Monday, October 21, 2013


Think this will be some heartwarming tale of culinary salvation?  
Some like it Hot, Some like it Cold, I liked it in the Trash, One Day Old.

Yup, I did it.  I trashed a whole pot of soup.

There are no post-apocalypse photos, this is the only record of the aftermath.

I used America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook’s recipe for Split Pea and Ham Soup [pg104], carefully doing the maths for a 1.5x recipe.  I procured ham hocks from my grocery’s very reliable, high-quality butcher.  The suckers were hu-uge.


But no worries, I thought they were roughly the same amount as 1.5 times the recipe (original: 3).  I followed all the directions, except for the salt.  I added the smaller, original recipe amount (1tsp) to the pot and let it go according to scripture.  


After one hour I added the carrots, etc.  


Crucially, I did not taste at this point!  Correction or abandonment could have occurred here, the hocks pulled and a re-set achieved the next day.  Nope, not me!

One half hour later I extinguished the flame, yanked the hog shanks to cool before returning the meat to the pot, and added the extra diced ham, giving the whole thing a whirl for luck.  Then I tasted.  

Salt Lake City, baby.  Bonneville Salt Flats.  Down the Ol’ Salt Mine.

This is the point where I swoop in with great advice--scientific or homespun-- such as adding a potato to remove saltiness to save dinner.  

Well, GingerMan’s lightning search of the internet proved the number one solution is, indeed, adding potato to your soup to reduce salinity.  I’m not sure how many potatoes this case would have required, but it quite possibly would have created another famine in the homeland, and--sit down for this--Irish Girl had no potatoes.  Zero inventory at 10.20pm on a Friday night.  We’ve been cutting down.  Our bloodwork looks normal, but our spud situation was dismal.

The next two suggestions were Cider Vinegar and Honey or Sugar.  I had every other sort of vinegar, and the recipe had already called for lemon, so the acidity was high.  So I went for the honey.  Did nothing for the saltiness, but I will be adding 2TB honey to the next batch because it reaaaalllly enriched the smokey flavor from the ham hocks.  

GingerMan and I stood over the pot, gazing woefully into the murky green depths and decided to give it a night.  I took it out the next day and all the marrow-y, gelatin-y, smokey ham goodness added to the earthy peas and underlying sweetness of the honey and thyme was simply divine...

Then our mouths sucked dry like a Bugs Bunny cartoon as we ate a bowlful each.

Peas Porridge in the Bin One Day Old.

Sometimes you will be brilliant.  A lot of the time you will be pretty good if you follow all the directions and learn from a few mis-steps.

Every once in a while, you gotta mis-step all the way to the trash with whatever burnt, charred, slimy, runny, salty mess you’ve concocted, make a lot of notes and try again.

Saturday 19 October:

Pease Porridge Hot...
Yesterday was Pea Soup Day again. I doubled the recipe but used two hocks due to their buxom, salty nature.  I had added extra peas to the first batch as a salt-reducing measure, to no avail, but the contrast in textures was quite nice so this go-around I added a portion of the peas later, with the carrots. I omitted all salt until having tasted at the very end, potatoes were on-hand, and both were entirely unneeded.  

Pease Porridge Cold...
The soup was fridged for the night. Let it relax, give the ham bone essence and split peas time to meld. Today's early tasting was ZOMGYUM! Rich, super-thick, smooth but chewy, just enough carrot and wicked smokey-hammy. I'm learning!

Pease Porridge in My Pot, Wiser and Older.
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