Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ham Bone Soup

This is a very easy soup to make. It is a long simmering soup about 9 hours total.
Start it first thing, early in the morning and plan on eating around 6PM or so.
It is a very yummy tasting soup.
This recipe makes a lot of soup but you can freeze it.
Don't forget crusty rolls or better yet a dark rye bread with butter.

What you need to cook in: AKA Utensils
1 really big soup pot with lid.
1 heavy, long handled spoon, wooden or metal, to stir with.

What you need to cook with: AKA Ingredients
• 3 Cups of dried bean soup mixture, soaked in cold water overnight
• 1 ham bone
• 2 1/2 cups cubed ham
• 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
• 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
• 5 large carrots, coarsely chopped
• 2 cans of mushrooms
• 1 large can diced spiced tomatoes (if possible)with liquid or stewed tomatoes.
• 1 450 ML bottle of veggie cocktail
• 3 cups vegetable broth
• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons of chopped or minced garlic in oil
• 3 Shakes of Barbados Pepper Sauce
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons lemon juice
• 7 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth
(Or make your own with chicken bullion cubes or dry mix)
• 1 teaspoon salt if needed(add to taste near the end of cooking)
• 2 cups kernel corn, frozen or canned
• 2 cups frozen baby Lima beans

What you need to do: AKA Directions
Take the soaked beans out of the overnight water and place them into a large pot.
Fill with enough clean water to cover by about 1 inch.
Bring to a boil, then simmer over low for 30 minutes.
Drain the water out. Leave the beans in.
Add the ham bone, chopped ham, onion, celery, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, vegetable juice, and vegetable broth. Season with Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, pepper sauce, bay leaves, pepper, and lemon juice.
Pour in enough of the chicken broth to cover the ingredients.
Simmer over low heat, lid on pot and stirring occasionally, for about 8 hours.
Add more chicken broth as needed throughout the day.
Remove the ham bone.
Season soup with more salt if needed.
Add more pepper or whatever you think it needs at this point.
The soup should suit your taste.
Continue to simmer for a couple more hours.
30 minutes before soup is ready to be served add the frozen/canned corn and the Lima beans.
Remove bay leaves before serving.

I didn't add potatoes but you could if you wanted to for the last hour of cooking. You would want them diced not left in large chunks.
I really liked the Lima beans and corn added to the soup but it would be just as good without them. You could also add frozen green beans if you wish. Also if you don't like mushrooms leave them out. It won't ruin the soup. You really can't do anything wrong with this soup. Spinach....well if not too much why not? Too much though and the flavour might be to overpowering. I would use frozen chopped spinach if I was going to add it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why Not Soup

The great thing about this soup is that you can add or subtract any ingredient. Just pick up whatever you think you would like to add, look it over, say “Why Not?” and throw it into the pot …or not. This is a really easy soup to make. Don't let the long list of directions scare you.

