Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fixing a foul-up

I received this anonymous post via FB the other day:

Dear GG -
I have a hot mess - literally - on my hands. I tried to make butternut squash soup in my Vitamix. After adding all the ingredients I thought it tasted bland. In my newbie cook wisdom, I added a packet that you use to make chicken stock. Now it's a weird. salty disaster. Please come take it off my hands!
Harried & Hopeless

I took at look at a Vitamix cookbook and see that this dish is composed of Butternut Squash, chicken stock, pumpkin pie type spices and maple syrup. Hmmm.
The first step in salvaging this dish is to undo the damage made via H&H's improv. Things like chicken (or beef or veggie) bouillion cubes or packets of powdered stuff of this ilk tend to be heavy in sodium (I just peaked at a packet of HerbOx and "Salt" indeed is the first ingredient listed) -- that's why they taste so yummy simply added to hot water! In this case we simply add the cup of water that the directions say a packet of bouillion ought to be dissolved in to create a "tasty hot beverage."
This bring us back to your basic bland soup (now a bit more chicken-y than at the very start).

Now we tackle that problem. Because the sweetness has already been emphasized, the additions should harmonize it or add a subtle juxtaposition.
* We start by taking a good sized onion (just the biggest one from a regular bag of yellow onions is fine); cutting it in half, dicing up one half fairly fine, and then cutting the other piece in half again and then slicing that.
*saute all that in 2 TBLS of cooking oil (which adds some fat content which should also alleviate the blandness) until the onion's all nice and brown i.e. carmelized
*add that to your soup
*also add a tsp of either cayenne pepper or Chile Morita (I think the latter would be esp. cool because of it's smokiness - which will complement the maple syrup)
let the whole schmegeggee simmer 30 minutes so that these new flavors work their way through everything

This should be fine the way it is but if yr shovelling snow and need to replenish some calories you could add some lightly buttered toast, or unflavored or butter flavored croutons, etc.

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