Curdled Soup

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chefsmom, Dec 30, 2014.

  1. chefsmom

    chefsmom

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    I hope you can help me. I tried making New England clam chowder today in a slow cooker. I added all the ingredients at once after I sauteed the pancetta and vegetables. The recipe said to cook it on "high" for 4 hours. After 2 1/2 hours, it looks like the cream has curdled. Can I fix this? Any suggestions for avoiding this in the future?
     
  2. maryb

    maryb

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    Cream soups curdle if they boil. I don't know what step you added the cream at but I usually add it at the end and just bring it to a bare simmer then off the heat.
     
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  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I'm not sure how you can fix it now but in the future it's best to add the cream at the very end and don't boil. Also, seasoning needs to be adjusted after you add the cream.
     
  4. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I have never had a soup made with cream curdle, even upon boiling. What exactly do you mean by curdled? Did you see lumps almost like cottage cheese (curds) or did you see an oil slick on the surface (broken)?

    If the latter, then you probably used too much fat to saute your veg and pancetta, especially since pancetta will render fat of it's own thereby increasing the fat content and the possibility of breaking the soup. Roux or another thickener will take care of that issue.

    If the problem was that it truly curdled, what was the date of the cream? Also did you use cream, or half & half, or milk? Cream can take the high heat, half & half to a degree, milk not so much without a thickener.
     
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  5. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    ... 4 hours to make a soup? You must very patient.

    Personally I would go for the traditional method of making a soup like this. It takes only 20-30 minutes to cook.

    That is not counting the time to sweat (not sauteeing!) the veggies. The longer you sweat them the better your soup will turn out. Also, always season the veggies when sweating them. I usually sweat them for a good 10-15 minutes... minimum, including the potatoes.

    The cooking time of soups like this is mostly the time it takes for the toughest item to cook, which are the potatoes in this case, around 20 minutes for small cubes.

    I would add the clams and cream the very last moment, just before serving; absolutely no more boiling when the cream (30% fat) goes in (or if you need to reheat the finished soup).

    Personally I would panfry the pancetta lardons the very last moment and put them on top of the soup when the plating of the soup is finished. A crispy element in a dish makes it exciting. Adding some croutons will add even more crunch.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  6. chefsmom

    chefsmom

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    Thanks for your tips! I appreciate your help!
     
  7. chefsmom

    chefsmom

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    I did as suggested and added a slurry of cornstarch and water. The soup thickened nicely and was saved. I didn't realize it was "broken" not curdled. I still have a lot to learn. Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Another thing that could be contributing to your difficulty is a mismatch in the age of the recipe and the age of the slow cooker. 

    Older slow cookers didn't get as hot as the new ones do. So if you're cooking an old recipe in a newer slow cooker, it could have been hotter than the recipe was designed for.