Tag Archive for 'soup'

A Hole In The Osmazome* Layer [Updated with results]

A Hole In The Osmazome* Layer [Updated with results]

26-Jun, Saturday, 9:08 a.m. Good morning! I have just completed what I consider Stage One of Portable Soup, which took twelve hours (largely unattended simmering…okay, you caught me, I slept through most of it). This recipe has intrigued me for months, since it aims to help the cook produce highly condensed soup that can be diluted and used later–sort of a proto-bouillon. Stage one was very reminiscent of making stock, except for the overnight simmering instead of five hours.

A huge pile of meat scrap, veggies, herbs, and spices.

Twelve Hours Later, Broth Forms

The leftovers with all the goodness simmered out.

The result was a golden, slightly viscous liquid that was very similar to the stocks I’ve been making. My next step is to let it sit in the fridge for 4-6 hours until the fat settles out, and then back to boiling. I’ll let you know how it’s going.

27-Jun, Sunday, 12:16 p.m.

Well, after many hours of soup-reducing toil, we have results. Are they the proper results? I am unsure.

Stage Two commenced Saturday afternoon after I entered the original post above. I removed my large pot of strained broth from the refrigerator and skimmed off much of the still-liquidy fat that had risen to the top. Then I started to boil. And boil, and boil, and BOIL. Beeton’s called for eight hours of boiling, which I thought sounded a little excessive (which, admittedly, is keeping with the spirit of this entire weekend’s work) so I kept an eye on things.

The broth had boiled down about as low as I felt comfortable letting it go over open heat in about two hours, and the reduction was maybe one-sixth of the size it had started at in my large stockpot.

Condensed stock. You can see how the fat is already separating out moments after taking it off the hob.

The broth at this point smelled rich and delicious, and looked like fresh espresso. My sister was over and we joked that it was so concentrated if you drank the glass you would instantly gain 600 pounds. I set it aside overnight covered so it could do its final settle and fat separation.

Cold Goo Almost Ready for Stage Three

This morning I was greeted by a stewpot full of goo: Stage Three. I carefully peeled off the thin layer of fat and transferred the goo into the bowl I would be using as a makeshift double boiler. A double boiler is something else I have not bothered to invest in. What do you think, worth it?

You Encounter a Gelatinous Cube!

After two hours of double boiler action, the soup seemed reduced down enough to maybe harden into cakes. Maybe? I was unsure.

Beeton’s suggests using them in walnut-sized chunks, so I decided to just form the like that in the first place, in this handy ice cube tray that I never use. After they cool I will pop them out and let them dry out for a while “on a flannel.” These directions are all so nebulous it makes me tear my hair.

7 Cubes that We Pray Can Be Extricated

Aren’t they lovely, though? They look like lacquer or something.

Here is Beeton’s original recipe that so far I am using with very few modifications, if any that I have modified in stages two and three:

PORTABLE SOUP

180. INGREDIENTS – 2 knuckles of veal, 3 shins of beef, 1 large faggot of herbs, 2 bay-leaves, 2 heads of celery, 3 onions, 3 carrots, 2 blades of mace, 6 cloves, a teaspoonful of salt, sufficient water to cover all the ingredients.

Mode.—Take the marrow from the bones; put all the ingredients in a stock-pot, and simmer slowly for 12 hours, or more, if the meat be not done to rags; strain it off, and put it in a very cool place; take off all the fat, reduce the liquor in a shallow pan, by setting it over a sharp fire, but be particular that it does not burn; boil it fast and uncovered for 8 hours [two hours seemed like enough], and keep it stirred. Put it into a deep dish, and set it by for a day. Have ready a stewpan of boiling water, place the dish in it, and keep it boiling; stir occasionally, and when the soup is thick and ropy, it is done [again, another two hours]. Form it into little cakes by pouring a small quantity on to the bottom of cups or basins; when cold, turn them out on a flannel to dry. Keep them from the air in tin canisters.

Average cost of this quantity, 16s.

Note.—Soup can be made in 5 minutes with this, by dissolving a small piece, about the size of a walnut, in a pint of warm water, and simmering for 2 minutes. Vermicelli, macaroni, or other Italian pastes, may be added.

