Friday, February 18, 2011

Using Whey in Soups

Russ and Peg Hall have their own whey of making soup!

I posted a review last July of Russ and Peg Hall's wonderful book, The Summer of a Thousand Cheeses.  Recently, I realized that they now have a fun blog called "Cheese and Random Ferments."

Their latest post lists 5 soups they make using some of their leftover whey.  With their permission, I re-arranged it a little bit so I could include all 5 recipes in this article.  (If you go to their blog, you may find it easier to print their recipes.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

What to do with Whey?

Whey remaining from cheese curds recipe

In our last two cheese making adventures we tried to save all the whey when draining and pressing curds. We lost some, but in the end had 10+ quarts of the stuff. We found few recipes, but learned from Ricki, the Cheese Queen, that whey is a good substitute for broth in soups.

I looked up calories in whey, wondering how the caloric content of whey compares with homemade chicken broth. Searching the web, I found that whey has 59 calories per cup, whereas the homemade "chicken stock" we normally use is credibly listed at 97 calories per cup. This is in contrast to the canned or boxed "chicken broth" found in grocery stores, most kinds of which have about 20 calories per cup. So whether using whey saves calories depends on whether you normally use homemade chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth.

So we tried several soups, substituting whey for the usual broth.  (Note: These recipes are not meant to be prescriptive; we seldom follow them to the letter, and aren't afraid to get creative.)  Attempts and results are as follow:

CABBAGE SOUP  (much adapted from a web recipe)  A winner and almost free, we made this with a half-head of leftover cabbage;

Ingredients & Calories:
½ head coarsely chopped cabbage 115
14.5 oz canned Italian-style diced or stewed tomatoes 175
2 cloves garlic, chopped  20
8 cups whey  480
4 chicken bouillon cubes  20
3 tbsp olive oil  360
½ onion, chopped  45
1 tsp salt, or to taste   
½ tsp black pepper, or to taste   
½ tsp dried red peppers, more or less to taste   

Total calories:  1215

Add olive oil to a large pot, over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion until onions are yellow, approximately 5 minutes. Now pour in the whey, bouillon, salt, pepper, and dried red peppers, if desired. Let this come to a boil and drop in the cabbage. Cook until the cabbage wilts, approximately 10 min. Then add tomatoes, increasing heat and boiling around 10 to 15 min. Stir continue cooking until flavors blend.

8 (1½ cup) servings @ 150 calories each

This was very good; not sure, but the secret may have been the whey; it seemed to add a scrumptious creaminess and a subtle piquant taste. All in all, a wondrous low-calorie treat. But where will we find more whey?

MUSHROOM SOUP  (an original - whey version)   We loved it, but who could go wrong with any dish containing a half-pound of Grade A shiitakes?;

Ingredients & Calories:
3 tbsp butter  300
½ lb fresh shiitakes more or less  50
6 large dried Chinese shiitakes (optional)  15
Pinch of salt   
Pinch of white pepper   
12 cups whey  685
4 beef boullion cubes  40
3 tbsp flour  75
6 dashes Maggi seasoning   

Total calories:  1165

Re-hydrate dried shiitakes, if using. Cut them into thin strips and store in soaking liquid until ready to use.

Saute the fresh mushrooms in the butter. Cook until all water has evaporated and mushrooms begin to actually fry. Add salt and white pepper as desired. Add re-hydrated and sliced shiitakes to pan and fry a bit longer. Add flour and mix until a paste forms.

Add whey and shiitake soaking liquid, filtered through a coffee filter or paper towel. Add boullion cubes. When all is boiling, add milk and heat until almost boiling. Add seasoning and adjust salt, etc.

Approximately 14 cups @ 85 calories/cup

FUSION GUMBO   (adapted from Prudhomme's Low-Calorie Cajun Cooking)  Our own creation, this was delicious as always and even better with whey;

Ingredients & Calories:
½ tbsp olive oil  60
1 16-oz package of frozen cut okra, thawed  150
1 cup chopped onion  65
2 small (or one large) jalapeño, finely chopped   25
2 tbsp tomato paste  30
6 cups whey  340
2 links Puerto Rican style chorizo, sliced thin  340
1 10-oz can Rotel Mexican Festival tomatoes  75
½ tsp salt   
½ tsp white pepper   
½ tsp red pepper   
1 bay leaf   
1 chicken breast (ca. 8 oz) cut in ½-inch strips  250
2 chicken bouillon cubes  10

Total calories:  1340


Heat oil in Dutch oven and cook okra until it is no longer slimy, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot as necessary. Reduce heat. Add the onions, chopped onion, jalapeños, and tomato paste and stir and cook for 5 minutes.

