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Twelve Days of Christmas

by Kim Packard
Created December 2011 Free, a children’s illustrated e-book with three rhymes=… It’s free until 11:59 Pacific Standard Time on 12/20/12. You can download a free cloud e-reader from Amazon so you don’t need Kindle. Happy Holidays. A New Post List of 25 Free eBooks for the Christmas Season from the Gutenberg Project Borscht Soup Polish barszcz in its strictly vegetarian version is the first course during the Christmas Eve feast, served with ravioli-type dumplings called uszka (lit. “little ears”) with mushroom filling (sauerkraut can be used, as well, again depending on the family tradition). Typically, this version does not include any… Read more
Created December 2011

Free, a children’s illustrated e-book with three rhymes=… It’s free until 11:59 Pacific Standard Time on 12/20/12. You can download a free cloud e-reader from Amazon so you don’t need Kindle. Happy Holidays.

A New Post List of 25 Free eBooks for the Christmas Season from the Gutenberg Project

Borscht Soup Polish barszcz in its strictly vegetarian version is the first course during the Christmas Eve feast, served with ravioli-type dumplings called uszka (lit. “little ears”) with mushroom filling (sauerkraut can be used, as well, again depending on the family tradition). Typically, this version does not include any meat ingredients, although some variants do.

Prague mayor serves fish soup in city centre


1. New World Corn Chowder (Christmas in Connecticut)

Cream of mushroom soup (12 servings made with 2/3 whole milk, 1/3 water)
Add a large can of whole sweet corn (purée 2/3, leave 1/3 whole)
Add 3 large russet potatoes diced and parboiled in just enough water to cover the potatoes; save broth to add to soup
Add 2 large onions diced and cooked in just enough water to cover the onions; save broth to add to soup
Add 2 large carrots, grated
Whipping cream (for a creamier soup, if desired)
Add ground nutmeg to taste
Add salt and pepper to taste

2. Smoked Haddock Chowder (A Christmas Carol)

Smoked Haddock Chowder is based on the famous Scottish dish of Cullen Skink a hearty soup and traditionally made with Finnan haddock (smoked haddock), potatoes and onions. This Smoked Haddock and Corn Chowder recipe is not dissimilar except flour and cream are used for thickening the soup instead of mashed potato. The soup also has added vegetables, leeks, carrots, spinach and sweet corn, making it hearty, quite healthy and filling; so filling it can be a meal in itself.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
20 fl oz/ 600ml milk
½ cup/small handful flat leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
12 oz/ 350g, undyed smoked haddock fillet
2 oz/ 55g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, cleaned, green top removed and white finely sliced
½ carrot, peeled, sliced and cut into tiny dice
2 tbsp all purpose/plain flour
1 cup/ handful baby spinach leaves, finely shredded
¾ cup/ 150g sweet corn, canned
¾ cup/ 175ml heavy/double cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Serves 4
Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Remove the leaves from the parsley and add the stalks to the milk. Finely chop the leaves and keep to one side. Add the bay leaf and the haddock to the milk.
Bring the milk to a gentle boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon remove the haddock from the milk and put to one side. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve and reserve the liquor.
Heat the butter in another saucepan, add the onions, leeks, carrots and cook gently for about 5 mins or until all the vegetables are soft taking care not to burn them.
Add the flour to the saucepan and stir thoroughly. Cook, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes.
Add the liquor to the vegetables and thoroughly. Continue stirring until the sauce is a thick, creamy consistency.
Flake the smoked haddock into meaty chunks taking care to remove any bones you may find. Add the haddock, spinach and sweet corn to the soup.
Add the cream and chopped parsley leaves to the soup, stir gently taking care to not break up the fish too much, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Taste the soup and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve
Garnish with more chopped parsley or a little extra pepper or add a softly poached egg on top for an even more filling soup.

3. Bow Tie Pasta Soup (Home for Christmas)

Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
1/2 cup uncooked miniature pasta bow ties
2 cans (approx. 15 ounces each) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
6 slices drained bacon, grass-fed beef fries, or smoked fish
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 cup julienne-cut carrots
1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley

4. Roasted Chestnut Soup (A Midnight Clear)

Yield 4 servings
Time 1 hour or less

If you can find peeled chestnuts, either frozen or vacuum-packed, this dish takes very little time or effort, but one of the payoffs of starting from scratch with whole chestnuts is gaining a bit of flavor as they toast. Ingredients

10 large chestnuts, peeled or unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or butter
2 cups chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
Salt and fresh black pepper
4 cups good chicken stock
Chopped celery leaves or parsley for garnish
1. If you have peeled chestnuts, proceed to Step 2. Otherwise, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp paring knife, make an X on the flat side of each chestnut. Roast in an open pan for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the skins begin to open away from the meat. Remove both outer and inner skins while chestnuts are warm.
2. Place olive oil or butter in deep skillet or casserole, and turn heat to medium. A couple of minutes later, add celery, onion and a good sprinkling of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add stock and chestnuts, bring to a boil and partly cover. Lower heat, and simmer until chestnuts are mushy, about 30 minutes.
3. Carefully puree soup in a blender, or cool and then puree. Measure and add water to total 6 cups of liquid. Reheat, adjust seasoning if necessary and serve, garnished with celery leaves or parsley.

