Posted by: Rachel | January 4, 2015

a soupy two-fer

A friend called me last week to say she had made soup and wanted to offload share some with me. Do I ever say no to an offer like that? Nope…

It was wonderful. Smoky, rich, stewish, hearty, cockle-warming, year-starting soup. Made me happy, and I asked for the recipe. (Did I remember to take pictures before I scarfed it all down? Nope. Sorry!)

Here’s the recipe as she sent it (title is my own doing, though):

Celestial Potato Soup

One onion, diced
5-6 potatoes (I prefer red), wash (duh), but don’t peel, diced to bite-size (use an apple corer/slicer, if you’ve got one)
Some carrots, diced
3 – 4 stalks of celery, diced
8 cups of chicken broth (or however much needed to cover everything)
Ham bone with plenty of ham still on (what’s left after your holiday eating is done)
1 t salt and several grinds of fresh pepper
1/2 t caraway seeds
1/4 t fresh nutmeg
1 c milk
3 – 4 T cream cheese (or sour cream would probably be good, too.)
Several handfuls of frozen spinach

Sauté the onions in olive oil.

Add the carrots and celery and potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, and let that simmer, covered, until the veggies are tender. But while it’s cooking add the ham bone and meat, salt and pepper, caraway seeds, and nutmeg.
When you’re just about done add the milk, cream cheese, and spinach.
Adjust seasonings.
Bet it would be good with a parsley garnish, but I was in too much of a hurry to go gather some.

Delicious. However, if you want to try this and don’t happen to have a leftover hambone around (as I did not), I have a suggestion/solution. I got inspired by her recipe and took off in a slightly different direction.

The Fiesta near me sells smoked turkey wings and drumsticks. Aha! This is the answer – not quite as salty as ham but plenty flavorful, inexpensive, always available (at least here in central Texas) and yummy. I honestly can’t think of anything better to do with a smoked turkey wing than to make this soup (she said modestly).

Now if you know me, you know that I am certainly a fan of potatoes, but I am even more of a fan of beans. So, here is what I did:

Terrestrial Bean Soup

1 smoked turkey wing
2 medium onions, rough chopped
2 large carrots, cleaned and diced
water to cover well (about 3-4 quarts/liters)

4 cans of beans, drained and rinsed*
1 tbsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsp ground dried porcinis

a few slices of slightly stale bread, cubed

Break the wing into sections, put it in a deep Dutch oven, add the carrots and onions, cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for two hours. Skim any flotsam or jetsam if needed.

Remove the wing, let cool a bit and pick any meat off. Return the meat to the pot, add the beans (*I used 2 cans of cannellini (white kidney) beans, one can of chickpeas, and one can of something called pink beans that looked like pale kidney beans), spices, and ground mushrooms. Stir and simmer an additional hour. Add the bread and simmer 1/2 hour more. It will dissolve and thicken the soup. (For a gluten free version mash some of the beans and do not add the bread.)

Check for salt if needed. Enjoy over the next few days – it just keeps getting better! Mmmm…

A hearty start the the new year, either way! This makes a fine lunch or dinner, with or without that crusty bread we keep hearing about (grin). And, both of the above recipes are no more than jumping off points for the soup you want to make… enjoy!

Mmmmmm… be warm and safe and happy new year!



  1. Finally, a decent reason to eat a smoked turkey leg.

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