My home is once again tranquil but for the pitter-patter of feline feet racing across a wooden floor. The final sugar-crusted gibassier have made their way into my belly. The crispy tree is ready to be stripped of its twinkle (I’ll do it soon). The frenetic holiday season has left, keen to be swapped by a serener January chockfull of “hygge” (demerit points for using the hipster word-o-the-minute).
A quiet, cozy January means soup. Whether you simmer yours in a Dutch oven or slow cooker, soup is the ideal post-holiday vehicle for increasing veggie consumption (who doesn’t need to?), reducing calorie intake (to meet those 2018 resolutions), and scenting the house with wonderful smells (because it’s nice). So, for the next month, I’m setting butter, sugar and flour aside (baking detox!) and simmering up some bowlfuls of goodness.
When faced with leftovers, my mother was famous (in our house anyway) for saying, “Don’t throw it away – I’ll make soup out of it!” With a nod to her, I created this recipe to tackle the Matterhorn of edibles still lingering in my refrigerator and pantry after the holiday feasting. The only ingredient I purchased was the sausage.
This substantial soup is hearty enough for a main course, especially when served with a loaf of crusty bread.
8 oz. Linguiça or Polish sausage, sliced 1/4″ thick
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half or quarters if large
2 medium potatoes (10-12 oz. total), peeled and diced
1 cup shredded carrots
2 bay leaves
¾ teaspoon caraway seeds, ground
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté sausage until beginning to brown. Drain off all but one tablespoon of fat.
Add onions to pot with sausage and sauté until onions soften and begin to color. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds until just fragrant. Add Brussels sprouts, potatoes and carrots, bay leaves, caraway seed, allspice and pepper. Sauté 1-2 minutes.
Add broth, bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits, then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until Brussels Sprouts and potatoes can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife.
To finish, remove bay leaves, add vinegar and season to taste with salt. Garnish with parsley before serving.
“It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.”
If Envy is the green–eyed monster, then call me emerald-eyed Godzilla. A culinary peer just published her first article in a small, but well-regarded, food publication – I stumbled upon it accidentally and I’m verdantly envious. Not one of my nobler facets, this festering envy, but what’s a girl to do? I could deploy my usual denial tactics – block all social media mentioning her name and refuse to acknowledge my feelings of inadequacy. Not very mature nor useful. Instead, I’ve decided to better acquaint myself with the green–eyed goblin. A half–hour of internet research made me see that my envy is merely waiting to be harnessed for my benefit. Envy is a powerful teacher when it’s allowed to speak and the student takes the time to listen. Envy guides us towards our true desires. We need to ask ourselves what, specifically, is causing our envy. It’s typically something we want to be doing ourselves – like publishing a food article, perhaps? Envy rears its head when we feel we are falling behind our peers. Those we tend to envy are our equals, with quirks and failings as clear as our own, yet they’ve managed to express their talents in a way that we feel we should be doing ourselves – she published an article and why haven’t I?
Now that we’ve used envy to our advantage, now that we’re aware of the brass ring within our grasp, it’s time to move past emotion and into action. The quickest way to quash envy is to reach out to the person and offer them our congratulations quickly followed by a request for their advice on how we can move towards our own success. As soon as we see them as an ally and resource working towards a similar goal, the envy seems to melt away. Lastly, we need to take one small step towards our own goal – there’s room for more than one at the top.
And speaking of green…
Brussels Sprouts with Browned Butter, Cumin and Coriander
– 6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
– ¾ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
– ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 ½ lbs. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
– Salt and Pepper to taste
– 1 teaspoon lemon zest
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally to ensure the butter is cooking evenly. Once the color has changed from yellow to light-brown, add coriander and cumin and heat another 30 seconds until fragrant. Set butter aside.
In a large skillet with lid, heat brussels sprouts with ½ cup water on medium heat. Reduce heat, cover with lid and cook about 10 minutes until a knife tip easily pierces center of sprout but sprout is still firm. Remove lid, increase heat to high and heat until water is completely absorbed.
Add butter, including browned butter solids and spices, to sprouts and stir until sprouts are evenly covered with butter and begin to brown around edges. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and garnish with zest. Sprouts can be made ahead and reheated or served at room temperature.