Boiled peanuts

Somewhere over the course of my childhood, I developed a taste for boiled peanuts. Maybe it was that year I lived in Georgia as a toddler, or maybe it was that southern neighbor of ours in Massachusetts. Regardless, I still crave boiled peanuts to this very day and dream about them far more than I care to admit. They’re like a cross between chick peas and roasted chestnuts, bean-like but also decidedly peanutty. I call them “redneck edamame“. When cooked properly, they have a wonderful soft and slightly chewy texture. I freaking love the things. Most other people I know, however, don’t.

Skip to the short version

” There are a number of redneck activities you can occupy yourself with while you wait “

I’m not going to lie to you. If you’re curious whether or not you will like boiled peanuts, you probably won’t. I only know a handful of people who like them, myself included. Many of these people herald from India, where I am told boiled peanuts are a relatively common street food. Aside from that, I know one Texan who likes boiled peanuts and three or four folks from the Carolinas who grew up eating them. Everybody else I know, my Texan wife included, think that boiled peanuts are all kinds of icky.

There. That concludes my disclaimer. If you make this recipe and decide that you hate boiled peanuts, you have only yourself to blame. Now that we’ve weeded out all the wimps, let’s get cooking!

Who wants to make a peanut angel with me?

Who wants to make a peanut angel with me?


Ingredients

  • 2 lbs raw peanuts
  • 1-2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup table salt (or 1 cup Kosher salt)


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a crock pot or large stock pot
  • something to do for twelve hours


Directions

If it wasn’t so tricky to find raw peanuts, this would pretty much be the world’s easiest ingredient list. Raw peanuts usually start showing up at my local farmer’s market in late September and disappear again in December. You can also find them at Asian markets and/or in any decent-sized Chinatown. Once you finally locate some raw peanuts, buy a pile of them. I usually get two pounds at a time because that’s what will fit in my crock pot.

Be sure to wash your n... uhm... I mean produce. Be sure to wash your produce.

Be sure to wash your n… uhm… I mean produce. Be sure to wash your produce.

Take that lovely pile of peanuts and wash the bejiminy out of them. Peanuts grow in dirt. Nobody likes eating dirt. Wash harder. When the rinse water runs clear, the peanuts are about as clean as you can get them.

The general idea at this point is to simmer the peanuts all day long in salty water, which can be accomplished in a number of different ways. A pot on the stovetop works just fine, but I prefer using a slow cooker. Dump the peanuts into whatever cooking thingy you choose, cover with water, and add the salt. Bring the resulting brine water to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about eight to ten hours. If you’re using a crock pot, set the selector to ‘high’ and let it go for about twelve hours.

The salt ratio is a tricky thing to get correct, partly because everybody prefers slightly different amounts of salt, but also because the amount of water you need varies depending on the shape of your cooking vessel. The best advice I can give is to wait until the brine water is simmering and then taste a tiny spoonful of it. It should be salty but not repulsive, say a little bit less salty than ocean water. However salty the brine tastes is how salty the peanuts will be. Adjust the salt and water ratios accordingly, but do it early and do it ONLY ONCE.

Everyone in the pool!

Everyone in the pool!

So, how do you know when the peanuts are done? Well… uh… They certainly shouldn’t be crunchy at all, that’s for sure. If they crunch, they need to cook another few hours at least. They also shouldn’t be über-mushy, but rather somewhere halfway in between. It’s worth noting that you should not be alarmed at the apparent blandness of the peanuts as you taste test them. In my experience, the salt only seems to work its way into the nuts during the last 10% of the cook time or so. I have ruined more than one batch of boiled peanuts by panicking and adding more salt at the last minute, only to have the batch turn out lip-puckeringly over-brined. Don’t be a me.

There are a number of redneck activities you can occupy yourself with while you wait the twelve-ish hours it takes your peanuts to become boiled. You can build a potato gun, watch reruns of Honey Boo Boo, make a hammock out of duct tape, or go mattress surfing. When you’ve finished cleaning the mud out of your hair and replacing any teeth you’ve lost, you’re ready to enjoy a true redneck delicacy.

Note: If you like boiled peanuts and you’re not a redneck, I have probably just offended you. Stop being so sensitive.

I sure do love me some boiled peanuts.

I sure do love me some boiled peanuts.

Remove the peanuts from the brine and eat them hot. Delish! Whatever’s leftover will keep for about a week in the fridge, or many months in the freezer. If you’ve discovered that you do indeed like boiled peanuts, you might also want to try Cajun style. Throw a couple bags of Zatarain’s Crab Boil seasoning in the brine along with a jar of pickled jalapeños, juice and all, and you’re good to go.




tl;dr

Boiled peanuts

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs raw peanuts
  • 1-2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup table salt (or 1 cup Kosher salt)


Other stuff you’ll need

  • a crock pot


Directions

Wash peanuts thoroughly in cold water and place in crock pot. Cover with water, add salt, and cook on high for 12 hours. For Cajun style, add two bags of Zatarain’s Crab Boil and a jar of pickled jalapenos to the brine mixture.



See also


Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.


