Thursday, November 21, 2013

Drowning in the possibilities, a Soup disaster.

Sopa Castellana an interesting Spanish Soup, that I was beyond excited to try to make. It has been chilly some in the evenings here in the Austin area and I thought soup would be a great thing to make one night and went for it. I ran to the grocery, the special grocery and got the necissary ingredients, though I will say I did not purchase veal bones, I purchased a shank along with a shank of beef; this was a cost prohibitive soup, the veal was expensive, regardless I did the best with what I had an gave it a go.

Blog-checking lines: Our November Daring Cooks’ hostess was Begoña, who writes the beautiful blog, Las recetas de Marichu y las mías. Begoña is from Spain and didn’t want to go with the more common challenges of paella or gazpacho, she wanted to share with us another very popular recipe from Spain that we don’t see as often called Sopa Castellana which is a delicious bread soup!

So what's a girl to do. I had the recipe and was ready to go, I should say this was my first time making beef stock from scratch. I often use a boxed stock, my go to is the Kitchen basics, but I though I would give it a go. I mean it is boiling meat, bones, vegetables, and water for a lengthy amount of time, skimming of the gunk and then you should have liquid gold right? Wrong! My stock was terrible, it tasted more like vegetable water with only the flavor of the vegetables coming through, celery to be exact. I was so disappointed but kept on going thinking maybe I was just overly picky and used to salty stock since I use store bought so often. On to the soup.

I had the Serrano Ham, the garlic, and the bread all ready to go and it was cooking away in the pot, boy were my expectations high. Once that was ready I added the stock, which from here on out shall be called vegetable water, and gently simmered the soup with such high hopes. Once it had simmered it's required amount of time, I pulled my soup crocks out which I use almost exclusively for my French Onion Soup, and began ladling in the soup over some bread that I had in the bowl. Then I added the egg, one to each bowl as it was just the hubs and me; and waited for the temperature of the soup to do it's thing, apprehensively so, as I am a stickler about cooked eggs.

Needless to say that nights dinner ended up being Whataburger for us. My soup never recovered from being just vegetable water. Additionally between the Serrano Ham and the olive oil it was like a giant oil slick on the top. I contemplated trying one of the other options available to us from the hostess, but decided against it. I may try one of the others in the future but it will not be any time soon.

So what went wrong with the vegetable water? I did a bit of research and I can only come up with a few options. The first I used too much meat and not enough bone. According to what I have found you really need several pounds of bones, preferably roasted and if they are big marrow bones they should be cracked a bit. The next place I went wrong is once the bones are in the water according to the research I have done they cook for hours, I am not talking the two or three hours suggested in the recipe I had, but 17hours- 2 or 3 days, this is so not happening in my house. Then the other things I read were regarding the vegetables that are added, many said to be cautious about the amount of celery you add, as it can overpower, I am going to guess that means not the whole bunch like I added. Additionally my research informed me that chicken stock is more manageable then beef or veal stock. Regardless the most important thing in this whole experience was that I enjoyed the process, if I am not enjoying the process then it is not worth it to me, if I am at least enjoying the process then while the meal was not a success the experience was. So now onto the photos...

The meat, pre vegetable water status.
Here is the soup waiting for the egg to cook.
Here is the soup when it is "ready." Ashley and I both tasted it, we were both disappointed.
I have other photos to share, but at this moment I am not certain where my camera is as our kitchen flooded following the preparation of this dish, and things got moved around haphazardly; should I find it I will add more later. I will finish with this last thought, even if it is a disaster it is important to try making and eating new things, there are always other options around the corner if it is a failure. Happy Cooking. 


  1. You get full credits for attempting that stock. Live and learn experience :)When I make stock, it is with stuff I've stashed in a freezer bag and accumulated, mostly chicken bones. Don't believe in paying for bones.

    1. Claudia, thanks, I seldom seem to ever have bones to put in a stash in the freezer, certainly something to try to remember. And you are correct a TOTAL live and learn experience. Thank you so much for stopping by!