Leftover roast chicken breast saves step at stove

The real payoff of roasting a whole chicken comes in the days to follow, maybe as much as a week later.

Although my family of four consumes more than half the bird in the initial sitting, I can count on at least one more meal consisting of chunks from the breast, plus a vegetable- or starch-heavy meal incorporating whatever tidbits I can prize from the chicken’s nether regions. Then it’s into the stockpot for either quick or slow-cooked soup, not to the mention the subsequent meal infused with chicken flavor from several cups of homemade stock.

Chicken breast roasted with its bones intact, under the blanket of its succulent skin is far superior, in my opinion, to starting a recipe with raw, boneless, skinless breast meat, which I almost never buy. So when I do have breast meat left over from a roast chicken, extolled in this blog’s previous post, I plan to use it in recipes calling for boneless, skinless breast. The substitution saves me a step at the stove and a bit of time.

Here’s an example in that genre, similar to what I planned with leftover cooked chicken and cooked pasta. Or start this one from scratch on a night when that satisfying combination of noodles, sauce, meat and vegetables is in order. Once it’s popped into the oven, I’ll concede to calling it a casserole, courtesy of the Kansas City Star.

Tribune News Service photo

Cheesy Spaghetti Chicken Casserole

8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

4 ounces button mushrooms, sliced thin

2 cups frozen broccoli florets

2 tablespoons butter

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups low-fat, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups low-fat milk

1/2 teaspoon dried or rubbed sage leaves

2 tablespoons brandy or Marsala (optional)

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 2-quart oblong baking dish (about 11-by-7 inches) with nonstick spray; set aside.

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Do not overcook; drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is browned and fully cooked, for about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken and set aside. Add the onion, mushrooms and broccoli to skillet.

Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Add the butter to skillet and melt. Stir in the flour, blending until smooth and continue to cook, stirring continuously, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, milk, sage and brandy and stir until mixture is smooth and comes to a simmer. Add chicken and vegetables to sauce.

Toss with the Swiss cheese and spaghetti. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese.

Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until slightly browned and bubbly. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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Spiced dried fruit dresses up plain roast chicken

Roast chicken is a meal that my family enjoys fairly often, particularly when I can find an organic bird on sale.

Those little fluorescent orange tags are my main quarry in the meat section at Medford’s Food 4 Less. They proliferate the closer an item is to its “use by” date and according to its price tag: $1, $2 … $4 off (!) when the date on the package matches the date on the calendar.

When purchasing a whole chicken, that reduction can constitute a quarter of the bird’s original price. If I don’t have plans to prepare it the same day, or the next at the very latest, I simply stash it away in the freezer.

A chicken on hand suggests pairing with other readily available ingredients, a winter’s worth of citrus fruits in the fridge and potatoes and squash in the pantry. But after many months of the same flavor profiles, I start craving something a little unusual.

An array of dried fruit is another pantry staple in my kitchen and perfect for incorporating in this in-between season for fresh produce. Warming spices ward off the chill of the long winter while the floral note hints at warm weather to come.

The dish’s signature spice, advieh, is an Iranian blend incorporating dried rose petals. Shop for it online, or make your own with common spices, plus some crushed, dried rose petals available at herb shops. Because I have rosewater on hand, I’d simply add a splash to the melted butter that moistens this dish’s dried-fruit filling.

Still more butter is suggested as a basting liquid, enhanced with saffron, to yield a crispy, deeply colored skin. While that step could be omitted, a little gilding the lily turns this familiar meat exotic.

Tribune News Service photo

Sweet-and-Sour Stuffed Chicken

2 small frying chickens or 4 Cornish hens

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 1/4 cups butter, divided

1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 cup pitted prunes, finely chopped

1 apple, cored and chopped

1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons advieh (see note)

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon ground saffron

Clean and rinse the birds, then pat dry. Mix the salt, pepper and turmeric and rub birds inside and out with mixture.

Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a wide skillet; add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring to lightly brown and caramelize. Add the prunes, apple, apricots and raisins; stir-fry for 1 minute. Melt 1/2 cup of the butter in a separate pan and add to onion-fruit mixture, along with the salt, pepper, advieh and sugar; stir-fry for 20 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Stuff chickens with fruit mixture and pin cavities shut. Place in a ceramic roasting pan drizzled with oil. Cover with a layer of parchment paper and a layer of aluminum foil on top and seal tight. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.

