Friday, November 14, 2008

Creamy Brussels Sprouts Soup

After a tiring day at the bookstore, this was one of the easiest supper I ever dreamed up. I had a limited larder the other night, but I crossed my fingers, heated up bunch of stuff, seasoned the whole and served it forth, and it turned out to be a wondrous soup. It was quick to make, tasty, easy on the wallet, outstandingly healthy, but unfortunately rather drab in the curb appeal department. Food to serve at the orphanage, gray food for a gray, drizzly day. But luckily, Oliver and Company rallied with "Please, Crispy Cook, may I have some more?"

It was a cinch to whip up since I had made a pot of vegetable stock in my crockpot several days earlier using my ever-present freezer stash of vegetable trimmings and had also thrown in several peeled, chunked potatoes for another recipe I had in mind. I still had veggie stock and cooked potatoes in the fridge, as well as some leftover cooked brussels sprouts from our garden, so it only took me 20 minutes to get dinner on the table. I estimate it only cost a total of $5 to feed my family of four with this awesome soup, so I patted myself on the back after this rare alignment of frugality, deliciousness and quick cooking time in my kitchen.

Creamy Brussels Sprouts Soup

6 cups vegetable broth
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 cups cooked brussels sprouts (about 1 lb. raw brussels sprouts or 1 10-oz. pkg. frozen sprouts, if you must)
2 tsp. dried thyme
2/3 cup sour cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
Grated Cheddar Cheese for garnish

The easiest way to make this soup is to put your stash of vegetable trimmings (carrot and potato peels, celery ends, onion and garlic skins, etc.) into a 4 quart crockpot overnight with water to cover. Add potatoes. Cover crockpot and cook on low heat 8 hours or until you wake up. The potatoes will be appropriately soft and will have a nice mahogany tan from the onion skins.

Cool and throw potatoes and stock in blender or food processor in batches to be pureed. You don't want to cook brussels sprouts or any member of the cabbage family for too long because they are surprisingly delicate veggies that will just slime out and get sulphurous when overcooked. Cook brussels sprouts separately in lightly salted water until done (about 15 minutes). Puree brussels sprouts in blender also.

If you don't have a veggie scrap stash or haven't done the overnight cooking of the following day's meal, skip the instructions above and just go ahead and boil up your vegetable broth from a can or bouillion powder. Add potatoes and cook until soft (about 15-20 minutes). Cook brussels sprouts separately in lightly salted water until tender (about 15 minutes).

Place purees of potato and brussels sprouts into soup pot and heat over medium heat until heated through. Add thyme, salt and pepper and taste. Swirl in sour cream and heat just until hot. Serve immediately with grated cheese on top.

A luscious, if not the most photogenic recipe.

Makes 5-6 hearty soup servings.

I am submitting this recipe for the first November installment of Grow Your Own, hosted this month by Filipino Foodie, Ning, of Hearth and Home. Grow Your Own is a fun foodie event that highlights recipes from home grown, foraged or fished/hunted items, as started by Andrea's Recipes. The Brussels Sprouts are among the lone inhabitants of my November garden plots, next to some forlorn and yellowed asparagus stalks and a few hardy herbs.

Yours truly will be the host of the next round of Grow Your Own, running from November 16-30 and I will be excited to see what everyone is cooking up from their gardens or catches in their streams, all around the world.


Anonymous said...

I also have lots of delicious but "unphotogenic" dishes,too; so I understand what you mean. :) With all those ingredients thrown in, am sure this soup is hearty and healthy! :) Thanks for sharing with this edition's Grow Your Own!

Ivy said...

Thanks Rachel for leaving your lovely comment on my blog. I used to have a bookstore as well and I know how many long hours I had to devote to keep it running. You made a frugal but lovely hearty soup for your family. I shall do my best to participate both at the Grow your own Event hosted by Ning, who is a friend and at yours as well.

Anonymous said...

There are so many soups that look lousy but taste great, and I bet this is one of them.
Have you ever roasted brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and a few walnuts? It really brings out a nice flavor, and might add something to this recipe. It would add to the preparation time, but I thought I would throw the idea out there, as my kids really liked the sprouts this way.

Rachel said...

Thank you Ning for your nice comments. Yes this is a humble-looking soup, but it has lots of other things going for it: frugal foodie value, healthy, tasty!

Ivy: A fellow book lover! I welcome your participation in the Grow Your Own round Ning is hosting and which I will be hosting Nov. 16-22. It is definitely cool to grow, forage, or otherwise harvest your own food for the table.

Erik: Thanks for the tip on the roasted Brussels Sprouts with walnuts. I picked some more sprouts last night to roast up with olive oil, garlic, spices and sliced almonds (I stocked up when my grocery store had them on sale for 99 cents a pound) and they were really good and nutty as you recommended. Thanks again for a delicious cooking suggestion!

Andrea Meyers said...

Your note about slime and sulphur made me laugh because that is my memory of any brussel sprouts I've ever eaten. Obviously I need to revisit the idea, be a little more open minded, and give them a chance. :-)

Anonymous said...

Yum Yum! I found this recipe when googling brussel sprout soup. The bf bought a club pack of sprouts that were about to go bad. I needed to use them asap.
Only additions I made: Carrots that were also about to spoil. Some when into the blend for color, others were just boiled with the sprouts and tossed in at the end. I think this saved the dish from looking so drab.
The other addition was a small dollop of bacon fat I had in the fridge. This was a random suggestion from the bf, very nice addition.
Tasty, simple dinner!

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys, it is delicious soup and when my friend kids refused to even try this soup because of the color, I added a little bit of kale and spinach to bring the nice green color back, and it still tastes good!