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Karen/NoCA

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Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:33 pm

I made a pot of Anasazi beans and ham hock soup yesterday. Ham hocks, were cooked with carrots, onion, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, then strained; the stock was in fridge overnight to congeal the fat which was removed yesterday morning. Cooked the beans in the stock, added carrot, onion, garlic, potato, celery, bay leaf, thyme sprigs. It is OK but not excellent. Not sure if my ham hocks were in the freezer too long (two months) they were not burned, and were very meaty. What can I add to take them over the top? Cumin, orange zest, ???? I am feeling they need a fresh taste, or some warm spices, or both?
Any idea to make them more flavorful?
I did notice when I tasted the stock after I took it off the stove and before I strained it and put it into the fridge, it did not have the taste it usually has. I buy my ham hocks from one place because they have always been excellent. Maybe these were a bit off from the usual.
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Jenise » Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:39 pm

Sounds like the soup just lacks intensity. Do you ever add wine to your bean soups? I always add dry white vermouth, it intensifies all the flavors. I like the spices you suggest but also wonder if you don't need to just pour off the broth, add some wine and more broth and then reduce it to concentrate the flavors, and put that back.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:42 pm

Intensity and the wine (vermouth ) trick.....great idea. I had a Lousianna Hot Link in the freezer, so I browned it up nicely, cut into very thin slices (so I could get lots of that flavor pop) added the vermouth, heated gently for about 20 minutes, tasted. What a difference! Think I will add a bit of fresh parsley from the herb garden tonight when we have it again! I think a little longer cooking to marry the hot link and wine into the rest of the soup, and it will be 100%! Thanks, too, for the prompt reply. Could not wait to get to it....hate it when something does not turn out the way I know it should. :lol:
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Robin Garr » Sat Dec 28, 2013 5:26 pm

Other thoughts to build in a little more umami: A dab of tomato paste and/or a shot of soy sauce - not enough to give it an Asian flavor, just to kick that umami thing up a notch. And while you didn't mention it, browning the onions before using them can add a huge flavor component. I know none of this is new to you, Karen, but sometimes it helps to go back and think step by step.

I'm not surprised that the shot of vermouth and the sausage link did it favors, too. :)
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Fred Sipe » Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:19 pm

...and a mashed anchovy or 2.
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:42 pm

Robin Garr wrote:Other thoughts to build in a little more umami: A dab of tomato paste and/or a shot of soy sauce - not enough to give it an Asian flavor, just to kick that umami thing up a notch. And while you didn't mention it, browning the onions before using them can add a huge flavor component. I know none of this is new to you, Karen, but sometimes it helps to go back and think step by step.

I'm not surprised that the shot of vermouth and the sausage link did it favors, too. :)

I did brown the onions, then added the other veggies for a saute.. I really think the flavor of the ham hocks were off. As I stated above, when I tasted the stock it was not the same as other times I have made it.

I love Anasazi beans, they hold up so well, do not require much soaking, cook up beautifully, and always taste great. It all boiled down to the stock. Anyway, the sausage did give it a pop, and the vermouth gave it a nice flavor booster. I've never added vermouth to my bean dishes before. We had it for lunch today, instead of dinner, and Gene agreed they tasted much better. :)
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Frank Deis » Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:17 am

Sounds like the problem is solved.

BUT whenever I make soup I try to remember to put in a leek. It kinda dissolves into the soup and gives a wonderful umami note, and it's appropriate in nearly every soup (hmm, bourride? probably).
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Karen/NoCA » Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:22 pm

Frank Deis wrote:Sounds like the problem is solved.

BUT whenever I make soup I try to remember to put in a leek. It kinda dissolves into the soup and gives a wonderful umami note, and it's appropriate in nearly every soup (hmm, bourride? probably).

I love leeks too, and use them a lot. I did not have any when I made the soup, having used them along with a roast chicken a few days prior. I find so many uses for them, and yes, they do impart a pleasant, savory flavor.
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Jenise » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:18 pm

Fred Sipe wrote:...and a mashed anchovy or 2.


This reminds me that someone gifted me a tube of umami paste awhile back. I've not used it so can't comment on its goodness or efficacy, but it's interesting that such a thing is available.
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by James Dietz » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:11 pm

Jenise wrote:
Fred Sipe wrote:...and a mashed anchovy or 2.


