Studded with chewy whole farro and slivers of fennel stalks in place of celery, this is far from your average bowl of chicken soup. (But it comforts just like any good one.) I first made this soup by happenstance (a leftover roast chicken, a forgotten fennel bulb that was supposed to go into the salad), but since then I’ve cooked fennel many times in soups. I always love its wonderful aroma and mellow anise flavor. Don’t forget to save the fronds for garnish, too!
What happens when you don’t have quite enough of that delicious roast chicken to make a sandwich, or a salad? Or if it’s become just a bit dry and could use a boost? Incorporating roast chicken into soups is a common answer. But for a little more variety, try it in a noodle dish, with or without soup. Stir-fried noodles are great for using up scraps and leftovers around the kitchen.
We’ve all been told to eat more lentils — whether it was that old saying that “They’ll make you smarter!” or modern health experts praising the power of legumes. You may have already experimented with using lentils to make terrific soups, stews, and salads, but how about a dish that more closely resembles risotto, with flavors cooked into the lentils much like rice?
Playing Iron Chef with all the scraps and leftovers you’ve compiled over a few homemade dinners is not everyone’s best talent. Shopping individually for each recipe will often leave you with a number of byproducts: half-used bunches of vegetables, carrot tops, fennel stalks, and shreds of leftover roast chicken.
Tired of mashed potatoes and gravy with your roast chicken? Here’s a classic dinner with a flavorful punch of fresh herbs — plus sweet roasted fennel and carrots, which absorb savory juices from the chicken by sharing the same pan. Believe it or not, roasting a whole chicken isn’t a chore — the time it takes can be trimmed significantly by butterflying and searing the bird first. You won’t have to worry about getting the skin crisp and golden in the oven alone.
The pasta dish pizzoccheri hails from the town of Valtellina in the Lombardy region of Italy, which shares borders with Switzerland. The alpine region has cold winters, but hardy vegetables — like potatoes and cabbage — survive them. Thus, this simple dish incorporates both, along with butter and cheese for surprisingly delicious results. Yes, potatoes and pasta really do work well together — just try it and see!
Wondering what to do about those long, fibrous stalks once you’ve used the bulb of fennel? It’s a shame that more recipes don’t incorporate them into the same dish you’re making with the bulb. But alas, if that’s your fate, then don’t “discard,” but hang onto those fennel stalks. They’re handy in many ways, especially if you’re fond of making soups or just stock.
Do you find yourself buying bunches of fresh parsley that you never seem to use up? Well, here’s a handy substitute: carrot tops. Buying carrots with the tops still on at the grocery store or farmers market will give you a two-for-one bonus — sweet carrots and flavorful tops. No joke, carrots and parsley are botanically related, and their leaves have a similarly sweet, refreshing flavor. (And should you find them, parsley roots are great for roasting or cooking much like parsnips.