Category Archives: SOUP AND BROTH

AN OGLING HAM BONE…OH, WHAT TO DO?

The holidays have come and gone. And, we are gifted a brand new year. Many of us have made resolutions. Yes, one of the common plans is to be fit and shed those pesky ‘holiday’ pounds. And, I say ‘bravo!’ to us all.

I don’t know about you; but, I’m in quite a pickle. You see, I’m a food hoarder of sort. I don’t toss food that can be transformed and rejuved into something delicious and satisfying.

Take for instance my ham bone. Every given time I prop open my freezer, it’s there. It perches in that special spot and stare at me in a flirtatious manner.It knows my culinary weak spots, so it takes advantage of same.

For sure, I know that I’ll surrender. When you think about it, the odds are stacked up against me. For instance, the cool days of January don’t help. They make you want to hibernate and devour mouth-watering stews, soups and roasts.

I know what I’ll will do. I’ll make me a ham bone soup. I’ll fetch me some winter veggies and dice, chop and add to some softened red or pigeon peas simmered in some coconut milk. Without a doubt, I’ll add some fibrous wholesome foods, like sweet potatoes/yams.

Of course, I’ll thaw and make that special drop of that tempting ham bone with pieces of ham. Will pair with a few dumplings made with a trio of whole-wheat/all purpose/cornmeal. But, who I’m I kidding? I’ll cheat with a few little pieces of oxtail. Did someone say beef?

My ham bone soup will be flavored with aromatic spices and other ingredients like crushed garlic and pimento(all spice berries), ginger, fresh thyme, and scallion. I’ll toss in a few bouillons.

So guys, I won’t apologize. Though it’s a new year, I choose to be realistic and aim for a fine balance. I won’t deprive myself. Moderation is salient. I’m no fool; I’ll certainly try to incorporate some physical activities along the way. After all, before you know it, the winter thaw will disappear, and spring will be banging at our doors.

BEEF BONE SOUP TO STICK TO THE RIBS

It was beef all the way. It has been a long time since I’ve gone down this road. Got me a few pieces of beef bones and decided to make a pot of the mouth-watering and nutritious soup.

Beef soup was loaded with pureed pumpkin that provided a rich and beautiful hue to my brew. Also,  an assortment of vegetables that included fresh and crispy corn on the cob. I made sure to add vegetable bouillon and pumpkin noodle packet mix for added flavors.

Fresh sprigs of thyme, scallion, whole scotch bonnet pepper, crushed pimento (all spices) and garlic helped to give exotic and amazing flavors to my delicious beef bones soup. Once more,  I was over the moon.

A SATURDAY STAPLE #CHICKEN AND VEGGIE SOUP

Call me a creature of habits; but, when it comes to the culinary-side of things, if it feels good, tastes good, I’m ‘rocking’ it. And, that’s my relationship with soup. Any given Saturday, I like to prepare and cook a hearty pot of soup. This generally lasts me throughout the upcoming week. It’s satisfying, easy to prepare and nutritious.

Today is no different. Moreover, the morning began with an unseasonably cool May morning for South Florida standard. That gave me more encouragement to hop inside my kitchen and prep for this delicious concoction.

My soup of choice was chicken and vegetable soup. I used the backbones and the feet of the chicken as my protein. These are excellent for great flavors and loaded with nutrients. I made use of Florida’s sweet and crispy corn on the cob. Soup also consisted of assorted root veggies like carrots, celery, chocho, onions and pumpkins.

With a myriad of aromatic spices and ingredients like pimento (all spices), garlic, scallion, fresh thyme, salt, black pepper, scotch bonnet pepper, and Grace chicken noodle packet mix, soup simmered to a succulent finish.

DON’T ‘KNOCK’ MY FEET! CHICKEN FEET/VEGGIE SOUP

It was back to basics for yours truly. As the winds howled and temperatures took a ‘nose-dive’ on the outskirts, I decided to revisit a childhood favorite of mine. In the Caribbean and Asian kitchens, chicken feet are utilized as tasty protein additions to stews and vegetable soups.

Chicken feet are loaded with beneficial nutrients such as collagen (by the way, excellent for tight skin), vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. So, with that in mind I grabbed my stock pot and got my chicken feet softened in preparation for  a soup.  For extra flavoring,  I added the backbones and neck of a whole chicken. In addition,  chopped pumpkin pieces were added along with salt, back pepper, and other seasonings.

Pieces of corn on the cob, root vegetables such as carrots, onions, crushed cloves of garlic, and celery were tossed in as well.  Chicken soup was flavored with fresh thyme, pimento(all spice), scallion, bouillon and chicken flavored noodle mix.

Under low eat, chicken feet and vegetable soup simmered to a delicious and aromatic consistency. My stomach and taste buds were truly warmed on a winter’s day.

THE DANCES OF THE TREES SENT ME COOKING #CHICKEN/PUMPKIN SOUP

Mother Nature has a way of reminding us that it’s time to make that switch. She does so by orchestrating the beautiful trees within our midst. As they sway and perform their dances, we know it’s that time of year; a time when the air is dry and a little crispy.

For me, it’s the perfect indicator to head to my kitchen and pamper this stomach and palate of mine. And, what better way to warm and care for my culinary needs than with some chicken, pumpkin, assorted vegetables and spices all in a stockpot in the form of soup.

SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN/VEGGIE SOUP

I love soup because it is very satisfying and healthy. This one pot wonder is loaded with nutrients such as, protein from the chicken, and large amounts of vitamins, mineral, fibers and other beneficial nutrients that are great for the body.

I didn’t need a large amount of chicken to ‘kick-off’ my chicken and veggie soup. I used the dark portions of the chicken. I would’ve also preferred the backbone and other bony sections of the fowl; however, I rolled with what I had on hand. I chopped a couple of drumsticks and thigh in small portions. I seasoned with a salt and black pepper and seared these for a few minutes in a sturdy stock pot with a drizzle of olive oil.

To that, I added chopped onions, carrots, pumpkin pieces, and other root veggies. These were combined and coated with the warmth of the chicken pieces. I made sure to season along with salt and black pepper. Cold tap water was added to cover same and allowed to come to a boil. Then stove was turned down to a low to medium for a simmering effect.  Garlic, thyme, rosemary, pimento (all spices) were added.

After pumpkin pieces were fork tender, these were removed from soup and cooled. Then they were added to standing blender and pureed and added back to soup. At this point, okra, scallion, Grace chicken noodle Cock (packaged) soup mix were added to soup. Additional seasoning and herbs were added after taste test.

Soup was simmered on low heat for approximately fifteen minutes until the right consistency was had. Soup was served warm. I know I shall revisiting this dish throughout the cool months of the year.

FISH HEADS RULE!! #FISH BROTH (TEA)

I had just finished my morning’s work out and my endorphins were kicking. Moreover, I had all this pent-up energy within. What did I do? I headed for my kitchen and grabbed a couple of snapper fish that I had reserved for tomorrow’s dinner. Immediately I had a clear plan. I grabbed my cutting board and butcher’s knife and went chopping.

Those big guys stood erect and stared back at me. Their eyes were brilliant as they ogled me. It was as if they were beckoning me to come and get them. And I did. I took my knife and gently but firmly removed their heads, and set them aside. Where I come from, we don’t toss these.

Funny how a couple of fish heads bring back heart-warming memories when things were simple. You see, my dad used to bring home these King fish heads at least once a week. And mom being that ‘iron chef’ that she was turned out some mouth-watering fish broths for the entire family (well, it was one of dad’s favorites). In Jamaica, we call it ‘fish tea’. It’s a cross between soup and broth. It’s an excellent starter for a meal.

So, with that in mind, I decided to replicate my dear mom’s fish tea. I gathered a few root vegetables and fish heads.

SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR FISH BROTH (TEA)
SOME OF THE MAIN INGREDIENTS FOR FISH BROTH (TEA)

With a few rough chops I added same to stock pot and allowed them to simmer under low to medium heat. I also added veggie bouillon and seasoned along with a pinch of jerk sauce, crushed garlic,thyme, pimento and salt and black pepper to taste.

FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING
FISH BROTH (TEA) SIMMERING

Close to the end I tossed in a few pieces of blanched chopped okra I had in the freezer.

In less than half an hour my fish tea was ready for serving. In my broth (tea), I don’t strain; everything  is consumed. It’s vital to be careful of all those bones. I don’t worry. By now, I’m a pro!

FINISHED FISH BROTH (TEA)
FINISHED FISH BROTH (TEA)

I know what I’ll be having for a light lunch today. I’ll pair with some crusty English muffins with a smear of butter. By then, I’ll be relaxed and ready for a siesta. By the way, the rest of the fish (body) will be done up in an escovitched. I can’t wait.