Make a basting liquid from remaining 1/2 cup butter, melted and stirred into the lime juice and saffron. Uncover birds and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, basting occasionally, until meat separates from bone.

Serve in dish or arrange on a serving platter. Serve with plain rice or flatbread, salad and fresh herbs.

Makes 4 servings.

NOTE: Advieh is a warm spice mix used in many Iranian dishes. Find it online or make it by combining 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin with 1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground rose petal (optional) and ground cardamom.

— Recipe from “Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies” by Najmieh Batmanglij (Mage, 2011)

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Frozen meatballs quickly make staple Italian soup

Homemade soups in the freezer, as this blog’s previous post vouched, can salvage suppertime on stressful, strenuous days.

Frozen in quart-sized containers, most soups placed directly into a pan on the stovetop will completely thaw and come up to serving temperature in about 15 minutes. A frozen quart of plain stock will liquefy even more quickly, furnishing a blank canvas for concocting impromptu soups from other staples in the freezer and pantry.

Last winter, this blog suggested bathing miniature frozen wontons directly in simmering stock. Add quick-cooking veggies, such as sliced baby bok choy and mushrooms, maybe even canned bamboo shoots, if you have them, and dinner’s ready in minutes.

Similarly, just borrowed from a different cuisine, is the concept of Italian wedding soup, which I can pull off in a pinch with homemade, frozen meatballs. Miniature meatballs also are readily available in grocers’ freezer sections. And if dropped into hot stock, they don’t even need to be defrosted.

The following recipe from Tribune News Service calls for pairing premade meatballs with a small pasta shape and chopped greens, which wilt into the soup almost instantaneously. While orzo is typical, it isn’t the only option.

Look for fun soup shapes on grocers’ Mexican foods aisle, which is where I’ve found them at Food 4 Less in Medford. My kids love alphabet noodles, stars and little seashells. You also could stir in a ½ cup or more of leftover cooked rice.

And although kale and spinach often are close at hand, if you’re shopping for this recipe, consider trying escarole, a bitter green in the chicory family traditionally favored in this soup. I also like it because it lasts longer in the fridge than a head of leaf lettuce or even romaine.

Tribune News Service photo

Easy Italian Wedding Soup

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for optional garnish

1 1/3 cups chopped yellow onion

2/3 cup chopped carrot

2/3 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons minced garlic

6 cups reduced-sodium or unsalted chicken broth

3/4 cup orzo or other small pasta, preferably whole-wheat

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

24 small cooked chicken or turkey meatballs (12 ounces)

4 cups baby spinach or curly kale

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the broth, cover and bring to a boil. Add the orzo, oregano and salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until orzo is just tender, for about 9 minutes.

Stir in the meatballs and spinach (or kale); cook until meatballs are heated through and spinach is wilted, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the cheese, if desired, and drizzled with additional oil.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted by the Detroit Free Press from Eating Well magazine, January/February issue.

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Winter weather troubles require meal solutions

Weekends away from home with late-evening returns. Driving deterred by freak snowstorms. Twenty-four-hour power outages. All these recent scenarios have called for quick, easy, nourishing, comforting food.

There’s good reason to reiterate that homemade soups in the freezer are mealtime solutions on problematic days. But my family’s circumstances have been trying enough over the past few weeks that I’ve resorted to commercially canned soup, which I’d gone a good year without eating.

A better bet is a hearty, slightly spicy, body- and heartwarming stew, such as this classic Moroccan lentil dish augmented with chickpeas and bits of thin pasta noodles. All are pantry staples that I recently simmered with homemade chicken stock for additional flavor and healthful properties. And this recipe makes enough to freeze a quart or so after serving a family of four.

The spice palette used here makes for an intriguing alternative to the typical split-pea or lentil soup. Yet it’s mild enough for kids, particularly with a side of steamed rice and warm flatbread.

Tribune News Service photo

Harira (Lentil Soup)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter

1 large onion, peeled and finely diced, about 2 cups

4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon dried ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron

1 cinnamon stick or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 cups diced ripe tomato, fresh or canned

2 tablespoons chopped celery leaves, or 1 tablespoon minced celery

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Salt, to taste

1 cup brown lentils, rinsed

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

1 cup canned chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), rinsed

1/4 pound angel hair pasta or vermicelli, broken into 1-inch pieces

Lemon wedges, for serving

Put the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, saffron and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes more.

