Before I get to the food goodness that you all long for, I think I need to remind myself I've promised y'all a few stories. I shall tell you about a leg cast, and also about how I am the nicest guy ever (my bro-in-law may disagree).
However: you aren't getting either of those today. We are going to "Hide In The Woods" for the day and then go out to dinner. A whole day away from the house and the gang... ah... BLISS (insert singing angelic music here).
Speaking of hiding in the woods, remind me to tell you a story later on about that...
Alright. I've got 30 mins to type in the recipe for the Greatest EVER Creamy Chicken Soup. Ready? Hang on!
Greatest creamy chicken soup EVER!
This recipe may strike some of you as rather convoluted, but just trust me on this, ok? You'll also get to learn how to make fresh ricotta cheese along the whey (way).
What you need:
Whey from yesterdays ricotta cheese making
Chicken stock (either fresh or powdered)
4 or 5 strips of bacon
3 or 4 diced pototoes
2 cups (or so) of cream
pinch of flour
See! See??!! Doesn't that sound like a nice list? Very Very simple...
What you do:
To make the whey: mix 4 cups whole milk and 2 cups buttermilk in a pot. Heat slowly till curds form (182 F), let sit for a half hour while curds continue to form. Strain the curds through cheesecloth (now you know why it's called cheesecloth)-- I'll tell you next time about what to do with the curds as I'm running out of time this morning-- You'll be left with a quart or so of whey (the yellowish-greenish liquid after straining). That's the whey to use in the soup!
Ok, on with the show:
Fry up the bacon in the same pot you'll be doing the soup in. Remove the bacon just before it goes crispy. Add the diced potato to the bacon fat and fry for a minute while you get the flour out of the cupboard. Add a few large pinches of flour to the potatoes and continue cooking them (moving regularly with a spatula). After about 5 mins, add a cup (or so) of the whey. Stir well. You'll notice all the cooked on stuff from the bacon and spuds loosens and incorporates itself into the whey --this is called "deglazing".
Once the pot is deglazed, add in the rest of the whey and also the chicken stock. If using powdered stock, then 2 tbsp should do the trick, a cup or two if using liquid stock.
Bring it all to a low boil and simmer till the spuds are done to your liking. Add the cream, stir well. Crumble up the bacon and toss that in too.
It is incredible, if I do say so myself! Serve with fresh homemade bread hot out of the oven.