April 4, 2009
In an effort to clear out more freezer and refrigerator space, and because of the nasty weather, I decided to put together a soup this morning. I had never added fresh salmon to a soup before, but thought I’d give it a try. I was thinking of potatoes and then saw the frozen, fresh spaghetti in the freezer. I thought it might be fun to see what the pasta would bring to the soup. We both ended up liking the soup a lot. The al dente pasta added a nice texture. The salmon brought a mild fish taste that worked with the chicken stock. The lemon juice brightened everything nicely. The only thing both of us though didn’t work real well was the broccoli. I would leave that out next time.
Start by adding a diced onion to a tablespoon of olive oil. Next, add 5 medium carrots, sliced, along with 5 sliced celery stalks. Saute on high till softened a bit. Then add two minced garlic cloves, 3/4 of a tablespoon of dry basil and 1/2 red bell pepper diced. Stir for about a minute and add 3/4 cup of dry sherry or dry white wine. Cook for a minute or two and add 6 cups of chicken stock. While waiting for the liquid to come to a simmer, add 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 3 dashes of cayenne pepper. Once the stock has warmed back up, and it’s at a slow simmer, add 1 cup broccoli (if you want to try it), 2 to 3 cups cubed uncooked salmon, and as much uncooked fresh, or dry cooked pasta as you like. The salmon and pasta should only take 2 or 3 minutes to finish cooking. When both are done to your liking, add the juice from 1/2 lemon, stir, garnish with fresh Italian parsley and serve.
March 28, 2009
This soup was mostly about getting rid of leftovers in the refrigerator. I had homemade vegetable stock and braised beef shank sauce in the fridge. Also a few vegetables that needed to be used up. I decided to break out the neck bones I had purchased the other day for $1.69 a pound. I think it was about 6 pounds total. Those 6 pounds of neck bones yielded about 4-5 cups of meat. I had never cooked with neck bones before but I would again. There is more cartilage and connective tissues with this cut than I’ve seen in others. But most of it melts away and can be separated from the meat if you so desire. I can see how many would find this off putting, but the combination of meat, bone and connective tissue makes a very rich, flavorful broth. We really enjoyed this soup, and it just kept getting better as the days went by. I didn’t use a recipe for this soup, just whinged it.
Start by searing the meat on the neck bones in batches. They are irregularly shaped so you need to move them a few times to sear each side. Deglaze the stock pot with about a cup of red wine and put the neck bones back into the pot. If you have extra stock or sauce to add to the pot later, then just cover bones with water. If you don’t have liquids to add later, then you’ll need to use more water initially to make up the difference. Add 4-6 cloves of chopped garlic, a bouquet garni of 2-3 bay leaves, 10 pepper corns and a few sprigs of thyme. Simmer until meat begins falling off the bone, 2-3 hours. While the meat is cooking, cut your vegetables into bite size pieces. Use what vegetables you have. I used a mirepoix, 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot and 1 part celery. Approximately 4 cups onion, 2 cups carrot and 2 cups celery. I also cut up approximately 4 cups of fingerling potatoes. Once the meat is done, drain the whole works though a colander, saving the liquid. Pull the meat bones out and lay on a cookie sheet to cool. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth, back into your stock pot. The broth may have little bits of grit from the neck bones, so don’t bother straining the last cup or so of the liquid. Once the meat has cooled enough to pull with your hands, separate meat from the bone. Add the meat and vegetables to the broth. If you have leftover stock or meat sauce, now is the time to add. Bring the works to a gentle simmer, adjust acidity by adding wine to taste. Simmer until the vegetables are done to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
February 26, 2009
I posted about icebox risotto earlier this week and I’m now getting around to posting about my icebox miso. When cleaning out the refrigerator last weekend, these are the odds and ends I pulled out that made me think of miso: 2 carrots, 1 baby bok choy, 2 cups rice, one half onion. The soup is very easy to make and quick. First step is to make the dashi if you don’t have any on hand. Additions to the dashi can be just about any vegetable or meat you like, plus miso paste. Miso paste comes in light, medium and dark. I used medium for this recipe.
- 12 inches of Kombu (giant kelp)
- 4 cups bonito flakes, loosely packed
- 2 quarts water
Combine kombu and water, slowly bring water temperature up and simmer for 4 minutes. Remove kombu, bring broth to boil, take off heat and add the bonito flakes. Let bonito flakes steep for 2 minutes and then strain. The flakes hold quite a bit of water, so remember to press all the water out of them.
- 2 quarts dashi
- 1 baby bok choy
- 2 carrots
- 1 onion
- 12 oz firm or extra firm tofu
- 2 cups precooked rice
- 3-1/2 tablespoons medium miso paste
Thinly slice vegetables and cube tofu into 1/2 inch pieces. Bring dashi to a low simmer and add all the ingredients, except the miso paste. Allow the water to just return to a gentle simmer and reduce heat to low. Slowly add miso paste to dashi 1/2 to 1 tablespoon at a time, until you’re happy with the flavor. Do this by scooping out 1/2 cup of dashi and blend with miso paste. Then add the mixture back into the soup. Make sure the vegetables are slightly softened and other ingredients warmed through and serve.