Brussels Sprouts Soup

January 31: Eat Brussels Sprouts Day

Highlander grew up eating Brussels sprouts and likes them. His mom cooked the baby-looking cabbage as a side dish for some of their Sunday suppers of roast beef, gravy, potatoes and Yorkshire pudding (traditional English meal). But like a lot of people, Islander did not like the taste of Brussels sprouts and passed on them during their family get-togethers. Highlander encouraged her to try making healthy Brussels sprouts in different recipes but she still did not like them…until her college roommate, Champa S., shared one for Brussels sprouts soup (Champa never liked the vegetable before either). Islander was skeptical about the recipe but she gave it a try. She actually liked it! Not only was it easy to make, it did not taste as bitter as the other recipes. Now Brussels sprouts soup is one of the ways she will eat those little leafy greens. Can we convince the skeptics, too, to try this simple soup on “Eat Brussels Sprouts Day”? It is also an appropriate dish to eat as an end to National Soup Month in January.

Recipe

(Adapted from Food.com)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Brussels sprouts (or 1 ½ pounds)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup cream
  • fried onions (optional garnish)

Directions

Rinse the Brussels sprouts to remove any debri. Chop the onions. In a large pot, melt the butter or heat the olive oil. Saute the onions until soft.

Mix in the Brussels sprouts. Pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the sprouts are tender. Puree in batches in a blender.

Transfer the puree back to the pot. Stir in the cream and heat through. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with fried onions. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Find fried onions in the salad section of the grocery store.
  • Search our blog for other soup recipes.

Creamy Carrot and 

Sweet Potato Soup

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

January: National Soup Month

We (TRY to) make a resolution to eat healthier this year and we started it off by cooking a heart-warming soup from carrots and sweet potatoes. The bright color combinations of these root vegetables remind us of a sunny day when winter weather can be dull and depressing. Both carrots and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals, such as A and B-complex and beta-carotene, have anti-oxidant properties and are a naturally sweet source of fiber.

Creamy carrot and sweet potato soup is a “souper” healthy way to begin the new year and observe National Soup Month.

Recipe

(Adapted from Healthy Living Made Simple)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups carrot, washed, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 cups sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3 cups chicken broth, fat-free and less-sodium
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, fresh and roughly chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

In a large pot, melt one tablespoon butter over medium heat. Cook the onions until tender. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg, stirring constantly.

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Push this mixture to the side and add the remaining two tablespoons butter. Turn up the heat and melt the butter until brown (about a minute). Add the carrots, sweet potatoes. Pour in the chicken broth and water.

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Add the thyme. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until the carrots and sweet potatoes are tender (about 35 minutes). In a blender, working in batches, place the soup mixture and puree until smooth. Be careful not to splatter. Return all the pureed soup into the pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the milk and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls. Serve hot and garnish with extra thyme.

Carrot Sweet Potato Soup

Notes

  • Substitute ¼ cup half-and-half for the milk and cream.
  • Have a happy and healthy new year!

Portuguese Bean Soup (Slow Cooker)

Portuguese Bean Soup

January 6: National Bean Day

Although Pacific Islanders and Asians dominate Hawaii’s immigrant population, there is a sizable settlement of Europeans (Brits, Scots, Russians, Germans, Spaniards and Portuguese) on the islands.

Portuguese cuisine is especially popular in Hawaii as the people shared their cultural cooking customs at the historic plantations. We especially love their donuts (malassadas), sweet bread (pão doce), sausage (linguiça) and bean soup served in several restaurants and food trucks.

This blog post presents a slow cooker recipe for Portuguese bean soup, a hearty stew of linguiça, ham hocks, vegetables and kidney beans. Portuguese bean soup is perfect for cold winter days, during January’s National Soup Month and National Slow Cooker Month and on National Bean Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from the Star-Advertiser)

For the soup stock

  • 2-3 smoked ham hocks
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 3-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions

Line a 6-quart slow cooker with the appropriate cooking bag. Place the ham hocks in the crock pot and pour water over them. Sprinkle rosemary and crushed garlic.

Portuguese Bean Soup

Chop the cilantro and add to the crock  pot. Cover with the lid and cook on low for at least four hours until the ham hocks are tender. Remove the ham hocks from the crock pot and slice off the meat, discarding the bones and fatty skin. Return to the crock pot and add the remaining stew ingredients.

Portuguese Bean Soup

 For the stew

  • 12 ounces Portuguese sausage, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large onion, sliced and quartered
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) kidney beans with liquid
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 3 cups cabbage, shredded

Directions

In the crock pot, add the sliced Portuguese sausage, tomatoes, onions and potatoes.

