Hotpot for a cold day

10 Jun

The season may decree it’s summer but the weather says otherwise.  In our part of the Pacific Northwest, we’ve seldom seen the sun these last few weeks.  Have we done something to anger the weather gods, ahem, Mother Nature?  Hmm… where to begin…

How does one make the most of cold, gray days?  Ah yes, a good book and a steaming cup of tea.  And for dinner, Cocido.  Nothing beats a meat and vegetable soup on days like the ones we’ve been experiencing.

So into the stockpot went chicken breasts and hot Italian sausages (use mild if you’re sensitive to spicy foods), which I seasoned with salt and pepper, and then added enough water to cover everything.  Slow cooking on low heat is key, thus allow everything to simmer.  Don’t let the stock boil lest you want the sausages to burst. 

When both the chicken pieces and sausages are cooked, take them out of the stock.  What you now have is a nice, slightly spicy stock (thanks to the hot Italian sausage) to which you can add leafy vegetables and legume or root vegetable of your choice.  Cabbage and potatoes are great.  But we didn’t have any so I used chard and garbanzo beans.  As the vegetable and legume simmered, I added a dash of salt. 

After the vegetables have cooked, take them out.  The next step is optional.  If you’re a huge noodle fan like I am, take advantage of the stock and make a noodle soup.  I prefer vermicelli for this dish but I don’t see why you can’t use your favorite noodles.

Voila!  A hot pot meal!

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