We ate the chicken stock. I made noodle soup, with carrots, green onions, kale, bean sprouts and chicken. The broth was gorgeous, really lumpy and gelatinous like loose Jell-o before I re-heated it. I made two pretty bowls-full for my boyfriend and I, and I sent one off with Roommate Linda to eat at work. We had a few bites, it was chicken-y, crunchy from the veggies, and hot. I mean, really hot. At first it felt temperature hot, but then I realized something else was happening. It was spicy. Except oddly, I hadn’t put anything spicy in it, save a shake or two of chili flakes, which would certainly not produce this type of heat. My boyfriend looked at me puzzled, knowing it was really spicy, unwilling to hurt my feelings by saying so (he is a catch). We both ate our bowls, me apologizing, Dom insisting it was still good, both of us blowing our noses and taking sips of milk. I even texted Roommate Linda at work to warn her (she has spicy food issues). Chicken stock borderline fail.
It had to be the damned peppercorns. Alton’s recipe called for 6-8 peppercorns, and I’m fairly certain that’s how many I put in. If I put in more, it wasn’t more than 10, and come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing any peppercorns when I strained it, so they must have totally dissolved. I mean, that stock was spicy, even for me, and of everyone I know, I have the highest tolerance for spicy food. Not the end of the world, but it does mean that I’ll be eating noodle soup every day this week, because I’ll be the only one who’s able to.
So let this be a lesson to you. If you think pepper is some adorable spice that sits unassumingly beside the salt, winking jauntily at you, you’ve been taken. That’s exactly what the pepper wants you to think. Then, just when you think it’s safe, it socks you on the jaw.
This recipe was great, it worked perfectly, next time I’ll leave the peppercorns out totally, and rely on the eater to grind their own pepper as they see fit. I just can’t handle that kind of power.