We all make soups when the colder weather comes, and I’m certainly no exception. (As you’ll no doubt see in the coming months). I love the warming, hearty soups the most, but I think the biggest draw for me at this chilly time of year is the aroma of a great soup that permeates the house while it’s cooking, and the delightful smelling steam that beckons when you pour it into a bowl to serve.
This soup is a little different, as Brussels Sprouts are typically made roasted or shaved into a salad. But they give the soup a wonderful cabbage-like earthiness that makes it feel hearty and filling.
1 Leek Cleaned and chopped
2 stalks Celery Chopped
3 Carrots Medium, chopped
4 Yellow Potatoes Medium, chopped
1 small ham hock
1 Parsnip Whole or chopped
3 cups Brussels Sprouts Cleaned, outer leaves removed, cut in half
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Butter
5 cups vegetable broth
1 brick cream cheese, cut up in chunks
Salt & Pepper To Taste
Peel and chop carrots.
Clean and chop your leek.
Peel and cube the potatoes.
Clean and chop celery.
Peel the parsnip and cube.
Wash your Brussels Sprouts, discard outer leaves, gently trim the ends and cut them in halves, making sure that stem is intact so they don’t fall apart in the soup.
In a Dutch Oven or other pot with a lid, heat butter or olive oil.
Add leeks and cook for about 3 minutes, until softened;
Add carrots and celery and cook for another 3-4 minutes;
Add the ham hock, Brussels Sprouts, potatoes and parsnip.
Pour in the broth, cover and cook for about an hour, until all the veggies are cooked.
Remove the ham hock, and pull the meat from the bone. Chop and put back in the soup. Give the bone to that really good dog who’s been watching you with the meat.
Add the cream cheese and stir on low until it’s incorporated into the broth.
Check for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. Pour into a steaming hot bowl, wrap a blanket around yourself and watch Alastair Sim’s “Scrooge.” Repeat as needed.
Believe it or not, gin (you’re welcome, Bruce), is a great pairing with Brussels Sprouts. There’s actually a Brussels Sprout gin available now. Not on my Christmas list, however.