Happy day after Thanksgiving! The calm before the next storm. This day is dedicated to staying in my pajamas as long as possible and NOT SHOPPING. But cooking? Yes, perhaps.
A perfect time to hike the Palisades overlooking the Hudson River to catch the last glimpse of Fall's colors, as the mild weather continues this month.
A few leaves can be found still clinging to the branches, but not for long!The sprouts I made for Thanksgiving soaking in a bowl of cold water before cooking. I like to do this to refresh them and add a little extra moisture.
Today seems like a good day to clear out the old and make way for the next phase of the season as we head towards winter. My friend Jennifer came up with her own version of this ritual which turned into a batch of homemade soup she calls Veggie Sausage Soup.
Jen: It all began with the beautiful brussel sprouts that I found at Union Square Greenmarket and just had to buy even though Ron (her boyfriend) doesn’t think that he likes them. He asked me what I was going to do with THOSE? I have to confess even though I like them I have never bought or cooked them myself. My father keeps a huge vegetable garden in our home in Lexington, Kentucky, although he is slowing down now at 92. However, he never grew Brussels Sprouts and I had never seen the plant until yesterday when I was looking online for a recipe.
Deb: I think Brussels sprouts are more a cool climate crop and probably do better up North where they get a touch of frost.
Jen: Anyway, in the process of preparing to leave for a long Thanksgiving holiday I needed to use a few things in the refrigerator before I left. The brussel sprouts, goat cheese, baby portabello mushrooms, vegetable sausage patties and more needed to get used or thrown away.
Deb: Vegetable sausage patties?
Jen: Yes, I buy Morning Star Hot & Spicy Veg Sausage Patties (I think from Whole Foods) and they are really good! The Brussels Sprouts I actually cored and quartered for the soup. It came out great! Ron and I both loved it. He says that he has decided that he just didn't realize he liked Brussels Sprouts.
Deb: Cored the sprouts!? Wow, that is a loving touch and probably not necessary as the core will get as tender as the leaves when cooked. Sounds like you have a winning recipe on your hands. May I please share it on the blog?
Jen: Oh why yes! Thanks!
Coring a sprout takes some time and patience. Not sure it is worth it or even needed. Maybe fancy pants restaurants do this. Hmmmmm.
Jennifer's Vegetable Sausage Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom Soup
2 packages of 6 each Morning Star Hot & Spicy Veg Sausage Patties
1 small handful of Dried Porcini Mushrooms (I didn’t think I had enough Baby Portobellos)
1 small container Brussel Sprouts- trimmed and quartered
1 head or 6-8 cloves of Garlic, peeled
1 small package Goat Cheese
½ of a container of Baby Portabello Mushrooms
1 head or 6-8 cloves of Garlic peeled
1 bag of Frozen Pearl Onions
1 container of Chicken Stock (4 cups)
1 cup of Water and ½ teaspoon of Veg. Better than Bullion (It needed a little more liquid)
Cook the Vegetable sausage patties at 350 on a baking sheet about 12 min to get them a little crispy on the outside.
Place the Porcini Mushrooms to soak in a small bowl of warm water.
Place the Brussel Sprouts and the garlic cloves on a baking sheet. Then drizzle Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and toss. Roast in oven for 20 mins at 375 tossing 1 to 2 times while cooking. Slice the Baby Portobello’s.
Place a large pat of Butter in a soup pan.
Drain the Porcini (I like the Porcini chopped in small pieces) and Sauté Both types of mushrooms. Make sure to salt and pepper.
Put the Frozen Pearl Onions in at this point too. Once the onions looked done I then added the Chicken Stock and Goat Cheese.
Crumble the cooked Veg. Sausage Patties and add to soup.
Make sure not to overcook the Brussel Sprouts that were roasting and add to soup.
Save the roasted whole cloves and smash/chop and then add to soup.
Add a small chunk of grated Parmesan Cheese. Last Salt, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper to your taste.
My Pearl Onions, the bigger ones seemed a bit tough so I scooped out some of the bigger ones along with some of the liquid and blended them in the Blender and added them back in.
Thanks Jennifer, this sounds great! I love the cooking improvisation that took place in your kitchen born of necessity and a willingness to take a risk. Amanda is away this holiday weekend so we will have to pair this soup with whatever wine is leftover!