Sunday, January 24, 2016

First two...this week anyway

I have this bad rep for being one that does not like soup, the opposite is true, I really do love soup.  While I may enjoy soup let us say not as much as And or Gabs, I do enjoy it.  I may even go out on a limb and say that I can be a little picky as to the type of soup.  Andrew and Gabriella like all soup, it really does not matter to them what type it is, they like it all.  I just like my broths to be a certain way, clear and flavorful.  The broth has to be clear.  Different broths of course have different colors, I just don't want any veggies, herbs, proteins, or meat to be in it.  Most importantly, it cannot have any fat. I don't want a greasy broth, I simply cannot begin a soup with grease.  I don't know why I am like this, it is just the way I am.  The final soup can be any color or thickness and can have all kinds of stuff in it.  It just has to start with "clean and clear broth".
I have had a hankering for "Pink Ham".   That is what we called smoked ham growing up.  Fresh Ham was "Brown Ham" and canned ham, spiral sliced, or any other kind was "Pink Ham".  When I made Ham Steaks for us when the kids were small, I called them "Elephant Feet".  Gabs always loved "Elephant Feet".  We went to the grocery, they had the Spiral Sliced Ham on sale, so I got one to bake.  I also wanted to make Split Pea Soup.  Split Pea is okay, well let's face it, I really only like the ham and croutons.  After I eat them, well I am done with it.  I was thinking I could get at least 3 meals from it.  A long while back, And was working on Park Avenue in NYC on a Sunday, he came across all kinds of kitchen stuff in the trash, he picked this wonderful aluminum roaster and brought it home for me.  We have the same exact roaster in a larger size, I love it, this one is smaller but the perfect size for so many things and the best part is that it has a rack and lid.  There were a few other pieces, Pat got those. 

And and Gabs had gotten sick for New Years, so we had Matzo Ball Soup.  That is my tied for first place soup, Italian Wedding and Matzo Ball, my absolute favorite.  Next would have to be Lobster Bisque.  Not just any Lobster Bisque though, the best I have ever had was by a guy named Dave at Something Fishy, hands down the best I have ever, ever had.  Still all things being fair, Lobster Bisque is second.  Then, of course, Corn Chowder, rounds out my top three.  Oh, I forgot about Shrimp Bisque.....mmmmm.....that is fourth.

Today I started two different kinds of broth; chicken and ham.  I am going to try for the very first time, Matzo Ball Soup.  Chicken broth is the easy part, matzo balls...not so much.  I have heard horror stories about lead sinkers, and all matter of possible disaster.  I am hoping not to run into any of these.

I boiled the chicken til the meat was dead, dead, dead.  I really can't see that they think that the chicken has any flavor left.  After the broth cooled a bit, it was time to clean it up.  The chicken was pulled out and the broth went through a fine mesh strainer, throughout the boil we had been skimming the scum off the top, so it was mostly clear.  We put the broth into a smaller stockpot and I chopped up the fresh veggies put them into the broth.  Finally I put fresh herbs and spices into the immersion ball then hung it into the soup, turned it on simmer, and let it work it's magic.

I put the ham bone into the pot and covered it with water and added pepper.  About 2.5 hours later we pulled Ham bone out of the stock, strained it, put it into a smaller stockpot also, put the veggies, herbs and spice ball, and finally split peas.  As an added burst of flavor, I saved  all of the pan drippings from the bake.  I strained them and put it into the fridge so that the fat would rise to the top.  I scooped the fat off and put that brown sugar-maple flavored deliciousness into the the ham broth.  We turned on the burner and let the pot cook on low.  

Split Pea Soup complete and Matzo Ball is pretty sweet.  I have made three separate batches of matzo balls, I am thinking that they are pretty amazing.  Yeah, I think pretty amazing.  The only thing that could possibly make this anything better would be oven fried chicken thighs.   I decided to get right on this.  I also decided that macaroni needed to be added to the chicken soup and as much cheese as I could possibly add to the soup. 

Next week, I think I am going to give in to making chowder.  I do not know what type of chowder but a chowder is going to be on the menu.

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