Add the tomato, celery leaves and cilantro and bring to a brisk simmer. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until mixture somewhat thickens, then add 1 teaspoon salt, the brown lentils, red lentils and chickpeas. Add 8 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer, covered with lid ajar.

Let soup simmer for 30 minutes, then taste broth and adjust salt. Cook for 1 hour more at a gentle simmer, until lentils are soft and creamy. It may be necessary to add more liquid from time to time to keep soup from being too porridge-like. It should be on the thick side, but with a pourable consistency. (With every addition of water, taste and adjust for salt).

Just before serving, add the pasta and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle soup into small bowls and pass lemon wedges for squeezing. Soup may be made in advance and refrigerated. If it thickens, thin with water or broth when reheating, and adjust salt.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Recipe adapted by Tribune News Service from a recipe by David Tanis in the New York Times.

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Preserved lemons extend specialty citrus season

In several weeks of suggestions for using citrus, this blog’s latest took a cue from Moroccan cuisine.

Orange-blossom water situates a fresh orange salad in North Africa. But that isn’t the region’s quintessential use of citrus, of course. Preserved lemons are a hallmark of Moroccan cuisine and almost simpler to make at home than to order online.

If you’ve ever made traditional sauerkraut with only cabbage, salt and a container that keeps everything submerged and subject to the proliferation of beneficial bacteria, this method will be very familiar. It’s an ideal way to extend the season for specialty citrus, such as Meyer lemons, or even kumquats and sweet limes.

Like sauerkraut, preserved lemons are a palate-cleansing condiment to cut the richness of meat-based dishes. They’re also delicious, as one would expect, with fish and seafood.

Read my story in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living magazine for more suggestions to take advantage of lemons and the season’s tangy-sweet varieties.

Tribune News Service photo

Easy Preserved Lemons

Scrub 2 whole lemons clean. Cut each lemon into wedges, leaving them attached at stem ends. Coat with a generous amount of coarse (kosher) salt. Pack tightly into a small glass jar; sprinkle with more salt. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice to come about halfway up lemons. Put lid on jar.

Let stand at room temperature for a couple of days, shaking jar every day. Refrigerate for about 1 week. Lemons will keep 3 months or more in refrigerator, and skins will get softer. Rinse off salt before using.

Recipe by Chicago Tribune “Dinner at Home” columnist JeanMarie Brownson.

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Sweet citrus fruits straddle salad, dessert courses

A serving of fruit has been all but a mealtime requirement in the past six years since I’ve had kids.

Fruits go down easier than vegetables, after all, and the fiber keeps kids full between meals when fruit is their snack. Plus they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, in short the plethora of phytonutrients.

We can’t seem to get enough vitamin C, fortunately during the season when citrus is most abundant and delicious. My kids eat mandarin oranges and tangerines, even grapefruit, out of hand. But I also plan to incorporate plenty of citrus zest and juice into our meals this time of year.

The following recipe from Tribune News Service appeals to my preference for fruit as both salad and dessert. Orange-blossom water, which enlivens any number of dishes with a Middle Eastern flair, is more and more available in mainstream grocers and keeps for years in the refrigerator.

Consider making this with cara cara oranges, featured in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living magazine. You may need to tell people that the slices are not grapefruit, but the striking presentation comes with equally distinctive citrus flavor.

Tribune News Service photo

Moroccan Orange Salad

4 large, juicy oranges (or grapefruits or tangerines)

2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 to 3 tablespoons orange blossom water, or zest from 1 orange

6 fresh mint leaves

3 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped

Slice off very top and bottom of each orange, just enough to expose flesh. Remove all and pith by strips, top to bottom, using blade of your knife to cut away as little of juicy flesh as possible. Trim any small bits of pith you missed, and pour juices that collect on cutting board into a small saucepan.

Cut oranges horizontally to form thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange in an overlapping pattern on a serving platter.

Add the sugar and cinnamon to pan. If using the orange zest instead of the orange blossom water, add it to pan, along with 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in orange blossom water, if using, and pour over orange slices. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Stack the mint leaves together, roll tightly and thinly slice crosswise. Scatter mint and the pistachios over oranges; serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe adapted by Tribune News Service from “Tasting Paris,” by Clotilde Dusoulier.

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Citrus fruits pop next to fat from avocado, olives

Distinctive citrus needs little adornment to constitute a salad.

