Soups Of Many Colors

On a bone chilling icy day nothing could be better than the sound of fire crackling from the fireplace, the smell of soup in the kettle, and cornbread in the oven. My nose was teasing my taste buds. My taste buds were basking in expectations of being bathed in absolute delight.

The usual calling card (aroma’s from the kitchen ) was being left and had commenced drawing everyone from each corner of the house, inside and out, to have a need to get a drink of water, a cup of coffee, or anything that would put them in, or near the kitchen. The only thing was we all knew that when Aunt Nelly was in the “cooking business” you didn’t dare disturb her unless, you had a chore in the kitchen, or, a 911 emergency which included blood! The reason being that cooking for a small army required much concentration and much more work.

Aunt Nelly was preparing Emerald Soup which would be partnered with hot butter Corn Bread. She had soups of all colors in her collection of recipes. Ruby Red Soup (Cream of Tomato & Pimento), Yellow Harvest Soup (Creamy Butternut Squash & Pumpkin), Brown Beef Soup (Savory Vegetable Beef). There was even a Plum Purple Soup which was served cold over a small square of pound cake as a dessert soup on hot summer days. What can I say, Aunt Nelly was a colorful individual. Her soup was not of this world, as Aunt Nita would say, “simply Heavenly”, or “this is divine!”.

Don’t be fooled by the secret ingredient here! It lends lot of flavor and even those who literally hate it can not tell you put it the pot unless you tell them. When you serve this creamy, appetizing Emerald Soup, your friends will be green with envy.

Emerald Soup

2 Ham Hocks

5 C. Water

1 C. Vegetable Broth

1 16 oz. pkg. of split peas

1/2 C. of canned spinach with juice (pureed) secret ingredient

salt & pepper to taste

1 C. Half n Half

3 T. butter

1 small yellow onion (diced)

1 clove garlic (minced)

pinch of ground cumin

In a large heavy stock pot place Ham Hocks, water, and vegetable broth. You may add salt to taste. Bring to a rolling boil.

Add split peas stir down and adjust heat setting to medium heat. Cover with lid, let boil slowly for 1 hour. Stirring occasionally, being sure to scrape down sides and bottom of stock pot.

While peas are boiling, in a small skillet on LOW heat melt butter.

Add onion, and garlic to the butter. Sauté’ until transparent. Add to peas, stir well, replaced lid and continue the slow boiling. Stir about each 10 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of pot.

Puree the spinach in a food processor making sure that all of the Spinach is completely pureed. Pour pureed spinach into the peas, stir well.

Add the Half n Half. Stirring well.

Add pinch of cumin. Stirring well once more. Remove lid from soup pot and DO NOT REPLACE.

Place heat setting on low simmer. Stir often, keeping the sides and bottom scraped. Let soup just simmer for about 15 minutes more.

Serve in a bowl with a dallop of sour cream placed in the middle and a sprinkling of parsley. Don’t forget the hot buttered corn bread!

from a collection by Joyce M. Edwards (Smile, It’s Food Talking)

Alicia D. Walker

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