This reminds me that someone gifted me a tube of umami paste awhile back. I've not used it so can't comment on its goodness or efficacy, but it's interesting that such a thing is available.


What in the world is in it?
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Hoke » Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:48 am

James Dietz wrote:
Jenise wrote:
Fred Sipe wrote:...and a mashed anchovy or 2.


This reminds me that someone gifted me a tube of umami paste awhile back. I've not used it so can't comment on its goodness or efficacy, but it's interesting that such a thing is available.


What in the world is in it?


According to the pitches on the retail sites,

tomato, garlic, anchovy paste, black olives, balsamic vinegar, porcini mushrooms, parmesan cheese, olive oil and just a touch of sugar and salt.
I wonder if there's MSG in it---which is the base ingredient in ajinomoto.
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Frank Deis

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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Frank Deis » Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:22 pm

MSG is the defining element in umami. Whether you are getting it from beef stew, fried mushrooms, soy sauce, avocado, or tomato paste, the receptors on your tongue are signaling that they see monosodium glutamate. That's one reason why I have trouble believing people who say they have MSG allergy. Wouldn't chicken soup make you break out in hives or have an attack or whatever if that were true? Commercial MSG is indistinguishable from the MSG released by cooking meat or hydrolyzing vegetable proteins…
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Hoke » Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:07 pm

Frank Deis wrote:MSG is the defining element in umami. Whether you are getting it from beef stew, fried mushrooms, soy sauce, avocado, or tomato paste, the receptors on your tongue are signaling that they see monosodium glutamate. That's one reason why I have trouble believing people who say they have MSG allergy. Wouldn't chicken soup make you break out in hives or have an attack or whatever if that were true? Commercial MSG is indistinguishable from the MSG released by cooking meat or hydrolyzing vegetable proteins…


Agreed, Frank.

I think the MSG allergy thing is akin to the sulfites allergy thingie and the gluten allergy...over-reaction and imagination. except for a statistically tiny segment of the population. On the other hand, if you're a part of that segment...

That considered, I think many Asian restaurants tended to go overboard with their MSG amounts, resulting in primarily headaches and general discomfort for many customers. But how else you gonna tenderize that alley cat, eh? One of the "secrets" of Asian cooking, not as fincky as standard western, is that if you chop it into small enough bits and pound the fiber into submission, you can serve it as a main course. (Of course, in the great American tradition, McDonald's took that concept to its greatest heights with the brilliant McNuggets, and the even more brilliant McRib.) :lol:
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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Jenise » Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:33 pm

Frank Deis wrote:That's one reason why I have trouble believing people who say they have MSG allergy. Wouldn't chicken soup make you break out in hives or have an attack or whatever if that were true? Commercial MSG is indistinguishable from the MSG released by cooking meat or hydrolyzing vegetable proteins…


I have the same problem. For our neighborhood Christmas dinner this year, I was surprised that two of the 40 people we served let us know before hand--somewhat too eagerly it seemed to me--"By the way, I'm gluten-free now." They weren't last year, and they didn't get sick either! Wasn't sure what they expected me to do with the information (I did nothing--they're adults, they can eat what they want). (Meanwhile, we had one new guest who keeps kosher, but she said nothing about it in advance, she just let us know after reading the menu that she would like more of this and none of that--precisely how people who need to opt out of courses in big events should handle it.)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Karen/NoCA

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Re: Ham Hock and Anasazi Bean Soup not up to par

by Karen/NoCA » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:53 pm

(Meanwhile, we had one new guest who keeps kosher, but she said nothing about it in advance, she just let us know after reading the menu that she would like more of this and none of that--precisely how people who need to opt out of courses in big events should handle it.)
I agree! I have a dil who won't eat red meat (never has) just chicken, turkey and seafood. But she will eat bacon. She has a texture thing. Her daughter announced last year at 10, that she was a vegatarian. We are a big meat eating family (yes, everyone has had a long life) I don't dwell on it when they are here, I just make an extra veggie dish, or like this year for Thanksgiving I took the bits of meat out of my dressing. Never missed it. Also, made an extra veggie dish, and a green salad. All was well. I have not run into gluten/lactose/ folks yet, but frankly I think it is a trend more than a health issue for some. Kind of the "in" way to be.

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