I’m back from a wonderful, if slightly different, Christmas break by the English seaside. Quality time with Andrews family long walks and delicious meals made up my holiday. Actually I’ve been home since Monday, only the vast amount of food I’ve recently consumed, the abundance of restaurants in my neighbourhood and The Matrix trilogy on TV have all been keeping me from posting here.
I was the lucky recipient of several food-related gifts, including four cookbooks, two silicone baking pans, a pair of oven mitts and a mysterious implement which most closely resembles a wire comb (Andrew found it useful for brushing his hair), but my sister informed me yesterday is actually a vintage Angel food cake separator. I’ve never made Angel food cake before, but clearly, I’m going to have to start.
My most exciting foodie gift was two boxes of Moo cards, which Andrew ordered and wrapped up for my stocking. I’ve now got a selection of colourful business cards for Kitchenist and I plan to annoy and accost all I meet with them. I’m curious- what did everyone else get for the holidays?
But enough about gifts; this is a cooking blog, after all. Today I’m sharing a simple but delicious soup perfect for that most reviled of Christmas leftovers: the Brussels sprout. Of course, you all know that I love these miniature green cabbages, but sadly, many do not. So if you’ve got some Christmas Day hangers-on sitting around in your fridge, this would be a great way to use them up.
The recipe hails from Rachel Allen’s Home Cooking, a Christmas gift of mine and a gem of a cookbook. I’ve already made four recipes in two days from this book, and this soup was possibly my favourite of the bunch. On the surface, it’s just your run-of-the-mill recipe for puréed vegetable soup. Take one onion, one potato and some green things, cook in stock until tender, purée and stir in cream.
But the trimmings here make this dish so much more than that. A dollop of chive cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds work together to ensure that “leftovers” is the furthest thing from your mind when eating this. If you ignore the presence of the butter and cream, you’ll also feel like you’re doing something good for your body. That, coupled with the fact that it’s practically effortless to make, means this soup is the perfect post-holiday meal, easing us back into regular life.
Brussels Sprout Soup with Chive Cream and Almonds
adapted from Home Cooking by Rachel Allen
For the soup:
- 1 Tbs. butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 large potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes
- sea salt and black pepper
- 400g trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts, pre-cooked or raw
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 50ml single cream
- 50ml whipping cream
- 2 Tbs. finely chopped chives (or scallions, green parts only)
- 4 Tbs. flaked almonds
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and potato, season with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Turn the heat down to low and cover; cook for 10-12 minutes until the potato is soft. Stir occasionally and add a splash of water if the mixture is sticking.
- Add the sprouts and pour in the stock. Bring to a boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until sprouts are tender and hot through. (You will need less time for cooked sprouts, more for raw.) Remove soup from the heat and purée using an immersion blender, or blend in batches in the food processor. Stir in the cream and reheat the soup over a very low heat while you make the toppings.
- Put the whipping cream in a clean bowl and whisk to form soft peaks, and then stir in the chives or scallions. Toast the almonds lightly in a small dry pan until beginning to turn golden. Serve the soup in bowls with a dollop of cream on top and the chives scattered over.