Good Stuff

by Celia Hayes

My daughter and I did our foodstuff stocking up this last weekend, including a run out to Granzin's in New Braunfels. Alas, we were disappointed in our intent to purchase a large quantity of beef bones to make home-made beef broth out of, and then to give to the dogs for their chewing pleasure. Their stock of bones in the back room was much reduced by demand, I guess. We should have gone up during the week, as we have on previous occasions. No good meaty beef bones this trip! But I still have a sufficient quantity of the last batch for my various cooking purposes, so ... never mind. It's all quite simple, actually; spread out the fresh bones in a single layer in a pan – or several, if necessary – with a quartered onion or two and roast in a 350° oven until the remaining meat and fat and the bones themselves are nicely brown. This should take a couple of hours – then put the bones and onions into a stock pot or Dutch oven with a tablespoon or two of whole peppercorns, cover with water – filtered or distilled if you are really hard-core about it, cover and simmer gently overnight. Strain the resulting broth, which should be a lovely dark-brown color and incredibly rich in taste, into one and two-cup capacity containers, discard the onion debris, and save the bones for the dogs. They will appreciate it no end. Ours do, anyway. The containers go into the freezer – labeled, of course – and make the basis for any kind of soup imaginable.

The other simple cooking hack that I have worked out this summer, is the recipe for HEB's BBQ chicken salad. They make it from their own rotisseried chickens, but it is which is absolutely divine when made with the leftovers from a whole rotisserie or BBQ chicken from the Riverside Market in Boerne – one of our favorite sources for rotisserie and BBQ chicken. Take the meat from half a rotisserie or BBQ chicken – or the leftovers from same – off the bones, chop the meat coarsely and mix with two stalks of celery – also chopped, and half of a small onion, or a couple of green onions, likewise chopped.

In another small bowl, mix 3/4th a cup of good mayonnaise – we favor Duke brand – with ½ teaspoon each paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder, 1 teaspoon tabasco sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Combine with the chicken, celery and onion, and let chill for an hour or so. It is divine, served on good sourdough bread, or even on a split Kaiser roll.

The BBQ chicken salad is very good served with roast corn on the cob; and the hack for that is also amazingly simple; just peel back the husks from fresh corn on the cob, remove the silk, and then fold the husks back over the corn. Tie the ends of the husk together with a length of husk or a piece of cooking string, and soak the whole thing in water to cover for half an hour. Then drain, and lay out the whole husks on the BBQ grill, along the side. The outer husks will char and burn a bit, but the corn itself will steam ... and it will be awesome.