* From Beeton’s, in the preface to the soup chapter:

100. OSMAZOME is soluble even when cold, and is that part of the meat which gives flavour and perfume to the stock. The flesh of old animals contains more osmazome than that of young ones. Brown meats contain more than white, and the former make the stock more fragrant. By roasting meat, the osmazome appears to acquire higher properties; so, by putting the remains of roast meats into your stock-pot, you obtain a better flavour.

Blankity Blancmange

Blankity Blancmange

Happy Valentine’s Day! I return after my two week hiatus. Cooking like it is ye olde thymes it not easy if you are traveling out of town for two weekends in a row. I feel refreshed after the trial that was Beefuary, and I am REALLY feeling poultry this month.

A LOT of arrowroot.

I was also not feeling fancy. I was thinking about interesting things I’ve read lately, regarding what people actually ate then, opposed to how they aspired to eat. I think Beeton’s sold a fantasy of that, of what it would be like to have twenty guests coming to dinner, how that would look and how that could affect one’s social status.

[As a related aside, I am reading House of Mirth and in the introduction the author informs us that Edith Wharton's family is the origin of the phrase "Keeping up with the Joneses." (Wharton was born Edith Jones.)]

I had the remains of a cold chicken in the fridge from Thursday night, and I recalled I was always seeing mentions of “cold meat cookery” in Beeton’s–repurposed leftovers from the excesses of dinner parties, perhaps, or what was more likely, regular old leftovers. I decided to make it into minced fowl [956].

A little minced wing

First, you must hand-mince the leftover chicken. I always forget how long it takes to mince meat relatively finely and uniformly. I last did this for my croquettes I made for Christmas. This recipe calls for homemade stock, but I had already chucked my chicken carcass into the carrot soup [120], so I boiled the herbs and chopped onion the stock called for in storebought broth.

This amount should last all year.

Finally, I got to use my mace which I bought specially a few weeks ago, once I realized that every other recipe called for it. I was going to just dash a little nutmeg into everything, but I decided to try the real deal. I don’t know if I am easily fooled or what, but the mace really does taste different to me. I find it fruitier and more harmonious with what it often goes with in Victorian cooking, like chicken or cream sauces.

Mace blades

The recipe called for the broth to be thickened with flour, which is right out for my gluten-intolerant children, so I used a little cornstarch. I am not quite brave enough to throw arrowroot into everything yet, because I don’t always know how much to use or how it will react. Much like the béchamel that I love so much, this broth came out deliciously once the herbs and onion had been steeped in it.

Two eggs from the giant blue cochin

The broth gets stirred in with the chicken, minced hard-boiled egg, and some cream, and it turns into this creamy slurry of herby awesomeness that is excellent on toast. It is like out of control gravy. My girls enjoyed theirs on mashed potatoes.

Minced fowl with broiled buttered bread

I served it with the carrot soup I mentioned, which was different than I expected. I think now we expect vegetable soups to be really pure concentrations of the vegetable they are representing, perhaps thinned with a little stock or water. This soup had onions, a turnip, and enough broth to choke a small army and the recipe says it serves ten. I believe it.

Carrot soup beginnings

I put the chicken carcass in and snapped the small chicken bones to let all their goodness out. The soup simmered for three hours and then I strained it to get the bones out, and then blended it. It doesn’t get any additional herbs or spices and it was wonderful the way it was. Beeton’s notes that the soup should be served the next day, and I cannot wait to try it. I am foisting it on unsuspecting friends who are in the air as I write this, and this after I told them “No Victorian food.”

Dessert was the only little road bump in the meal, and even that was decent and edible. I made blancmange, which is something I’ve always been idly curious about. Blancmange, English-style, is basically a milk jelly. Beeton’s advised stirring in a little brandy at the end, and I had dark rum, so I used that. The recipe also called for steeping lemon peel or bay leaves in the warming milk. I opted for lemon peel, which gave the finished product a really pleasant citrus flavor.

Steeping the milk and lemon "before a fire"

I thickened it with arrowroot, which I bought a large quantity of last month. When it was done simmering, it looked a lot like tinned sweetened condensed milk for baking, and not at all like warm Jell-O does. It was kind of bland and unimposing, and I served it with homemade grape jelly. My one real snag with it was unmolding it. I thought it would slide cooperatively like Jell-O might, but it was stubbornly sticky once decanted. Whoops!

Boing! Whoops. Shit.

The girls enjoy all things gelatinous.

There are a couple more pics at my flickr.