1 large stock/soup pot with lid
1 frying pan
1 spatula
Measuring cup….or not
IMPORTANT NOTE! I DID NOT USE exact measurements as I was making this soup so please remember that the following measurements are only approximates.
18 Cups of Water
¼ to ½ cup of powdered chicken soup base
½ of a 500 gram package of maple bacon roughly chopped into larger pieces*
Drippings from bacon**
1 Can drained sliced mushrooms
1 pk (284 ml) pkg frozen spinach
1+½ Cup frozen mixed veggies (I used a carrot/broccoli/cauliflower mix).
1 drained can of whole kernel corn (341 ml)
2 Cups coarsely chopped cabbage
1 Package of potato gnocchi (500 Gram pkg.)***
1 Cup of elbow macaroni ****
1-2 Cups of milk*****
4 – 5 Drops of Barbados Hot Pepper Sauce ******
3-4 really, really generous splashes of Soya Sauce.
Fresh Ground Pepper (or regular pepper) to taste.
Take a large stock/soup pot and fill with the water.
Add dried chicken soup base stock. Bring up to a boil.
Add spinach, gnocchi, corn, cabbage, soy sauce, pepper sauce.
Keep the stock at a boil until you get to the ◊“Cover & Simmer”◊ instructions.
Fry up bacon and throw into the pot.**
Add mushrooms to the bacon drippings, cover and sauté.
Once the mushrooms start to get really browned with the edges starting to get crispy but not burnt add to them and the bacon drippings to stock pot.
Use a spatula to make sure you get all the bacon drippings out of the frying pan and into the pot. ◊Cover pot and simmer.◊
Let it cook on medium at a hard simmer. Check it once in a while and stir. After about 45 minutes or so taste the soup. If it tastes bland or needs something add whatever spice you like.
I didn’t add salt, onion or garlic to my soup as I didn’t feel it needed it. However if you think it is necessary you can add some salt or dried minced onion or garlic or both. Or maybe add a bit more Soya sauce. Just keep tasting before adding more of any flavouring. You don’t want to overpower the taste of the veggies & bacon.
Add the pasta and stir.***
Turn down the heat to a slow simmer. Keep an eye on the pot and be sure to scrape the bottom often as the macaroni may stick. Once the macaroni is cooked to the a la dente stage (don’t overcook the pasta!) turn the pot to low. Immediately add freshly ground pepper (or shaker pepper) and stir.
Let this simmer to get blended in, for a few minutes. Slowly add the milk to the soup. I put in the first cup & then added more as I tasted until it was how I liked it. Turn off the heat.
Let the soup rest for a few minutes with the lid on. Give a final stir and serve.
*Using regular smoked bacon will definitely change the taste of this soup. If you do use a smoked bacon try adding a bit of maple syrup to it as it is frying but watch that the syrup doesn’t burn! Do not use pancake syrup. It tastes nothing like real maple syrup!
**Fry up and add more bacon if you don’t think you have enough.
***If gnocchi is frozen, defrost before adding to the soup.
****Next time I make this soup I think I will use less macaroni or none at all and add some barley instead. I will also use only ¾ of a can of corn. I think I might also try sautéing some finely chopped onion in a small amount of butter in a separate pan from the bacon and adding it to the soup.
***** I used 1% milk because that’s what we drink
****** Hubby John read once, that a very minute amount of hot sauce added to anything you cook will bring out the flavor of whatever it is that you are cooking. I use it in almost all of the stews, soups, roasts & casseroles I cook. I only add a very tiny amount because I do not want to make the dish spicy flavored. Try it and see the difference it makes when you add it to your cooking.

Monday, February 15, 2010

BBQ Pulled Pork In A Crock Pot

This recipe was courtesy of daughter Jaime who is a mighty fine cook.
As I do with all my recipes I tweaked it to my taste.
This recipe is beyond easy to make.
Sorry BUT I tend to ramble sometimes so

1 Pork Roast - Size depends on the size of your crock pot. (1*see note below)
1 or 2 Bottles of BBQ sauce. (2** see note below)
1 Tablespoon of regular yellow mustard
Salt & Pepper
Maple Syrup or 3 large squirts of pancake syrup. (3*** see note below)
Soft crusty rolls or hamburger buns
Shredded lettuce, thin sliced onions, pickles or whatever choice of condiments you prefer.

Dump the entire bottle(s) of BBQ sauce, salt and pepper,
yellow mustard and the syrup (if using) into crock pot.
Add pork roast and turn it over and over and over to ensure the meat is completely
coated with and immersed down in the sauce.

1*Next time I make this I will cut the pork in half through the he middle of the roast so the pieces are smaller and fit down deeper into the crock pot. Then I will add extra sauce
so the pork in completely immersed in the liquid.
(I don't mean that you cut the amount of meat in half I mean that you slice the
pork roast in knew that didn't you?....I am going to stop now...)

2**Make sure there is enough BBQ sauce to cover the pork completely.
I have a really big crock pot. I used one bottle of sauce only and thought that the sauce was really skimpy.
Also make sure the BBQ sauce you use is one of your very favourites! I couldn't get my favourite sauce so I bought and used one that I have tried before and though was OK in a pinch. The dish turned out good BUT I figure if the final product tasted that GOOD with my second choice of sauce, how GREAT will it taste with our number one choice of BBQ sauce? I can hardly wait to make this again with my fave BBQ sauce.

#3*** The syrup was not called for in the original recipe and was added by me. I would have used real maple syrup but I didn't have enough on hand so I had to use the pancake syrup. It worked out OK.
I like a more sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, that is why I added the sweet stuff.

Put the ingredients in the pot and set the temperature setting to LOW.
Make sure you use the low setting. Don't be tempted to use the High setting or I guarantee you that you will be a unhappy camper with very dried out, tough pork.
So put it on LOW and let it cook for 7 to 8 hours.
Supper will be done when you get home from work or shopping or gardening or whatever.

Just before you sit down to eat, take the pork out of the crock pot and shred it with two forks, put the shredded meat back into the sauce and stir until everything is coated again.
Put the crock liner in the middle of the table (on a hot pot pad of course) and let everyone serve themselves.
Take a large spoon of the meat with sauce and put on your buns
(the hamburger buns or crusty rolls...not your buns...unless your into that type of thing and I don't want to know about it if you are)
then add...or do not add... chopped lettuce and/or condiments.
Yum!!! Yum!!! Yum!!!!