I’ve written before about how I like to take random ingredients from the refrigerator and pantry and make a meal out of them. I was going to share a similar recent experience when I found some ground chicken, leftover tomato sauce, can of cannellini beans, half an onion and half of a green pepper. Sounds like the makings of Chicken Chili, right? I even took pictures of the sautéed onions and peppers, spices and browned chicken to show you the process.
I added the tomato sauce and some homemade chicken stock. Then the fun began: a dash of Worcestershire here, some BBQ sauce there, Sriracha for a little kick, then salt and pepper. Still bland. More salt. Uh oh… too much salt!
Well, all is not lost. I added a beer to try and tone it down, but the chili was still too salty. At this point, it was too far gone to try and balance with acid or something sweet. I didn’t have a potato to dice up and add to the chili, which is a good standby plan when soup is too salty.
So, I searched the pantry again. Red lentils to the rescue! I know. Lentils aren’t a traditional chili ingredient, but they worked in this case. The great thing about red lentils is their short cook time. They only take about 5 – 8 minutes to fully cook in a nice brothy soup, which is what I had at this point because of the beer I added. Not only did they help balance out the saltiness of the dish, but once they cooked through, they helped to thicken the chili.
The moral of this story is don’t’ give up! There are little things you can do to adjust recipes and make them work, even in times of disaster.
We have a new class at The Chopping Block called Cooking Lab. This is a series of four classes taught by our Owner/Chef Shelley Young. I highly recommend this class to learn great techniques, tips and tricks to cooking. The series starts Tuesday, September 30 at our Lincoln Square location and will be held the following three Tuesdays. Sign up today and learn how to save your soup, before it’s too late!