Portuguese Bean Soup

Mix in the carrots, kidney beans and tomato sauce. Stir until blended. Cover and cook on low for 6-10 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the cabbage, cover and cook for another 30 minutes or until the cabbage is soft. Ladle the stew into soup bowls and garnish with a sprigs of fresh cilantro or parsley. Serve hot with Portuguese sweet bread or over steamed white rice.

Portuguese Bean Soup

Notes

  • Obrigado (thanks) to Lisa L. for the San Miguel rooster prop in the final food photo above that she got for us in Portugal. She also used to be stationed in Hawaii years ago and is back this year for a few months working for the U.S. Navy. Lucky for her, she gets to eat Portuguese bean soup and other authentic local-style foods in Islander’s home state!
  • Other versions of the Portuguese bean soup recipe include macaroni to add texture and thickness to the broth.

Cock-a-Leekie

(Scottish Chicken and Leeks Soup)

Cock-a-leekie

January: National Soup Month

The ultimate comfort food for cold weather (and for colds and flu) is chicken soup. We have blogged before about tinolang manok, a Filipino-style chicken soup. But this recipe post is for cock-a-leekie, a Scottish-style chicken soup, for Hogmanay (Scottish New Year) and the upcoming Burns Supper celebrations in the latter part of January.

Highlander’s Scottish relatives shared several versions of their recipes with us but we have adapted one for our own tastes and kept the traditional ingredients—cock (chicken), leekie (leeks) and prunes. Other recipes add bacon rashers, rice or barley as thickeners, carrots, celery and onions. The hot broth is heart-warming, the chicken provides protein to the body, leeks lend a natural flavor and the prunes are for fiber.

During National Soup Month, cook a comfort food, cock-a-leekie, (Scottish chicken and leeks soup). Slàinte mhor (great health)!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 leeks, sliced (white parts only)
  • 6 chicken drumsticks (2 leg quarters or 4 thighs)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 8+ cups of chicken stock
  • bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf and parsley mix)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ – 1 cup prunes, cut in half

Directions

Wash the leeks thoroughly to remove the dirt embedded below the green tops. Trim the bottom of the leeks and slice the white parts. In a large pot, brown the chicken in melted butter. Stir in the chopped bacon and cook till crisp.

Cock-a-leekie

Add the sliced leeks. Pour in the chicken stock and bouquet garni. Cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to simmer. Let it stew for one hour, stirring occasionally and adding a cup or two of water to the broth, if more liquid is needed.

Cock-a-leekie

Remove the chicken from the pot, then take the meat off the bones and chop coarsely. Return the chopped chicken meat to the soup pot and season with salt and pepper. Add the prunes and simmer for 15 more minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls or cups. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Cock-a-leekie

Notes 

  • Happy Hogmanay (Scottish New Year) to all our blog readers! Have a happy and healthy new year!
  • We made a bouquet garni by putting a half teaspoon of dried thyme, one bay leaf and a teaspoon of dried parsley in a tea bag. Soak it in the soup while it is simmering over the stovetop. Discard after cooking.
  • Check out other chicken soup recipes by searching our blog.

Leek and Tattie Soup

Leek and Tattie Soup

January: National Soup Month

We warm up in the wintertime with a traditional Scottish soup. Leeks and tatties (potatoes) are cheap and chunky to make a filling first course. Though this soup is simple, it is served at even the finest Burns Suppers. This is when the Scots get together on January 25 to celebrate the birthday and life of their national poet Robert Burns (1759-1796). Traditional Scottish food is served, such as soup, haggis, oatcakes, whisky and dessert. Guests enjoy poetry readings, bagpipe music and Highland dancing.

We like leek and tattie soup straight from the stock pot when we cook it at home. But sometimes we add milk and cream and puree everything in the blender to make a fancy French version of this soup called Vichyssoise. Savor the soup made with leeks and tatties during National Soup Month or on Burns Night on January 25.

Recipe

(Adapted from “Scottish Heritage Food and Cooking” by Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter)

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter, divided use
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop the onions. Wash and slice the leeks, discarding the thread-like ends on the white part. Wash, peel and chop the potatoes.