5. Curried Cauliflower Soup (36 Chowringhee Lane)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 medium-sized head of cauliflower, separated into florets and washed
1/2 tomato, chopped finely
5 or 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 – 1/2 cup 18% cream, or light coconut milk
juice of 1 lime
salt to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spice, stir and cook until until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add cauliflower florets and tomato and stir to coat in spices. Allow to cook to a minute or two, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until cauliflower is quite tender, about 20 minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add cream, lime juice and salt and adjust to taste.

6. Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup (Navidad)

2 oz. dried mushrooms (porcini or other, such as shiitake), soaked and reconstituted
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. fresh chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
1 cup yams, chopped (about 1 medium yam)
6 cups veggie stock
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
fresh parsley, to garnish

Beforehand, soak dried mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. Strain to remove resin but keep mushroom liquid if using to make stock.
In a large heated saucepan, heat oil and add garlic and onions. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add chanterelle mushrooms and gently cook for 3 minutes. Add yam, dried mushrooms, and stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an immersion hand blender, puree soup until smooth. Add milk and stir well. Serve hot with parsley to garnish.
Makes 8 servings at 1 1/4 cup each.

7. Pumpkin Soba Soup (with an assorted sashimi on the side) (A Winter’s Tale)

Cook pumpkin in hot water flavored with dashi (soup stock), soy sauce and mirin.
Cook soba (buckwheat noodles) separately and drain. Al dente.
Serve soba in individual bowls, pour the stock over the soba, place pumpkin on top.
Add cooked spinach on top.

8. Red Bean Soup (Azuki Soup/Oshiruko) This is an Asian dessert soup. (Heavenly Forest)

Boil azuki beans as instructed on the bag it comes in and add sugar to taste.
Add rice cakes if desired.

9. Creamed Sea Urchin Soup with Braised Fennel (Will It Snow for Christmas?)

[Serving four]
4 sea urchins, (yielding approximately 20 sacs of roe)
2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed and finely small diced, (save the tops for garnish)
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 table spoons butter
¼ cup Pernod
¼ cup dry white wine
½ liter fish stock
½ liter heavy cream
Salt and pepper
2 table spoon olive oil

For the soup: remove the sea urchin roe and rinse it gently in water. In a soup pot gently cook the onions, garlic and half of the fennel with 2 tablespoons butter. Cook until they are soft, then deglaze the pot with the Pernod and reduce by half. Add the wine and reduce by half. Next add the fish stock and heavy cream and reduce by half. Using a hand blender, puree the soup to a smooth consistency. Pass through a chinois into another soup pot. Add half of the raw sea urchin roe to the soup and puree again. Season with salt and pepper. Froth the soup again before serving.
Place the diced fennel and olive oil in a small pot on low heat. Slowly cook the fennel until a golden color is achieved. Season with salt and pepper.
Place a mound of warm braised fennel in the middle of a soup bowl. Next, pour the freshly frothed sea urchin soup around the fennel. Place the remaining sea urchin on top of the fennel and garnish with the fennel fronds.

10. Molly Malone’s Cockle and Mussel Soup (Bad Santa)

40 or so cockles and/or mussels
1 Oz butter or butter substitute
1 Yellow onion chopped fine
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Cups whole or 2% milk
2 Ribs of celery chopped fine
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ Cup Cream
1 Rib of celery, minced or some finely chopped parsely (for garnish)
Thoroughly wash the shellfish shells and remove all dirt and debris (see the helpful video to teh right).
Put the shellfish in a large pot, cover with water, season with a small handful of of table salt and bring to the boil.
Boil until the shellfish open, indicating that they are done. Turn off the heat and let cool.
Drain the shellfish, but keep the water and place it back into the pot, and cut the shellfish from their open shells where they are each connected. Place them in a bowl and set aside.
In large pot over low to medium heat, melt the butter or substitute and add the onion.
Stir and let the onion sweat (cook slowly) until soft.
Add flour 1 Tbsp at a time, stirring after each, and continue to cook for 60 seconds after the third spoonful of flour.
Take the shellfish boiling-liquid you kept, add the milk to it, and stir.
Add the milk- water mixture a little at a time to the soup pot, stirring with each addition.
Add the chopped celery and cook 5-6 minutes, add parsley, stir, taste and season with salt and pepper.
Bring the soup to the boil, lower heat to medium, and simmer 3-4 minutes.
Add the bowl of shellfish to the soup and stir until heated through.
Add the cream and stir briefly, but do not allow to boil again.
Serve the soup when warmed through , with celery or parsley for garnish

11. Tomato Artichoke Soup (Stuck on Christmas)

28 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
15 oz can artichokes
1 cup water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil

Chop 1 large onion and 1 clove garlic. In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Sauté the onions, garlic, and 3 bay leaves until the onions are translucent.

Chop the artichokes into smaller pieces. In the soup pot, add the artichokes, tomatoes, 1 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or blender if necessary), blend the soup to a smooth consistency. Add 1 cup milk. Top with croutons and a little parmesan and serve immediately.

12. Rhubarb Soup (The Night Before Christmas)
(This is a chilled soup, served as a first course.)

2-lbs or 6 cups of rhubarb
fresh squeezed juice of 1 orange
1/2 of the orange zest
1 cup sugar
3-1/2 cups of water
crême fraiche

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