Save my soup
October 4, 2011 9:23 PM   Subscribe

Condensed Milk != Evaporated Milk. Following this Salmon Chowder recipe I mistakenly used a can of "Sweetened Condensed Milk" instead of the Evaporated Milk that was called for. My beautiful, expensive, organic, soup tastes like candy. What can I add to it to cut the sweet?
posted by tacit_urn to Food & Drink (28 answers total)
I'm really sorry to tell you, but I don't think it can be saved.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:24 PM on October 4, 2011 [20 favorites]

Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with arcticwoman. There's really no way to fix this. Anything you add isn't really going to cover up the taste of the condensed milk, and diluting it to the point where you can't taste the sweet is just going to ruin everything else in the process. I feel for you, I really do, but this should probably just go in the trash unless you're willing to experiment with fish-infused smoothies.
posted by Diagonalize at 9:37 PM on October 4, 2011

I think you can probably pull out the individual chunks of fish (which I assume is the most expensive part) and remake the soup recipe, adding the fish at the end. But the broth that you have now can't be saved.
posted by kate blank at 9:38 PM on October 4, 2011

I'd just strain out the solids, discard the broth, remake the broth and add the solids back in. Even plain chicken broth or scalded ( not boiled) milk would be an improvement over the condensed milk broth.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 9:48 PM on October 4, 2011

posted by jbenben at 9:54 PM on October 4, 2011

This is going to sound odd, but add canned roasted peppers and them let it simmer a long time. Like overnight.
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:02 PM on October 4, 2011

Potato slices are known to pull salt out of broth, but I don't know about sugar, since I've never really tried it. I think you're just screwed. Happens to everybody, so get yourself to the store and start over again. The sooner you give up on a failed dish, the sooner you can get a good one on.
posted by Gilbert at 10:04 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm afraid there's pretty much nothing you can do that's going to turn that into something you'd want to eat.
posted by trip and a half at 10:10 PM on October 4, 2011

Your chowder is toast. Bin it and order pizza.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:21 PM on October 4, 2011

Regretfully, I have to side with everyone who says it can't be saved. I did this once with a quiche. Candied eggs = worst dinner experience of my life.
posted by anderjen at 10:22 PM on October 4, 2011

Make a new batch with the evaporated milk called for and gradually add in the sweet batch you made to the new batch, tasting as you go along. You'll have twice as much soup, but it will probably cut the sweetness enough to make it tasty again and you can always freeze the extra.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 10:23 PM on October 4, 2011

(As a consummate non-measurer, this is the kind of thing I do all the time and you can totally save this if you just add enough stuff to make a batch big enough to dilute the first batch so it isn't too sweet.)
posted by Felicity Rilke at 10:25 PM on October 4, 2011

Sometimes the right solution is to declare victory and get out.

It was an interesting experiment, and you learned something. Now throw it away and start over from scratch.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:28 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you have nothing to lose, I would try diluting it as suggested above and also adding something hot/peppery/spicy. Nothing too vinegary like Tabasco. I'm thinking more like smoky spicy, maybe cayenne or chipotle or even chili powder. I've had the sweet/spicy flavor combo before -- in stir fries and pasta sauce, for example -- and it can work well.
posted by Majorita at 10:32 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you have a cat?
posted by rhizome at 10:34 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Sweetened condensed milk is 50% added sugar, compared to plain condensed milk. You therefore added 1.5 cups of sugar to the soup.

I can see adding a few tablespoons of sugar to a quart of soup, so my guess is you'd have to re-make the recipe in triplicate to get the sugar down to a reasonable level. If you go that route, do some bench blending first: take a half cup of the existing soup and water it down with chicken stock until it tastes reasonable (if ever). Then remake in that proportion (maybe leave out the onions and carrots, which contribute a lot of sugar).

However, if it were me, I would bang my wooden spoon on the stove, send a few choice expletives the way of the idiots at Borden who for some reason feel sweetened and unsweetened condensed milk should come in the same identical squat can, strain the liquid, and re-use the solids.
posted by wnissen at 10:47 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Don't throw good ingredients after bad.

You also won't get much flavour out of that salmon if you try to strain it out. It's gone. Let it go.

I am confused about why a recipe that used real (organic expensive) fish would call for evaporated milk though. I don't think I could bring myself to use canned milk with fish.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:51 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

@guster4lovers: evaporated milk is a common substitute for cream. It's less expensive and healthier, and it adds alot of the same body, texture, and dairy benefits/flavor of cream for fewer calories and price. That particular recipe also called for a can of cream corn and a half pound of cheddar cheese, so it seems more like a "comfort food" recipe that the OP classed up by using quality salmon.

