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04 December 2010

Basic cooking question I've got a pork & tomatillo stew simmering on the stovetop, and it tastes quite acidic to me.[More:] I think the tomatillos I used were much more sour than usual, and I foolishly didn't taste them first.

So, faced with excess acidity, I'm wondering about adding something alkaline to bring it back into balance. Baking soda springs to mind, does anyone have any other ideas?
Add a little sugar.
posted by Senyar 04 December | 18:10
Seconding Senyar: start by adding a little sugar and see if it helps.

If you do decide to add baking soda, start with just a little and see how it goes. I use it in cream of tomato soup, but in other dishes, I sometimes find that adding enough soda to make a difference leaves the soup tasting and feeling a little bit soapy.

Or what about serving it with a swirl of sour cream or yogurt or cream to balance the tartness? Would that do the trick?
posted by Elsa 04 December | 18:41
yeah, sugar or cream always do it for me.
posted by gaspode 04 December | 18:58
Sugar helped; I probably added a Tbsp. or so. Thanks for the suggestion, Senyar & Elsa. I also tried a sprinkle of soda over a spoonful; that didn't seem to make much difference so I've abandoned the idea.

Now that I think about it, I can recall reading something molecular-gastronomy oriented, wherein the author was discussing the chemistry of taste, and noted that "Adding sugar to something sour doesn't change the number of hydrogen ions in the solution, but it does not taste as sharp."
posted by Triode 04 December | 19:10
What might mellow it out also are some starchier ingredients. Do you have a can of hominy around?
posted by Miko 04 December | 19:57
Yeah, frozen corn might help. I often toss in some corn if thing start tasting too sharp.
posted by mygothlaundry 05 December | 22:47
I think sugar was your best option. You can add some Marsala wine if you have any handy, as well.
posted by jabberjaw 07 December | 17:54
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