Monday, February 16, 2009

homecookin' for librarians

every year the university library i work for hosts a chili and soup cook-off. last year i entered for the first time and served up my kale, chorizo & potato soup. i love that soup and i got a ton of compliments but apparently the namby pamby judges thought it was "too hot." ppppfffftttt!!!!

so this year i wanted to tone down the spice and serve up something a lil' more homestyle. some real homecookin' that would stick to the librarians' ribs.

i went with my grandma's tried and true ham pot pie. this is a time honored tradition in our family. any time there is some leftover ham my gma will make a big pot and the whole crew gathers and slurps it up.

last year i decided to start collecting family recipes so i asked gma for the ham pot pie recipe. she told me that there was no recipe and i should just come over and watch her make it. so i watched and i took notes and i decided to try it out for the first time on the librarians.

here are my notes.

saturday i headed up to the west side market for provisions. i picked up half of a smoked bone-in ham that was about 7 pounds. now, this is way too much ham. my gma usually just uses holiday leftovers but this was the smallest one i could get and besides bigger is usually better!

once i got home i chopped a large yellow onion into thick slices. i put the onions and the ham into my big stock pot and covered it with cold water. i put it on the stove and simmered it for about 7 hours until the ham was falling off the bone.

here it is after a few hours. it doesn't look like much now but just wait!

once it was falling off the bone i took it off the heat, let it come to room temperature and then stuck it in the fridge for 2 days.

monday night after work i skimmed the layer of fat of the top and pulled the ham out.

i chopped the ham against the grain into big chunks then i added it back to the stock. actually i added about 2/3 of it back to the stock and froze the rest. i put it on the stove on medium heat and got to work on the rest of the elements.

homemade noodles seemed a little intimidating. i suggest a breckenridge vanilla porter to help with that.

the notes i made said, "3 eggs - beat to very light." hmmmm. i took this as, "beat the hell out of the eggs." so i did.

then i added a lil' salt and a couple of tablespoons of ice water and whipped it some more. i added 2 cups of sifted flour and "worked it with my hands."

this was the stickiest stuff ever!

with my clean hand i called gma. she said, "add some more flour. you need a lot of flour."

after i figured out the dough i kneaded and rolled and then laid it out on cookie sheets. i used a pizza cutter to cut the noodles.

when the soup was hot (but not boiling) i added the noodles a few at a time - stirring constantly so they wouldn't stick. i cooked these for a while and in the meantime sliced and peeled five big russet potatoes. then i added those to the soup.

this simmered some more until the noodles were all plumped and floating and the potatoes were cooked through and just starting to fall apart.

so this was my library chili and soup cook-off entry. i took third place. actually fourth since there was a tie for second. more importantly though - i got a TON of compliments and i took home an empty crock pot. one woman even told me that the noodles were just like her mom used to make! woohoo! apparently my co-workers have better palates than the panel of judges!

what can i say? sometimes i like to toot my own horn.


Viper said...

Thanks for my own bag of ham pot pie. It was good eats. Those librarians are idiots to place you at 3/4.

What time were you at the market. I was there around noon picking up that porterhouse and crab legs.

the erratic epicurean said...

no way! mike and i were there around 11:00ish and were there for way over an hour! it was packed though so perhaps that is why we didn't cross paths.

did you get the crab from kate's fish? that is my favorite stand. mike and i got oysters. mmmm.

and you're welcome for the bag o' soup.

nico.pony79 said...

That's total BS about losing to Campbell's soup. That shit is nos-ty. I would love to try those noodles. They look fantastic...almost as good as Bob Evans! ;-)

the erratic epicurean said...

my noodles will kick bob evans' ass!

toot! toot! (there goes my horn again)

Anonymous said...

I tried this soup tonite - very tasty although mine wasn't as thick as yours show. The noodles really make it!