OP: I'm sorry, I agree with those above, it's a lost cause. You could try salvaging the salmon and using it in something else, but even then...blech.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 11:05 PM on October 4, 2011

Try saving the fish and making an experimental salmon jerky out of it. A lot of smoked salmon has a ton of sugar, so you might be able to broil it with a spice rub. Might work, but the soup is dead.
posted by benzenedream at 11:50 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I agree with most people here that its probably ruined, but one thought is that perhaps you could make some kind of a curry from it. Some curries can be quite sweet... like a previous poster said, try making it spicy.
posted by destrius at 12:05 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I agree with the curry idea (using just the salmon from your soup). I've made sweetish spicy curries, especially with coconut, and if you have it over rice that will further diminish the "sweet." You might look at recipes like this salmon curry for ideas for the surrounding stuff, but if a recipe calls for coconut milk, I'd add broth or other liquid and a little unsweetened grated coconut. I also would avoid carrots, red bell pepper or any vaguely sweet vegetable as an ingredient.
posted by taz at 12:36 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

What I would do is pour four or five litres of plain water into the soup, thus diluting the broth to have a minimal sugar content. Then I would strain off the equivalent amount of total broth to get the liquid content back to normal. Then you'll have to readd any other flavourings you originally put in, as they will be diluted too (spices, herbs, maybe onion, etc). You might need to add a bit of extra salt and/or fish stock to get the fishy flavour back up as well.
posted by lollusc at 12:45 AM on October 5, 2011

Do you have a cat?

Cats are a) lactose intolerant and b) designed to not eat any carbohydrates at all (fat and protein only). So feeding a cat something full of sugary milk is a really good way to make it sick.

As for the soup, if you're going to add a whole bunch of stuff to try and fix it, to the point you have more than double anyway, you might as well just use that same stuff to make new soup. You could try straining out the fish and reusing that (assuming it doesn't break up from cooking), but that's the only thing in there worth saving. I wouldn't even try curry, coconut cream isn't really all that sweet and is nothing like sweetened condensed milk, so it's still going to taste off.
posted by shelleycat at 1:01 AM on October 5, 2011

Oh, funny, I just made the same recipe this weekend (although I left out the cheese, and just thickened it with a roux), and I noticed that it was a little sweeter than I preferred just from the creamed corn. I can't imagine it being edible with the sweetened condensed milk, sorry.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 6:43 AM on October 5, 2011

It is unfortunately done for. Sweetened condensed milk is like candy, more sugar than milk. Throw it out and order take out that you like to cut the sting of the incident.

If it helps you feel better, I cook all the time and consider myself a pretty good cook as far as non-professionals go. Yet I do throw out whole batches when recipes go awry. You just can't plan for everything, it's all a part of learning to make a new recipe.
posted by Shusha at 7:01 AM on October 5, 2011

I did a similar thing the other day when making chicken pathia - instead of "6 tablespoons (90ml or 3 fl oz) tamarind extract" I started spooning in tablespoons of tamarind concentrate. Yikes. Luckily I stopped at two, had a sweary moment then carried it cooking.

While it cooled I defrosted more chicken, made another batch and then merged the two with some brown sugar and lemon juice in for good measure. Best. Curry. Ever.

So it might be worth quickly making another pan of chowder (maybe double the amount? extra potatoes?) and doing a test of say, 2 tbsp new chowder with 1 tablespon old chowder. If it balances out okay then you can combine them, if not, bin the original and keep the tasty new one.

However... even though I would poke my eye out with a sharp stick than throw food in the bin, this might be one of those times.
posted by humph at 8:39 AM on October 5, 2011

throw it out.

i did this to a pecan pie last thanksgiving—accidentally grabbed salt when i should have grabbed sugar—and had to actually take a forkful of pie out of someone's hand during dinner and chuck the entire thing into the trash.

they thought i was being dramatic, but frankly i got a bite of the thing. i wasn't being dramatic.
posted by patricking at 9:07 AM on October 5, 2011

Joining the crowd that are telling you to toss the soup.

Don't feel bad. I once used evaporated milk instead of condensed milk. Instead of delicious peppermint patties, I got a pile of goo.
posted by futureisunwritten at 12:23 PM on October 5, 2011

« Older How do I move on (alone) after infidelity?   |   Academic Culture 101? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.