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.

Lentil Soup with Lemon

lentilsoup

January 6: National Bean Day

We are but a few days into the new year and our resolution to eat healthier is fulfilled with this recipe for lentil soup with lemon. In some countries (like Italy, Hungary and Lebanon), these lucky legumes are considered an auspicious new year’s food. The beans’ flat and round shape resembles coins and, when cooked in liquid, the lentils plump up, symbolizing growing wealth. Health and wealth in a bowl are a wonderful way to ring in the new year as well as celebrate National Bean Day!

Recipe

Adapted from Sol S.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lentils (preferably red lentils), rinsed
  • 6 cups water (or chicken or vegetable stock)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 5+ cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Directions

In a large pot, bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the lentils and cook covered for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan. Saute the chopped onions and minced garlic until soft and fragrant.

lentilsoupsteps1

Add the onion-garlic mixture to the lentils. Stir in the ground cumin. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro leaves. Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot with flat breads.

lentilsoupsteps2

Notes

  • Lentil soup with lemon is also a good recipe to make during January (National Soup Month). We also like to eat lentil soup on Lent Fridays—it is simply delicious while fasting from meat dishes.
  • Thanks to our Syrian chef friend, Sol. S., for sharing this recipe with us.
  • Search our blog for more bean and soup recipes.

Chicken Long Rice

Chicken Long Rice

March 13: National Chicken Noodle Soup Day

Whether found at the fanciest luau or in a humble Hawaiian home, chicken long rice is the islands’ comfort food equivalent of chicken noodle soup. Ironically, the “rice” in this dish is actually bean thread (also known as cellophane noodles for their transparency). The taste is similar to tinolang manok without the noodles. The hot gingery broth helps relieve congestion, the chicken provides protein and mushrooms are full of vitamins, making this textured noodle soup a healthy option.

For National Chicken Noodle Soup Day, try a dish with a tropical twist and make some chicken long rice. Aloha!

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4-5 bunches of long rice
  • 5-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • water
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4-6 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, crushed
  • 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1 stalk green onions, chopped (optional garnish)

Directions

In a large dish, pour boiling water to cover the long rice. Soak until soft, at least 30 minutes. Cut into shorter pieces. Drain before using. In a shallow dish, pour boiling water to cover the dried shiitake mushrooms. Soak until soft, at least 30 minutes. Remove from the water, squeeze out excess liquid and slice the mushrooms. Set aside.

Chicken Long Rice

While the noodles and mushrooms are being hydrated, chop the chicken and ginger. Heat the oil on medium high and sauté the garlic cloves. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Pour the water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper.

Chicken Long Rice

Lower the heat, add the bouillon cubes and ginger, cover and simmer for 30 minutes to let the flavors develop. Add the mushrooms. Gently stir in the noodles and cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes. Discard the ginger and garlic. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve hot with chopsticks and a soup spoon.

Chicken Long Rice

Notes

  • Season the broth with a tablespoon of soy sauce, oyster sauce or hot sauce (optional).
  • Search our blog for other soup recipes.

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.

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

February 4: National Homemade Soup Day

At one of Highlander’s work conference dinners, we met a fellow foodie, Sol S., who aspires to write a comfort food cookbook. He wants to feature recipes that are homemade, healthy and hearty. He shared with us his butternut squash soup recipe to try out in our own kitchen. It was delicious and simply satisfying! Butternut squash soup is comfort food for cold weather and is also appropriate for National Homemade Soup Day.

Recipe

(From Sol S.)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash (we used 2 12-ounce bags of squash already cut and cubed)
  • 1 sweet onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic with skins on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup sweet corn

Directions

Peel the butternut squash, cut the ends off, remove the seeds and dice into 1-inch cubes. Peel and quarter the onion, removing the ends. In a large bowl, mix the squash, onions and garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated. Place on a foil-lined baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes (after 30 minutes, stir to roast evenly). Remove from the oven and discard the garlic skins.

Butternut Squash Soup

In a large pot, place the roasted vegetables (squash, onions and garlic) and cover with the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. In a blender, puree in batches. Put the pureed vegetables back in the pot and simmer with the sweet corn until heated through. Serve immediately in soup bowls.

Butternut Squash Soup

Notes

  • Sol S. garnishes his butternut squash soup with cooked shrimp or crabmeat or shredded chicken.  The sweet corn adds texture to this recipe. Good luck to him as he authors his project!
  • Search our blog for other soup recipes.

Okroshka (окрошка)

(Russian Cold Cucumber Soup)

Okroshka

February 4: National Homemade Soup Day

A Russian friend of a friend came to our house blessing in Illinois and was kind enough to share a cultural dish for our special occasion. Kristina Y., whom we met through our Ukrainian friend Olga W., made a refreshing cold cucumber soup called okroshka. They explained that it is eaten during the short summer months in Russia and Ukraine.

Although it is still winter in the northern hemisphere, and hot homemade soups are on most menus, okroshka may still be enjoyed where the weather is warm (such as in the southern hemisphere).

For a refreshing Russian soup, try okroshka for National Homemade Soup Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Bella Online)

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced (green parts only)
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill, minced
  • 2-3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups cooked ham, chopped
  • salt to taste

Directions

Chop the cucumber, slice the green onions, mince the dill and chop the eggs. Place everything in a large bowl.

Okroshka

Pour in the water. Mix in the sour cream. Chop the ham and add it to the soup. Season with salt. Chill in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with additional dill (optional). Serve cold.

Okroshka

Notes

  • This soup is traditionally made with kvass (a fermented beverage made from rye bread). However, it is difficult to find kvass here so it is fine to use water as the liquid in the soup. Kvass adds a unique flavor to the soup.
  • Instead of ham, sausages or other flavorful cooked meats, such as lamb, beef or chicken, may be used in this recipe.
  • Sometimes ice cubes are added to the recipe to ensure a very chilled soup.
  • Thanks to Olga W. for the ceramic figurine from Ukraine which we used in the final food photo above.
  • January is also National Soup Month.