Soup Making: Round 2

Alright, round 2 of soup making is in the books! Before I get to that, some updates from Round 1. My refrigerator broke two days after I finished making the soups, which was unfortunate. Luckily it’s been refrigerator temperatures outside, so it wasn’t the worst time of year for this to happen. I imagine the July soups would not have been so forgiving.

I was glad the soups were able to keep, as I had to make a decent effort to get through all of them. Lesson 1: soup for breakfast is not  bad. I imagine that’s what people did (or something like it) when refrigeration was not an option. Make your soup and then use the leftovers early the next day.

On to this week! Since it was Epiphany this week I did a little research and found out that in some parts of Ireland, Epiphany is called “Women’s Christmas“. Apparently the women go out and the men stay home and do the chores. I floated the idea to my husband, and despite his Irish heritage he seemed oddly unenthused. Oh well, some people just don’t like tradition I suppose.

The Plan:
Three soups* are on deck this week:

  • Artichoke and Potato Soup
  • Cream of Pea Soup
  • Brussels Sprout Soup

The Drink:

For the Feast of the Epiphany, a Lambswool Wassail** sounded delightful and is apparently the traditional drink for this ending to the 12 days of Christmas. While the traditional recipe called for ale, I made it with Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Hard Cider. It was perfect for a cold day:

The most quoted recipe for lambswool wassail is actually a poem from 1642:

Next crown a bowl full
With gentle lamb’s wool :
Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger,
With store of ale too ;
And thus ye must do
To make the wassail a swinger.

Pretty much the recipe I followed, though there was some cinnamon in there as well.

Given that Epiphany is the celebration of the Magi visiting Jesus, I had considered drinking a “3 Wise Men” shot. However, the idea of mixing Jim Bean, Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels hurt my liver just reading about it, so I nixed the idea. Glad I went with the wassail.

The Soups:

Soup making went a little smoother this week than last week (less to juggle, and the wassail wasn’t all that strong after simmering for a bit), but it was not without its mishaps. I’ll get to those in a second, but first…..the final product:

No soups for Saints this week, but these soups were good in their own right. Drawing on Brother Victor’s French cooking background, he was particularly partial to the Brussels Sprouts Soup. A mixture of Brussels Sprouts and leeks, I was pretty thankful for my food processor with this one. Slicing 2 lbs of Brussels Sprouts by hand would have been terrible, though probably more true to what the monasteries do. I ended up actually doubling this soup recipe, as our grocery store only sells brussels sprouts in 2 lb bags. Good thing I like brussels sprouts. They’re one of those vegetables that just make me feel virtuous.

The Cream of Pea Soup on the other hand, will be an excellent reminder of my failings. After carefully putting it together, I added the milk last as the directions specified. I only had soy milk on hand, so I added two cups of it and found that my soup suddenly tasted like….baked goods? Huh? Turns out it was vanilla soymilk, and I’d failed to notice before adding it. Not inedible, but I’m probably not sharing it with anyone either.

The Artichoke and Potato Soup was delightfully uneventful. I’d never put artichokes in a soup before, but coupled with 2 cups of white wine it was delightful. Definitely the one I’d be most likely to make again.

Total Cost for the Week: $38.78, including $10 for white wine that was nicer than what I should put in soup.
Total Soup: 40 cups, or 22 servings

*Page 10-12 of  12 Months of Monastery Soups
**Page 391 of Drinking With the Saints

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