Add 5 cups of the whey, the sausage, tomatoes, seasonings, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling and cook for 15 minutes.

Spray a nonstick skillet and add chicken strips, stirring to cook until browned. Add the remaining cup of whey and bouillon cubes. Deglaze the pan, and add all to Dutch oven. Cook 15 minutes.

Serve over white rice (? cup dry rice cooked = 400 Calories)

6 servings @ 290 calories (including rice) each

SPLIT PEA SOUP WITH HAM  (an original - in part adapted from traditional recipes)  This was also good, the only difference noted was a bit more foaming in the initial cooking than with chicken broth or water;

Ingredients & Calories:
16 oz green split peas  1100
2 cups small-diced ham  212
2-3 smoked ham hocks  180
3 carrots, peeled and diced  150
1 small onion, diced  30
2 celery ribs, diced, including leaves  30
2 cloves garlic, minced  20
1 bay leaf   
10-12 sprigs fresh parsley   
1 tbsp salt   
½ tsp pepper   
2-3 dried chipotles, cut up into small pieces   
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (optional)  88
1.5 cup frozen peas on canned (optional)  210
6 cups whey  341
Total calories:  2365


Place all in a large soup pot. Cook 1½  to 2 hours, or until desired consistency is achieved.

Serve with croutons. Or, if croutons are unavailable, substitute oyster crackers.

A hearty red wine is a good accompaniment.

A delightful concoction! Tres jolie.

8 servings @ 295 calories each

POZOLE   This was a real challenge because we had trouble imagining how pozole made with whey would taste. It tasted pretty good, but fans of real pozole might think this one lacked authenticity.

Pozole sintético con suero de la leche
Ingredients & Calories:
1 medium onion  30
2 cloves garlic  10
1 tbsp oil  150
½ lb very lean (or defatted) pork  650
2 tbsp* New Mexican ground chile   
2 14 ½ oz. cans pozole (white hominy)  490
8 cups whey  455
Fresh lime, or lime juice (optional)   
Total calories:  1785

Remove any visible fat from pork. Brown, then boil in enough water to make 2 cups of broth.  Refrigerate overnight, and remove any fat from the surface of broth. Saute onion and garlic in oil. Add New Mexico ground chile powder to 2 cups boiling water and mix until well blended. Add whey, pork and broth, onion and garlic, hominy, and New Mexican pepper slurry to pot. Bring to boil and simmer until ready to serve.

Drizzle lime juice over soup in serving bowl. Garnish with oregano, crushed pepper flakes, or fried tortilla strips.

*Note: Soup was a bit hot. One tbsp NM chile powder might suffice. Or, perhaps try 1 each of this NM chile powder and regular chili powder. Another alternative would be to try 2 tbsp of a milder NM powder.

Subsequent Tries - In several tries used the short (ca, 1-2 inch) pork rib strips, cut up. Results were very good, although calories surely were more. Also I tried adding green chiles and cumin, as recommended in a Bon Appetit recipe. This was very good. The green NM chile powder is still potent, even after being frozen for several years, and should be used sparingly if bland-loving guests are to be served. I skimmed most of the fat after refrigerating the inevitable leftovers, and noted no loss of flavor or heartiness, although some of the chile powder may have been lost in the process.

14 one-cup servings @ 130 calories each


zeekmae said...

thanks for sharing, can't wait to try some of these. I'm assuming that you are using sweet whey, and that acid whey would not be good for soup, but if I am wrong and you have found that acid whey works well, I'd be most interested in learning of it. thanks again : )

Jeri said...

Yes, sweet whey is most often the best choice, but in the recipes above, acid whey may be used as well. Some like their soup to have the zing of the acid whey in it. I say, try it and see.
Happy cheese making,

Mollie said...

Should the mushroom soup have milk in it? You list it in the directions but it's not in the ingredient list, so I'm not sure which is correct.


LeavingJupiter said...

My whey base Cream of potato chunky soup :

Boil 5 potatoes, then
add 1/2 litre whey and puree. Set aside.

In veg oil or butter,
saute chopped celery
3 cloves garlic
pinch nutmeg
until lightly browned 15 min.
deglaze with 1 cup white wine.
After a minute cooking on high, add
1.5 litres whey and cook on med for 15 min.

Add the potato mixture to the soup, add chopped parsly or dry flakes, salt pepper to season.


by LeavingJupiter

Jeri said...

That looks like a great recipe! Thank you for sharing it!