Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Kitchen Kemistry - Fixing acidic soup?

Apparently, adding baking soda really does work!
Tonight was the second time I made a dish that normally has meat, without meat, and ended up with super acidic soup. The first time, it was a tomato-lime tortilla soup which was fixed by adding chicken stock. Some cursory Googling and cooking-message-board-reading prompted me to try the baking soda thing with tonight's chili verde, which tasted like instant heartburn of the tongue (as though the tongue had its own digestive tract) from the combination of SUPER ACID tomatillos and an excessive amount of chili peppers. (Two crushed dried arbol chiles, one large crushed dried ancho, one large crushed mystery chile purchased somewhere in the Southwest...probably a Safeway in Santa Fe...plus half a jalapeno and a whole New Mexico chile.) The other thing recommended by the message-board-posters was to add meat to the chili. There were various reasons listed for this, mostly that the "protein" would do something about the acid. Which made me wonder................was my chili super acidic because I made it without meat? In addition to making sure one gets the right proteins and iron and other nutrients, is unappetizingly acidic food ANOTHER thing vegetarians have to worry about?????
I do not know. I kind of suck at chemistry. I dropped Organic Chemistry twice.*
The major difference between this and other chili verde batches I've made is that I saved the water used to cook the dried beans, and used it as a kind of stock to cook the tomatillos and everything else. But beans aren't acidic, right? So why would that create a problem? If this "protein" thing is accurate, wouldn't they help?
Maybe I just had really strong tomatillos.
Anyway, in case this post is discovered by other Googlers, adding baking soda (a 1/4 tsp at a time!) does fix your soup/stew/chili.
I also added more liquid smoke and some maple syrup, but that was just for flavor.
And so, my Blog Posting Month (which began on November 8th) ends with Kitchen Kemistry! (Chemistry in the Chitchen?)

I started a draft of a year's-end-type post yesterday; that will be up eventually. I would have finished it tonight, but it needs lengthy editing and I want that valuable time to keep reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. I may be inaccessible until I finish reading the book.

*The first time, it was Honors and I was taking a very heavy courseload, so that's understandable. The second time, I could have gotten my respectable C, but at the expense of getting A's in my other courses, and I discovered I didn't actually need Organic Chem to graduate.

No comments: