G.W.’s Good Grub, Lesson 50, Umami Continued


I have for you, my friends, another soup that uses umami to add robust and exiting flavor to your cooking.  This soup is far different that the last one in that it is hearty enough to be a meal.  It’ll warm your belly on a cold day, and make you feel all cozy.  You’ll think the world has just been made a better place.

What’s that Frank?  You say you ate so much canned soup as a boy that you really don’t care for soup any more?  Well believe me, this soup is nothing like the canned varieties you ate as a child, or even what today’s canned offerings give you.  You’re going to like this soup.  In fact, if you make it, that wife of yours just might want to snuggle up on the couch with you, and watch a hockey game.  Now that takes some good soup.

Now, let’s get cooking.

Tools: 3 quart pot, sharp chef’s knife, cutting board, large cooking spoon.

Ingredeints:

On Saturday, I started thinking about what I could throw together for lunches I could just throw into the microwave at work. I thought to myself that a good soup was in order. I looked in the refrigerator for possible leftover candidates. A couple of days back, we had a cheaper cut of beef steak. As my wife won’t doesn’t care for the gristle and fat, I had cut that portion off of the steaks and placed it into the freezer for a future soup. The week before, we had pork chops, with one chop left over, clearly not enough for a meal for my wife and myself. I found some cooked green beans, and cooked cauliflower that we’d had a couple days back. I knew that I had what I needed for some great soup. Here’s what I made.
Ingredients:
1 pork chop, with the bone
¼ cup fresh cauliflower
1/4 pound chuck steak, or sirloin, cut into half-inch cubes.  Don’t discard the fat or gristle.
2 carrots peeled and sliced into thin rounds
½ cup fresh green beans
¼ cup sauteed mushrooms
1@ onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed, peeled, and chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. coarse ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. bacon fat
3 cups water

Cut the pork from the chop and cut into half-inch cubes. Cut the beef into small pieces. Peel and slice the fresh carrot.
Melt the bacon fat in a three quart saucepan. Add the pork and beef, and fry over medium heat until lightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and gently boil (simmer) for 30 minutes. Serve hot with buttered bread.

May your hot things be hot, you cold things be cold, and your cheddar at room temperature.

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G.W.’s Good Grub, Lesson 49 – Umami


It’s been a while since I’ve posted in my blog, good friends. It’s time we explore some new ideas, and 2015 is the time to start doing it. With that in mind, we’re going to explore the fifth flavor, Umami.

Umami is that meaty, earthy flavor that can’t be described by sweet, sour, bitter, or salt. When you think umami, you think of flavors like mushroom, meat, A1 sauce, soy sauce, MSG, ect. It adds flavor to sauces, veggies, pastries, pasta, chili, and so many other wonderful dishes. It’s not peculiar to any one style, or region of food, but can be found throughout the world, and in many food styles.

To get you started with umami, I give to you a recipe I developed that is both simple, and delicious. I call it, Umami Soup.

This wonderful, brothy soup can be eaten as an appetizer, or used as a base for sauces, gravies, stews, or pretty much to add flavor to most savory dishes. Try it as an appetizer for this lesson. Then, play with it. It’s a wonderful base for pho soups as well. We’ll get to those in a later lesson. You’ll love the idea. For now though, and for your pleasure, I give you (drum roll please Alice) Umami Soup.

Tools:
Sauce pan
Sharp knife
Cutting board

Ingredients:
3 cups water
2 tbs. cooking oil
3 tbs. soy sauce
1/8 tsp. (1/2 of a 1/4 tsp) ground ginger
8 0z fresh protabela mushrooms
1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add the sliced mushrooms and salt. Saute over medium-high heat until half cooked. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook until the mushrooms are cooked through. Remove the mushrooms and use in another meal. They are still delicious and have great texture. Serve the broth hot, as an appetizer. Or, as I said above, you can use it as a soup base to which you can add strips of uncooked beef or pork, as at a pho restaurant. Add green onion, or sliced mushroom, whatever you want. The beauty of this broth is that it’s like a mother sauce for soups. Once made, you can make a hundred small soups, if I can use similar terminology to mother sauces.

From the Kitchen of G.W.North