Slow cooker chicken stock

There are a lot of reasons to make your own chicken stock. Maybe you’re a cheapskate, or maybe you prefer the taste of homemade stock to the canned stuff. Perhaps you simply enjoy tinkering in the kitchen and making a mess. Why do I make my own stock? For one, I can’t stand the idea of throwing away perfectly good leftover chicken parts. There’s a lot of flavor lurking in a roast chicken carcass, and I feel like it’s worth the effort to coax it out.

Skip to the short version

” Use it straight up for full frontal chicken intensity “

Technically “broth” is made using meat and “stock” is made using bones, but I’ve always used the word “stock” because it makes me sound more like I know what I’m talking about… which may or may not be true. There are quite a lot of different ways to make this stuff, but this is the recipe I like best. It’s dead easy and it turns out great-tasting results.

You can use stock for an extra flavor boost when making rice, and it’s great for steaming vegetables. Stock is perfect for deglazing pans, making all manner of gravies and sauces, and of course it’s a core ingredient of soup. Polenta made with chicken stock is miles better than its boring water-based cousin. The list goes on and on. Intrigued? Good, let’s start cooking.

A handful of leftover ingredients is all you really need.

A handful of leftover ingredients is all you really need.


Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 chicken carcasses (or a bunch of leftover parts), lightly killed
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)


Directions

Ok, first step. Go to the store, buy a rotisserie chicken, eat it, and save the bones, skin, and other unpleasant parts. Do this twice. You should now have more or less the requisite amount of carcass bits to move forward with this recipe. If you like to roast your own chickens, and you really should, this first step will be even easier. At the risk of stating the obvious, all of your chicken should already be cooked. Also, do not – I repeat, do NOT – use giblets when making chicken stock. You know those nasty little bags of bird guts that are stuffed inside whole, raw chickens? Those are giblets. I’m sure there’s someone out there that enjoys the flavor of boiled organs, but it’s not me. Save yourself from the horror and shame of accidentally making liver soup and skip the giblets.

Hot Tip: Keep a couple of gallon ziplock bags in your freezer – one for chicken carcasses and one for veggies. Save all those carrot tops, celery ends, and unused onion layers and stick them in the freezer instead of throwing them away; do the same with various chicken parts. Not only will you waste less food, but you’ll always have stock-making supplies on hand.

The next step is pretty easy. Take all of the ingredients listed above, frozen or otherwise, and throw them into your slow cooker. If you have a smaller slow cooker and don’t think everything will fit, just halve the recipe. There’s no particular need to cut up the vegetables, but if you prefer you can give everything a coarse chop before tossing it in. You should ideally have enough chicken parts to fill your slow cooker completely. Fill with water up to about 1″ below the rim of the cooker, put the lid on, set it to ‘low’, and leave it alone for 24 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can cook it on ‘high’ for 12 hours instead.

All cooked. We're on the verge of chicken stock greatness here.

All cooked. We’re on the verge of chicken stock greatness here.

Your stock is all done and it should smell of delicious chickeny goodness. Now, in whatever way seems best to you, separate the bones and other remaining solid stuff from the liquids. I like to dump the whole mess into a large, fine-mesh metal strainer and catch the liquid in a large bowl, but you can also use a slotted spoon or collander or whatever you have handy. Throw away the solids, step back, and admire the deep, rich color of the homemade chicken stock that has magically appeared in your kitchen.

If you own a fat separator, now is a good time to use it.

If you own a fat separator, now is a good time to use it.

Now it’s time to store all that dandy chicken tea you’ve just brewed up. There are a number of different ways to tackle this, but my favorite method is to pour 2-cup portions of the stock into quart freezer bags and freeze them while laying flat. Once frozen, they will stack neatly on a freezer shelf, ready for use. For convenience, I also like to fill a couple of ice cube trays. One frozen cube of stock is exactly 2 tbsp; it’s quick, neat, and easy to measure out exactly what you want when the need arises.

Great for cooking, not recommended for cocktails.

Great for cooking, not recommended for cocktails.

And that’s it! You’ll find that your scratch made stock is 3.7 times chicken-y-ier than store-bought.* You can use it straight up for full frontal chicken intensity, or cut it 1:1 with water to bring it down to the level of stock mere mortals are accustomed to. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back, enjoy a tasty beverage, and brag to your friends about how awesome you are.

*Measurements of chicken intensity are approximate and intended only to serve as a vague reference point to lend credibility to this blog post. There is also no scientifically proven method to debunk the aforementioned chicken intensity claims, so if you were thinking of doing so, I say to you: Neener neener.

Not a bad day's work.

Not a bad day’s work.




tl;dr

Slow cooker chicken stock

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 chicken carcasses
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)


Directions

Fill crock pot with chicken carcass parts. Rough cut vegetables and add to crock pot with other ingredients. Cover with water and cook for 24 hours on low. Separate bones and other solids from stock and discard. Refrigerate or freeze stock when cooled.



See also


Standard Recipe Disclaimer
I don’t come up with a lot of my own recipes (unless you count my own personal milk-to-Grape-Nuts ratio), and chances are the recipe posted above belongs to or was inspired by a person other than me. So if you’re wondering whether or not I ripped somebody off, I probably did. Don’t get out the pitchforks and torches just yet though! I want to make absolutely sure I give credit where it’s due, so if you think someone deserves recognition for something that I haven’t already called out FOR CRYING OUT LOUD LET ME KNOW. Thanks, I appreciate it. Here’s a cookie.