Re: Food & Drink: Post your recipes what you're drinking and where your eating.
Is it dinner time yet, all this talk of food
To Eric, regarding the veg-beef soup recipe
I've got a question regarding your recipe for vegetable beef soup.
Q: How much liquid beyond the soup stock (homemade from marrow bones) do you typically find yourself adding? How much have you been able to get away with adding, without diluting the flavors?
This time around, I have used an 8qt stock pot (for the third portion of the stock/fixin's that I used in this batch of the full recipe). So, all the quantities and volumes are thirded from the recipe's original values.
I saw the recipe's suggestion to add enough water "to cover" the vegetables that had been added. Trouble is, when it cooks down a bit, the resulting "rested" soup is extremely dense, without a lot of liquid.
I'm all for hearty, filling soups. And this one has it in spades. But I'm a sucker for lots of mouth-watering broth, too.
BTW, I just had a "breakfast" bowl of the soup, along with a good-sized hunk of hot crusty bread (a Pugliese-style levain, wonderfully heavy, chewy and crusty). Mmmmm, good. The flavors are still blending a bit, I'm supposing, but already it's a spicy, biting, but complex set of flavors that sends the mouth a-jingling. And I got the cooking time for the veggies just right, I think. Still, after ~20hrs of resting, the veggies are still al dente. Perfect.
As for spicing, herbs and other minor changes, here is basically what I've done (this time around, my first and only time with this recipe).
For the Stock:
- Cooked a full batch of the stock, per the recipe. Used one-third of it for this batch of the soup, freezing the rest.
- Used buffalo shank/shin marrow bones. Extremely flavorful, though a tad more expensive than standard beef soup bones. For ~24qts of soup, I'd say it's a worthwhile change.
- Added ~50%+ to the herbs, overall; quite a bit more spices.
- Added 1 sage leaf, 1 sprig of rosemary, and a couple extra sprigs of thyme.
- Nearly doubled the number of garlic cloves, coarsely chopped.
- Added ~3-4 tbsp fresh ground pepper.
- Added another whole onion to the stock.
For the Soup:
- With the meat (chuck roast, trimmed), I used about the amount suggested. In this thirded portion of the batch, that resulted in about ~3 handsful of cubed meat, about a cup and a half of finished browned meat cubes. A bit light for ~7-8qts of finished soup, IMO. Could easily handle another ~50%, depending on the person. As it is, the resulting soup has a bit of meat, but not too much. Good starting point, as is. Just about right, for most folks I'd say.
- Added a few more garlic cloves to the soup, finely minced.
- Added 2 sage leaves, 2 sprigs of rosemary and a few extra sprigs of thyme.
- Boosted tomatoes by 20%.
- Did not use any soup base or bouillon cubes. Instead, used a bit more than 1/8 cup of a lower-sodium creole seasoning, ~4-5 tbsp fresh ground pepper (to start). No salt, as the stock and added creole seasoning seem to have plenty.
- Added another pack of Sazon Goya to the soup, beyond the recipe. In this go, I could only find the Sazon Goya with coriander and annatto. An interesting mix of flavors. Can't say whether the "original" variant would be better. This one (the coriander/annatto) has resulted in a pretty great taste.
- Added 5 mini peppers (red, yellow, orange), coarsely chopped. Added a medium-sized Serrano pepper, coarsely chopped.
- Added ~30% to the amount of green beans used in the soup.
- Guessed on the amount of water sufficient "to cover." IMO, the resulting ratio of broth-to-other is a bit light on the broth. But then, I'm a sucker for mouth-watering broth. Added ~1.5qts or so, additional water, which was sufficient "to cover."
- About half-way through the cook-time for the soup (~20mins or so), I added a bit less than 1/4 cup of harissa-infused extra virgin olive oil. I've found this type of EVOO adds a nice kick and smoothness to the food. Thought I'd try it in this soup.
Amount of Water:
If I were to guess on the needed amount of additional water to cover, I would say ~4-5qts might be good, beyond the (thirded) ~6qts that the basic stock/veggie/beef mix ends up with. My big concern would be, of course, the risk of diluting the stock's richness. Uncertain whether it would dilute the flavor.
This time I had added ~1.5qts or so, just sufficient to cover things prior to it cooking down a bit. As the tomatoes and veggies softened, it was clear that a few more quarts could be added to maintain broth volume.
With the added water, I'll double or triple it next time, at minimum, to see how it goes. Though, I don't have a 12-16qt soup pot. That'll be needed in order to add that much additional liquid and still have room for the soup to nicely boil/simmer away. Can't easily be taking ~4qts stock a ~4qts veggies then add ~4qts water. As it is with the thirded recipe batch, I had a bit of overflow from the 8qt pot when the simmering got too vigorous. Ah, well.
Final note (on the amount of liquid and resulting volume of soup): Can't imagine how big a pot would be needed to make the entire batch all at once. As it is, I used a 8qt pot (but needed a 12qt one). A full batch would be roughly triple this (24qt minimum, if not ~36qt).
Spicing to Taste:
My rationale for boosting the spicing, to taste: gauging the way the tougher veggies were showing uptake of the spicing and stock flavors. The corn and carrots are normally gauges I take, during production.
In this case, they didn't seem to be flavoring up the way I had expected. Might well have, if I had cooked them through. But in past, I've found that a flavorful and spicier dish shows itself in the tougher veggies decently well, through the cooking time of the soup. This one didn't appear to be taking up the flavors strongly enough. The carrots were still "blah" after 20mins of soup cooking time. And so, as it went I spiced to taste, ending up with the measurements of creole/pepper seasonings that I mentioned above.
Likely too spicy for some folks, but this batch is going to be my "tester."
Better to do it in private, to avoid any teary sessions with test-subjects. :firedevil: :embarassed:
I don't know if the ~20hrs of resting time is sufficient, yet. Over the next few days, I'll have a few more bowls of the soup and I'll let you know if that changes. But, so far, it's excellent. Extremely rich and complex flavors, tasty veggies chock full of the stock, herb and spice flavors, just enough meat to make it savory.
- Using a 1-cup measuring cup, dunk a cup full of the fixin's (veggies/meat) into a serving bowl. Then get a cup full (or two) of the broth and pour over the fixin's. (Gotta have a decent-sized bowl for this much.) One cup of fixin's is plenty. With a chunk of bread, it's a full meal.
- Drizzled a little harissa-infused extra virgin olive oil, over the serving.
- Fresh-baked crusty bread, a Pugliese-style levain.
- Reheated a single bowl full in the microwave (this time). On the stove, next few times.
- Allowed the bread to sop up the juices. Let sit for ~2mins before tasting. Heaven.
Overall, I think the recipe's a winner. I realize I've made significant changes to the spicing and herbs, to taste. But I like spicier dishes. These changes have added quite a bit of "bite" to the flavor, but the additional herbs, mild peppers and added water has, I think, moderated the kick to result in a reasonably complex, spicier blend.
Thank you for the recipe, Eric! It's a good one. Pass on my thanks to your mother, for her love and care in creating this. My hat's off to her.
:congrats: :hand10: :wave: