Category Archives: SOUP

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.

BROCCOLI AND KALE SOUP ##FIBER!!

 Time was of the essence. When it comes to this time of the year (approaching summer), perishables get a beating. Had some of nature’s wholesome foods (kale/broccoli) on hand. From the looks of a portion of same, they were heading downhill.

BROCCOLI, KALE AND OTHER INGREDIENTS FOR SOUP
BROCCOLI, KALE AND OTHER INGREDIENTS FOR SOUP

Decided to transform them into a creamy and smooth dish in the form of broccoli and kale soup. Did someone say ‘FIBER!!’ Added a few other ingredients like:

  • diced onions
  • garlic
  • veggie bouillon
  • water
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • milk
  • sharp cheddar

In a stock pot, diced onions  and crushed garlic were sautéed in olive oil. Then kale and broccoli were added to the mix; making sure to season along with salt and black pepper. Water was added along with vegetable bouillon. This simmered until tender.

After cooling, this was added to standing blender for pureeing.

BROCCOLI AND KALE SOUP IN BLENDER
BROCCOLI AND KALE SOUP IN BLENDER

This was poured into stock pot under low heat. Warm milk and sharp cheese were then added. This brought it further to a creamy consistency. Served same with garnish of broccoli and a dollop of sour cream.

NO TRADING MOOD #LENTIL SOUP

It is said that these healthy legumes (lentils) date back to Bible days where Jacob traded same to Esau for his birthright. For thousands of years, lentils have graced many  Mediterranean, Asian, African and other tables. This was music to my ears.

As I washed my tiny beans I smiled knowing what was in store.  I’ve consumed lentils many times. I like the fact that they are very satisfying and will not spike the glucose level within my body. I used the brown lentils I had on hand.

These super-foods are of a variety of hues such yellow, green, black, orange and brown. Based on research, lentils are some of the healthiest foods around as they are loaded with nutrients such as cholesterol-lowering fibers, protein, vitamins including B12, folate and others.

Lentils cook relatively quick and easy and is able to absorb flavors and seasonings. And, with that on my mind, I sautéed  in a drizzle of olive oil root vegetables like:

  • diced carrots
  • diced celery
  • finely chopped onions
  • garlic
  • bell pepper
    SAUTEED ROOT VEGGIES FOR LENTIL SOUP
    SAUTEED ROOT VEGGIES FOR LENTIL SOUP

    This was seasoned along with salt, black pepper, cumin, bouillon, and fresh thyme. Then, I added rinsed brown lentils and coated them in oil for a few minutes.

    LENTILS AND ROOT VEGGIES BEING SAUTEED
    LENTILS AND ROOT VEGGIES BEING SAUTEED

    Cold water was then added. This simmered on low for approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Additional water was  added as required.

After soup arrived at the preferred consistency, this was cooled  and then pureed. Lentil soup was served with a dollop of sour cream and finely chopped parsley as garnish.

 

RED BEANS(PEAS) SOUP WITH ROOT VEGGIES AND HAM BONES/PIG’S TAIL

The first day of 2016 found me quite naughty in the kitchen. You see, I blame my childhood friends, Dorna and Clova.

My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Bean soup (pig's tail on spoon)
My childhood friend Dorna devouring Red Beans soup (pig’s tail on spoon)
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND FRIEND, CLOVA
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS
ME AND MY CHILDHOOD FRIENDS

They requested a Jamaican favorite, red beans (well, we call it ‘peas’ in Jamaica) soup with pig’s tail, left-over ham bone and a medley of root veggies. I’ve consumed this soup numerous time over the years. It’s such a rich and flavorful one. Moreover, it’s loaded with great fibers,proteins, vitamins and other beneficial nutrients that are great for the body.

I couldn’t help myself. As I  fetched my left-over ham bone, I smiled. I felt rather naughty.  After all, it’s still the festive season. I figured we should go out in a succulent ‘bang’. Thus, I also included a fresh squeeze of coconut milk for added flavors and richness.

Of course, no red bean soup is one without a medley of root vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.) I also incorporated yellow yam (ground provision) along with boiled dumplings made with a combination of whole-wheat flour, cornmeal and all-purpose flour.

Red bean soup was also flavored and spiced with fresh thyme, all spices (pimento), fresh ginger, garlic, diced onions, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper and dried seasonings. With a packet of noodle soup and  veggie bouillon, my soup simmered on low and came to a beautiful consistency and finish.

Oh, we were on a roll. We chowed down on left-over Jamaican fruit cake served with strawberries and mint. Of course, we had to include a little spirit. And because I feel like every moment should be a celebration, I served chardonnay in champagne chutes. Those chutes are gifts from Dorna. Yeah….I was happy.

JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT
JAMAICAN FRUIT CAKE WITH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT

 

 

ROASTED CARROT/PUMPKIN/SWEET POTATO SOUP BY THE WATER’S EDGE

What a difference a day makes! Once again, we here in South Florida, U.S.A. have been blessed with a snippet of Fall. I woke up to the trees doing their signature dance as the blustery winds took hold of their branches. I was also fortunate to behold the trees ridding themselves of a few weakened leaves that made a little mess on my back patio. I didn’t mind. After all, its Fall Florida-style.

It seemed like the geese and the ducks felt the change; and, they too went prancing along. With a slightly cool and refreshing wind brushing my cheeks and shoulders, I took that as my cue to retreat to my kitchen. Something warm and comforting was on my mind. So, I reached for my baking sheet tray and lined same with foil paper.

I decided to make a roasted carrot,sweet potato and pumpkin soup. I retrieved a few carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and onions and cut them in wedges. I drizzled them with a little canola oil and sprinkled a cinnamon, salt, and paprika on them.

CARROTS, SWEET POTATOES, ONIONS, PUMPKIN FOR ROASTING
CARROTS, SWEET POTATOES, ONIONS, PUMPKIN FOR ROASTING

These were roasted in a preheated oven at 410 degrees for approximately 35 minutes. As the heat hit them, the spices perfumed my space and reminded me that it was Fall. These were  then cooled.

ROASTED CARROTS, ONIONS, PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES FOR SOUP
ROASTED CARROTS, ONIONS, PUMPKIN AND SWEET POTATOES FOR SOUP

In a stockpot, a drizzle of olive oil was added. Roughly chopped celery, onion, and crushed garlic were softened and seasoned with a pinch of salt and black pepper. These were then added to roasted root vegetables and pureed with chicken stock to a chunky finish.

Soup was returned to stockpot. Fresh thyme and chicken noodle along with a little cold tap water were added to further enhance the taste and flavors. Soup was simmered on low heat for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes until heated through and arrived at the preferred consistency.

As I sipped my warm and satisfying soup,on my patio by the water nearby, I smiled. I was in a perfect place. A place where the animal lives ran wild and free, a place where the trees were alive and the sound of carefree kids squealed  with delight.

NO TOSSING OF MY CHICKEN BACK PARTS ##CHICKEN BACK SOUP WITH CORN/PUMPKIN

When it comes to utilizing a whole chicken, I’m first in line. Nothing goes to waste for yours truly. So, I had previously made chicken dishes from the dark and white portions. As a matter of fact, it was just a couple of days ago I had the left-overs of a super delicious curried chicken dish. Oh, I’m still salivating in that goodness.

I love the necks and back bones of the dear bird. I do think they make the most aromatic and tasty soups, gravies and broths. Frankly, I prefer to use these parts when I cook a  chicken soup. Originally, I had a chicken broth in mind; however, when I went shopping, I couldn’t help myself after spotting those corns on the cob. I decided to make a chicken back soup consisting of corn on the cob. Corns are plentiful on the market. And I fetched five of the yellow/golden wonders for $1.50.

Already, I had all the other ingredients:

  • Pumpkin (squash)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Scallion
  • Bouillon cube (veggie flavor)
  • Chicken noodle soup mix
  • Scotch bonnet pepper

It was going to be a back to basic sort of dish. You see, over the years, I’ve devoured several chicken back soups; so I knew exactly my plan of action.

SOME OF THE VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN BACK SOUP
SOME OF THE VEGGIE INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN BACK SOUP

Method:

  1. The skin and excess fatty parts were removed from chicken back parts. Then they were scalded with boiling water for a few minutes, drained and set aside.
  2. In a sturdy stock pot, a drizzle of olive oil was added. To that, diced carrots, onions, celery and bell pepper were added. Chicken parts were then added along with a seasoning of salt, black pepper, and crushed garlic.
  3. All ingredients were blended for approximately five minutes. Then roughly chopped pumpkin pieces were added along with thyme, bouillon cube,crushed pimento (all spice) and chopped pieces of corn on the cob.
  4. Cold tap water was then added to cover all the ingredients under low to medium heat with lid on.
  5. When pumpkin pieces were tender, these were removed and crushed with fork. Crushed pumpkin was added back to pot.
  6. After tasting, extra seasonings were added along with chicken noodle powder mix.
  7. This simmered under low heat until soup acquired the preferred consistency.
  8. Chopped scallion,parsley and scotch bonnet pepper were used to garnish.

My chicken back soup was chock full of amazing flavors. The corn was sweet and still possessed its crispness. I didn’t evade my chicken back bones. I removed the pieces of flesh and sucked on the bones. The scotch bonnet pepper was visible but not overpowering. All the aromatic flavors became one. It warmed my palate and stomach in a beautiful way. Moreover, it brought back childhood memories of when things were simple and foods were wholesome.