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My chicken soup needs saving!!! :(

m
MarisCrane Mar 11, 2008 05:56 AM

I made what I was hoping was going to be a great chicken soup over the weekend. It was intended to be my lunches at work for the week. But the recipe neglected to mention that the two sliced lemons (the idea was to infuse the broth with the lemon flavour) should be peeled with the pith removed (I know...I should have thought of that...but I was feeling flu-ish, that's why I was making the soup in the first place!!!)

So now the bitterness of the pith has infused the broth as well and I'm stuck with a bitter soup. Anything I can do to counteract it? It's a huge batch, I'd hate to pitch it all...I don't mind good arugula/endive bitter but this is something else...horrible.

Any ideas? Beyond throwing a habanero pepper in to cover up the flavour of the entire dish?? LOL

  1. scoopG Mar 11, 2008 06:10 AM

    how about a touch of rice wine vinegar in addition to the hot pepper? if no rice wine vinegar, then whatever you have on hand.

    1. Uncle Bob Mar 11, 2008 06:35 AM

      Don't ya just hate it!!! Arrrggghhh!! After many moons, after sitting around many council fires this is what I know...If it's too sweet, If it's too hot, If it's too bitter your only recourse (if you want to maintain the integrity of the dish) is to make another batch...with no sugar, no "pepper" and in your case NO lemon. If you start adding "stuff" to mask the bitter...then it's not...Chicken soup anymore..It's...I dunno what you call it. So..toss it and chalk it up to experience, or make another batch..Sans lemon.

      Have Fun!

      PS...Not to worry with a double batch...It freezes well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Uncle Bob
        m
        MarisCrane Mar 11, 2008 05:27 PM

        Couldn't I just make it the next time with lemon juice, not whole lemons since it seems the pith is the problem? I love lemon itself but only the sour part of it LOL...

      2. m
        moh Mar 11, 2008 06:45 AM

        It may be lost as Chicken Soup, but I wouldn't pitch it out. I would experiment with it as chicken stock. Try using it to make a pan sauce for a roast meat of some kind, or use it as a base for a stew or soup, for example a cream of Veggie soup that might go well with lemon. Or perhaps as a risotto stock.Or perhaps the base of a stir fry sauce. Or a sweet and sour sauce. Try a small batch first. If upon using it as a stock you find you can tolerate the taste, then just freeze it up in batches as use anywhere you might need stock. You never know, you may find the lemon pith flavour adds a nice touch to some of your creations. At the very least, you may mask the flavour with other flavours and avoid wastage.

        1. chef chicklet Mar 11, 2008 08:03 AM

          This is just a hunch but I would add, vinegar and ginger. Then proceed to make a Hot and Sour soup. Also there is a Greek soup made with lemon, Avgolemono Soup? spelling? Rice and chicken-lemon broth based.
          I'm wondering if your taste buds are off with this flu you have, that happens to me with viruses, only I'll get the taste of ammonia.
          Anyway. I often throw the whole peel of limes and lemons into the dish I'm making, I don't get a "bitter" taste.

          1. c
            cimui Mar 11, 2008 08:13 AM

            Augh. I hate when this happens! I recently ruined a perfectly good batch of soup with salt-preserved sardines that I bought on impulse at a froufy Italian market, didn't really know how to use, and didn't want to pitch because of the price. I'd heard that if you sneak an anchovy or two into tomato sauce, it lends the sauce depth, but no fishiness, and thought that salted sardines in soup might work the same way. Alas, I just ended up with fishy soup. It tasted fairly awful -- so awful even my usually ravenous puppy wouldn't try it.

            So I'm with Uncle Bob and Moh. Use it as stock if it's not too bitter or perhaps add some cream to make the soup more mild on the tongue (chef chicklet's avgolemono soup uses milk and butter to similar effect). If it's really that bitter, though, I'm afraid that pitching it is your best option.

            1. DanaB Mar 11, 2008 08:21 AM

              I recently made the lemonade recipe from Frank Stitt's book, and it called for steeping whole sliced lemons in boiling water sweetened with sugar and honey. I too found the flavor imparted by the peel/pith a little too bitter for my taste and won't repeat the recipe. My lemonade was drinkable, however, because it was sweetened. Before you pitch your whole batch of soup, maybe try adding a little sugar to see if it counter-balances the bitter without making the soup too sweet.

              The idea of making a greek avgolemono-inspired dish is a good one, too. In my Rosemary Barron's Flavors of Greece, she has several recipes, from soup to sauce, that are based on a lemony broth. For the sauce, she calls for lemon juice to be whisked into three egg yolks, and then drizzle 8 ozs of chicken broth into the base, whisking until emulsified. You could experiment by leaving out the lemon juice and whisking some of your broth into whisked egg yolks. Barron says this sauce is good over almost any dish that doesn't include garlic or tomatoes, and especially over fish dishes and vegetable dishes (such as asparagus and new potatoes).

              For the chicken avgolemono soup, she calls for 3-1/2 pints strong homemade chicken stock, 2-1/2 oz raw rice, 4 eggs, juice of two lemons, salt and pepper to taste, and 2 T. parsley for serving.

              Cook the rice in the soup and remove soup from heat, Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff, about 4 minutes. Beat in the yolks and lemon juice (in your case, leave out the lemon juice), whisking for one more minute. Remove a ladle-ful of the hot stock and slowly beat it into the egg mixture (this raises the temperature of the egg mixture so it doesn't curdle when added to the soup). Whisk the egg/lemon/broth mixture into the soup. Season with salt/pepper, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. She cautions not to reheat the soup after egg mixture has been added to the soup.

              1 Reply
              1. re: DanaB
                jayt90 Mar 11, 2008 05:52 PM

                If not Greek, like Dana, an Indian soup with cumin, coriander, fenugreek and so on will soak up the lemon.

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