Leek and Tattie Soup

In a large pot, slowly melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Saute the onions and the leeks until soft (about 5 minutes) but do not brown. Stir in the potatoes and mix with the onions and leeks. Cook for about 2 minutes. Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pot and simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

Leek and Tattie Soup

Notes 

  • Happy New Year and Hogmanay to our blog readers! Robert Burns wrote the traditional new year’s anthem “Auld Lang Syne”.
  • Thanks to our neighbors across the street, Glenn and Anna Maria B., who are pioneer settlement re-enactors, for letting us borrow their rustic clad iron soup kettle as a prop for the final food photo.
  • Search our blog for more Scottish and other soup recipes.

Chupe de Camarones Peruano

(Peruvian Shrimp/Crayfish Soup)

Chupe de Camarones Peruano

January: National Soup Month

Look at the little llama (pictured below) that Islander’s friend, Tina P., brought back as a souvenir for her after a trip from Peru. The plush toy is so cute and cuddly and the fur feels ultrasoft! Tina said it can get chilly in her country, especially in the Andes mountains. Llama wool is made into sweaters and blankets to keep the Peruvian people cozy and warm in the winter and in higher elevations.

llama

Another way one can keep warm is by eating chupe de camarones (shrimp/crayfish soup), a dish originating from Arequipa in the country’s coastal region but is popular throughout Peru. Packed with potatoes, various vegetables and shrimp or crayfish, mixed with milk and topped with an egg, the seafood stew is both hearty and heartwarming. Prepare this Peruvian shrimp/crayfish soup to keep warm in the winter and to observe National Soup Month.

Recipes

(Adapted from Cocina Peruana, Nuestro Sabor Para el Mundo by Walter H. Wust)

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large tomato
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 large potato
  • ½ cup carrots
  • ¼ cup peas
  • 1 cup shrimp or crayfish, shelled and deveined
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 eggs
  • 2-3 cooked shrimp or crayfish in its shell (optional)
  • parsley leaves (optional)

Directions

Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Chop the onion and tomato. Wash, peel and dice the potato. Slice the carrots. In a large pot, heat the oil and saute the garlic cloves and chopped onion until transparent and soft. Stir in the chopped tomatoes until it gives out a reddish tinge.

Chupe de Camarones Peruano

Pour in the water to cover the potatos and carrots. Boil for about 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, adding another ½ cup or more of water if evaporated. Mix in the peas and shrimp or crayfish. Cook until the seafood is pink. Stir in the milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Keep the stew warm while cooking the eggs. Heat a little oil in a small skillet or omelet pan. Fry each egg. Blot off excess oil on the eggs with paper towels if necessary. Ladle the soup in bowls and top each with an egg. Garnish with a cooked shrimp or crayfish and parsley. Yield: 2-3 servings.

Chupe de Camarones Peruano

Notes

  • Because Peru is in the southern hemisphere, the winter season is during the months of July and September.
  • Muchas gracias to amiga Tina P. for gifting Islander with the llama and many other Peruvian souvenirs and to Hermano Brian H. for letting us borrow his bilingual cookbook (he ministered in Peru for a few years).

Won Ton

Won Ton

January: National Soup Month

Have a ton of fun by cooking crispy won tons or boiling them in a broth. For our new year’s festivities, we frequently feature fried won tons as an appetizer. For cold weather comfort food, we savor the soup. We doubled up on this delightful dumpling recipe post for our blog to wish our readers both a Happy New Year and Happy National Soup Month!

Recipe

(Adapted from Daddy)

For the crispy won tons

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 small can water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 large carrot, washed and peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • won ton pi (wrappers)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a little water

Directions

Dice the water chestnuts finely. Grate the carrot. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork with the diced water chestnuts and grated carrot. Season with black pepper, garlic powder and oyster sauce.

Won Ton

With a won ton pi point down, place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the middle. Moisten the top edges with the egg wash. Press upwards to seal the triangle. Join the bottom points together, sealing with the egg wash.

Won Ton

Place each won ton in a tray lined with waxed paper. Freeze until firm. Transfer to a zipper-top plastic bag until ready to cook. For crispy appetizers, heat the oil and fry the frozen won tons in small batches until golden brown. Be careful not to splatter the hot oil while fyring them. Drain on paper towels. Serve with a favorite dipping sauce.

Won Ton

For the won ton soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sherry
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 bunch of baby bok choy leaves, cut into two-inch pieces

Directions

For a hearty soup, do not fry the won tons. Instead, boil the chicken broth in a large pot. Mix in the soy sauce, sherry and sesame oil. Add frozen won tons and lower the heat to simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until the filling is cooked through. For the last few minutes of cooking, add the boy choy leaves. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

Won Ton

Notes

  • February 4 is National Homemade Soup Day.