ways I bring flavor into my kitchen. A cup of my homemade chicken broth already is well balanced with different herbs and spices so that when I use it, I can worry less about building a flavor profile.

A glass container filled with chicken broth and surrounded by celery, thyme, rosemary and lemon

Here is the truth about my daily cooking, it is very unfussy. I am often short on time but long on hunger when I get into this kitchen. This means I want something quick that is not bland. Having homemade chicken broth stored in my freezer allows me to cut down on time when I am making things like soups. My chicken broth also makes cooking whole grains like brown rice and quinoa much more pleasurable.

One thing I will say about how I make chicken broth is that I want to have as a versatile brew. This means I stay away from strong herbs and lots of spices. So, although I am a big fan of cumin and rosemary, I prefer to avoid them because it is hard to build other flavors on them. I tend to reach for the more thyme, celery, leek and onions in my broth. This combination produces a broth that is beautiful in color, tasty in the mouth and easy to use when cooking.

The goal this week is to show you ways that I use this chicken broth so that you are inspired enough to make it.

Chicken Broth

An easy recipe for making chicken broth at home. This chicken broth is great because it is a flavor base that makes other meals are quick.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Author: Sinmi

Ingredients

  • 3 Pounds Chicken Bones
  • 1 Onion (large)
  • 1 Leek (large)
  • 2 Garlic bulbs
  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 inches Ginger
  • 6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme or 1 tbsp of dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp Parsley
  • 1 Lemon

Instructions

  • This step is optional. I like to brown off the chicken bones before I use them. The browning of the bones allows the fat on the bones to rendered off in a pan. I collect this fat for roasting vegetables and other recipes
  • The vegetables in this broth don’t have to be finely cut. The onion, garlic and ginger and lemon can be halved. I cut the carrots and leeks into chunks. Also, note that  I often only use the green bits of the leek for making broth.
  • Arrange the vegetables, herbs and chicken bones in a large stockpot. I usually cook mine in 4.5-quart pot pan. Arrange the vegetables and chicken bones in the pot, and fill up with water. Then bring up to a boil.
  • Once the water in the pot is boiling, I turn down the heat to a simmer, and then I start the clock.  I’ll usually let the broth simmer for about an hour after it comes to a boil. Let it cool down completely before attempting to strain out the liquid.
  • If you have a bit of fat floating on top, this can be captured by putting the broth in the freeze let fat solidify. Then the solid fat can be picked off the broth. I usually don’t have this issue since I render the fat off before making the broth
A loaf of lemon poppy seed cake decorated with slices of lemon and thyme buds with dripping frosting on a white plate

Cleaning Up the Pantry

A cut loaf of lemon poppy seed cake decorated with slices of lemon and thyme buds with dripping frosting on a white plate

There is a theme emerging in my life at the moment. Food waste, and how to reduce it, has become a big thing for me. I am trying to use what I have on hand instead of continually shopping for food. This Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Thyme is a result of my attitude adjustment.

I live in a house with four other girls. As someone who loves food so much, I have managed to wrangle a more than massive amount of storage for my food and kitchen equipment. I have always known that I own a lot of food and things. Undertaking the project of organizing my personal pantry this week blew away my expectations.

It has always been clear to me that in order to manage my money, I have to manage my food budget. As someone who has survived an eating disorder, I get nervous when it comes to placing any form of boundaries around food. This has been the justification for shopping without controls for years. My free all approach means I am constantly buying more food than I can eat and throwing things out. Or I just forget that I own food. I decided to make Lemon Poppy Seed cake with Thyme because I discovered that I had an unopened jar of poppy seed in my stash.

A loaf of lemon poppy seed cake decorated with slices of lemon and thyme buds with dripping frosting on a white plate

The poppy seed jar was an impulsive purchase from sale. I just assumed I would find a use for it. That was about a year ago. Physically going through the pantry, and seeing what I had on hand, has made me realize I need to shop way less. For the next few weeks, I am committing to eating what I have already; in the pantry, fridge and freezer. It all has to go.

The recipe for the Lemon Poppy Seed cake with Thyme came from the Bake From Scratch. The only amendment I made was to half the recipe. I didn’t need two loaves of cakes in my house. The batter was pretty easy to put together especially since I used a Standing Mixer. I didn’t get the sense that this was finicky in any way. It almost felt like I was making a pound cake with some flavoring added.

I have had the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Thyme for past couple of days and I am impressed with the texture. My daily slice has been consistently moist. It has been a great accompaniment with my morning cup of tea. Although, I have had to stop that because I really try not to start the day eating sweets. I feel like it makes the rest of the day turn into a massive sugar rave.

Do you have any emerging theme for 2019?