jbsegal: (Default)
[personal profile] jbsegal
So, I wasn't hosting a seder this year, but I was planning on providing soup and charoset at one, one which ended up not happening.

Subsequently, I've had a lot of leftover soup and matzah ball mix, and charoset left over.

Soup: I've noted elsewhere: "I have always started with an initial boil of various lengths (Mom called for 2-3 hours), I've varied over the years from that to ~6) that produces something that's never right to begin with - no matter whose meat/water/veg proportions I use.
It's then strained.

It's worth noting that even when I've precisely followed Cooks Illustrated's recipe precisely, this 1st boil has always completely failed to produce something that is like soup to me. I'm... always sort of perplexed by this. Ok, utterly confused."

This year, being the year of the Instant Pot, I decided to start with iPotted stock, via http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/04/pressure-cooker-chicken-stock-recipe.html - modified by adding dill and a parsnip, subtracting the garlic, and taking the celery out after the 1st batch, because it wasn't right.

... and by 1st batch I meant 1st 3 batches. Thanks to [personal profile] kimberlogic and [personal profile] ahf, I had 3 pots to work with, and then did a 2nd run for 6 batches in total, 12Kg chicken, and just about 12q of water. I believe what came out of the 1st boil was something like 12-12.5q of broth, and about 1q of shmaltz. Yes, more stock than water.

... And that stock was... still not right. Tastier than average for my 1st boil, but still not what I want for my end product, or even for a soup I'm ready to eat then. I still don't understand it at all.



As for matzah balls, when I got home from the emergency backup seder I went to on Monday, I boiled up a batch as the seder had been sadly soup-free (but otherwise lovely!) and I wanted some.

They were rocks. They're usually dense, but this was ridiculous. Also, somehow despite all the salt I'd put in, they were nearly salt-free in taste.

Over the next couple of days, I asked everyone with experience for their matzah ball recipe. It seems to be that mom, back when she was giving me the full instructions for her seder experience, halved the amount of fat that goes in to them. I went and added enough extra fat to bring them in line with normal recipes, and more salt.

And then I went and asked if anyone had ever pressure cooked matzah balls. The answer is Of Course They Have, and [personal profile] tamidon pointed me at http://foodsforlonglife.blogspot.com/2017/03/instant-pot-matzo-ball-soup.html and so, mindful of the caution [profile] pookfreak had about not overboiling due to the time bringing cold soup to boil, I brought the soup to low pressure and immediately opened it, then added the mix. 15 min high pressure, quick release... voila, they were _excellent_. Ok, still not enough salt, but other than that...


On to the haroset: 1# of Macintosh (4 small) to .5# of Granny Smith (1 large), 1# walnuts, WAY more nutmeg than I usually add, due to an more-aggressive than I'm used to grater, cassia, and wine... worked excellently! MAYBE a bit less nutmeg, or a bit more cinnamon.


And FINALLY! Allison was feeling driven and stripped off all the chicken meat (cardboard as usual, as its been boiled free of ALL its flavor, fat, etc.) so I contacted old family friends for the chicken croquettes recipe that for years was the standard destination for such chicken meat in my childhood. I got that yesterday and haven't yet had a chance to make it - it's just a thick white sauce, mix in the shredded chicken to the right texture, bread (or matzah meal) and fry. I hope to do this soon.

So yeah, despite not actually serving food to people, I've had good progress this year in making everything better for next year. Yay!

(NOW let's see how this wall of text looks when it's cross-dumped to FB. No cut.)

Date: 2017-04-16 03:12 am (UTC)
kelkyag: A cluster of red-blushed yellow apples on a tree (apples)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
<eyes the linked chicken broth recipe>
<discards parsley>
<adds black peppercorns, alspice berries, cloves, rosemary, more garlic, and SALT>

What do you usually do to get the stock from "first boil" to "something you want to eat"?

Date: 2017-04-16 04:14 am (UTC)
kelkyag: A cluster of red-blushed yellow apples on a tree (apples)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
I'm not on facebook, and they don't like making looking for things there while not logged in easy. May I have a link, if it's readable from outside?

Dill, huh? Definitely not my chicken broth. But also, salt!

Date: 2017-04-16 05:50 am (UTC)
kelkyag: A cluster of red-blushed yellow apples on a tree (apples)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
Huh. Looks like you like your broth a lot darker than I'm used to. Dunno! I have McGee's On Food and Cooking if you'd like to read what he has to say about the Maillard reaction.

Do you salt the soup at all before boiling matzo balls in it?

ETA: Thank you for the links!
Edited Date: 2017-04-16 05:51 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-16 07:46 pm (UTC)
sauergeek: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sauergeek
Consider adding a bit of celery seed in place of the celery if you still want that flavor. (Warning: celery seed, being tiny, will just go through many strainers.) Or, instead of celery seed, consider cumin, coriander, or dill seed.

I'd also ponder whether to add sage, but I don't know if I would. For me, that'd be a case of "smell the stuff cooking, smell the sage" and possibly going back and forth a couple times before making the decision.

Date: 2017-04-17 05:48 pm (UTC)
drwex: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drwex
Glad you found something good. Pygment makes a decent soup though over the years I've been noodging her to make it closer to what I want. We have a compromise these days.

This was also the first year of making matzo balls in the pressure cooker pot. They came out quite well but I've no idea what (if any) recipe she follows.

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