Case in point is Citrus Salad With Avocado in this week’s food section. The only ingredient that infers a green salad is the cilantro leaves scattered atop the orange and avocado slices.

Another favorite in this vein is Orange, Fennel and Olive Salad. Is a theme emerging here? As this blog’s previous post acknowledged, the rich contrasts of avocado and olive make citrus pop even more on the palate.

While cheese isn’t the most obvious citrus pairing, there are a few natural duets. Think cheeses that are predominantly salty and tangy, that is to say fresh without much in the way of funk.

Haloumi, which I’ve raved about in previous posts, shouldn’t be passed up during citrus season. There’s also this recipe from the Los Angeles that takes a few high-quality ingredients and uses them to full effect.

If you can’t find Montealva cheese, consider substituting high-end goat or sheep feta. The haloumi would yield an entirely different, but worthwhile, dish. When I’m really stumped on which cheese would be a good substitute for an obscure one, I inquire at Rogue Creamery’s cheese shop in Central Point.

For more information on some of the more unusual citrus varieties cited here, see my story in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living magazine.

Tribune News Service photo

Winter Citrus With Montealva, Arugula, Black Olives and Marconas

2 teaspoons minced shallots (from 1 medium to large shallot)

1/3 cup blood orange juice

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, extra-virgin olive oil

Salt, to taste

Assortment of citrus, including pomelos, blood oranges, tangelos, cara cara oranges, mandelos, oro blanco grapefruit and kumquats

6 slices Montealva or similar Spanish goat cheese

6 to 10 arugula leaves

2 tablespoons citrus vinaigrette

1 teaspoon diced black olives

2 teaspoons crushed Marcona almonds

Fleur de sel, for garnish

In a nonreactive bowl, macerate the shallots in the blood orange juice for 5 minutes. Add the sherry, orange zest and slowly whisk in the olive oil. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and balance depending on how sweet your blood oranges are. This makes about 1/3 cup vinaigrette, which will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 3 days.

Cut the citrus in segments or pinwheels. Recipe creators prefer to cut blood oranges and kumquats into pinwheels, and segment the rest. You’ll want 2 to 4 pieces of each citrus.

Divide citrus between 2 salad plates, and tuck in the arugula leaves and cheese slices. Drizzle over citrus vinaigrette. Sprinkle over the black olives, almonds and fleur de sel.

Makes 2 servings.

Recipe adapted by the Los Angeles Times from a dish served at Lucques restaurant in Los Angeles

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Winter is time to make citrus shine in food, drink

Tribune News Service photo

That the vast majority of domestically grown oranges becomes juice likely comes as little surprise.

But the variety of oranges available in mainstream grocers may be a bit surprising.

Blood oranges, Cara Cara and mandarins all were featured in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living story about citrus. Numerous ways to prepare the season’s citrus and reasons to eat them accompanied an eye-catching photo spread.

Produce experts, both locally and nationwide, are touting the Cara Cara orange for its complex flavor. Taking a navel orange to the next level, Cara Caras have an herbal, floral quality and striking pink flesh. It’s a grapefruit’s aesthetic without any sourness or bitterness.

A grapefruit-tangerine cross, minneola tangelos are juicy and sweet, encased in a bell-shaped peel that often separates easily for little fingers. And just when it seems that citrus varieties can’t get any more audacious, there’s the TDE mandarin, which commingles the genetics of Temple, Dancy and Encore mandarins for tangy-sweet, well-rounded flavor.

Botanically, oranges are the berries of subtropical evergreen trees. An average-size orange contains 100 percent of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C and also boasts vitamin A, potassium and plenty of dietary fiber.

Their acid make oranges a great culinary stand-in for tomatoes. They’re delicious with avocados and olives. Cooks increasingly are tapping into the power of citrus zest, which is popping up in more cocktails and mocktails, even plain water to lend flavor without added sugar.

Citrus keeps for a month or longer in the refrigerator, particularly if not stored in plastic bags, which draws out moisture. Keep them on the counter for a few days, just not in company with apples or bananas, which emit ethylene gas that accelerates ripening.

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Deep-frying hardest part of quick doughnut holes

Baked goods calling for just a few ingredients and a few minutes of hands-on time have been this blog’s theme for the past week.

From cream biscuits to English muffins to classic scones, they’ve progressively gotten a bit more challenging and a bit more decadent. To that, I’ll introduce another level of difficulty, which adds another layer of enjoyment, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Frying a spiced quick-bread dough results in my preferred doughnut, rich and cakey, coated in cinnamon-sugar rather than raised and lacquered with icing. But everyone knows that a day-old cake doughnut becomes dense with a note of stale frying oil.

While I don’t look for reasons to deep-fry, I do acknowledge that anything freshly fried, straight from the draining rack, and still hot enough to singe one’s fingertips is worth the occasional indulgence. Consider decorating little paper bags or Chinese takeout containers for Valentine’s Day to convey these sweet bites to your sweethearts.

Tribune News Service photo

Quick Doughnuts

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 egg

1 cup apple cider

1 quart ghee (shelved near oil in supermarkets) or canola oil, for frying

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, mace and 1/4 cup of the sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg and cider. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix with a wooden spoon just until a thick dough comes together.

In a heavy pot at least 3 inches deep, heat 2 inches of the ghee (or oil) to 350 F. Using a 1 1/2-inch diameter ice-cream scoop, scoop up a generous ball of dough and drop it in. Cook, for 4 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Wait for 1 minute. Cut in half. If done, you’re good to go. If not, add 1 minute cooking time to your batch.

Scoop balls of dough into hot ghee (or oil), without crowding. Fry, rotating spheres now and then, until deep brown outside and cooked through inside (4 or 5 minutes, depending on your test doughnut). Repeat, frying all doughnuts.

In a paper sack, shake together the cinnamon and remaining 1 cup sugar for topping. Drop in doughnuts a few at a time and shake to coat. Munch while warm.

Makes 18 to 20 doughnut holes.

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Handle with care is beginning bakers’ challenge

It’s perhaps the hardest lesson for a novice baker — and I count myself in that group. It isn’t what you do, but what you don’t do, that makes all the difference in delicately textured baked goods.

Minimal manipulating is key whenever flakiness is the goal. Dairy fat mingled with flour and leavening can produce airiness and lightness that belies such humble ingredients.

That’s only so long as the baker can resist the impulse to overwork these mixtures, which develops their gluten, resulting in stretchy doughs and batters that bake up tough. Developing gluten is important in baking yeast breads, not their quick counterparts.

This blog’s previous two posts could hardly be called recipes, given they’re so simple. Just a few ingredients and the most basic instructions, both with similar admonishments. “Knead lightly about three times, just until the dough comes together” … and “knead until smooth, for a few seconds.”

That’s it. Forgo the futzing. Handle the dough gently. Shape it deftly. Perfectly textured is preferable to perfectly shaped.

If you’ve baked  two-ingredient cream biscuits and four-ingredient English muffins with success, you’re probably ready to graduate to the classic scone. It fits nicely into the food section’s breakfast theme for a second week running.

Tribune News Service photo

Classic Scones

1 3/4 cup flour (plus more for shaping and cutting)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut up

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup heavy cream

Tip the flour into a mixing bowl; whisk in the sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Shoot in the butter, then rub together with your fingers to make a reasonably fine-crumbed mixture, lifting to aerate mixture as you go. Try not to overrub, as mixture will be lighter if it’s a little bit flaky.

Measure the buttermilk, then mix in the cream to slacken it. Make a bit of a well in center of flour mixture with a soft spatula, then pour in most of this buttermilk mixture, holding a little bit back in case it’s not needed. Using spatula, gently work mixture together until it forms a soft, almost sticky, dough. Work in any loose dry bits of mixture with remaining buttermilk. Don’t overwork at this point, or you will toughen the dough.

Lift ball of soft dough out of bowl and put it on to a very lightly floured surface. Knead mixture just 3 to 4 times to get rid of cracks.

Pat dough gently with your hands to a thickness of 1 inch. Dip a 2-inch-round, fluted cutter into a bowl of flour; cut out scones by pushing cutter down quickly and firmly into dough with palm of your hand — don’t twist it. You will hear dough give a big sigh as cutter goes in. Gather trimmings lightly; pat and cut out a couple more scones (these last won’t be as pretty).

Set scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 F until risen and golden, for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, uncovered if you prefer crisp tops, or covered loosely with a cloth for soft ones.

Enjoy warm with strawberry jam and a generous mound of clotted cream. Cornish people put jam first, then cream, Devonians the other way round. Americans are permitted to substitute whipped cream or creme fraiche.

Makes about 10 (2-inch) scones.

Recipe adapted by the Chicago Tribune from BBC Food.

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