Kitchen Confessions: Holiday meal aftermath is a snap

By now, most of you have prepped, cooked and eaten the majority of your holiday meals… and maybe you still have one or two more feasts floating on the horizon. I am guessing most of you are left faced with the daunting task of “Now what to do with all of the leftovers?”

Being Ukrainian, I have a tendency to cook way too much, but also being a Ukrainian, I don’t want to waste a damn drop any of the food that I’ve spent hours in the kitchen slaving over!

Every feast that I host, everyone goes home with leftovers, whether they like it or not. But every year, I’m still left with a ton of ingredients that need to be used.

I have a confession to make: the picture you see is MY actual fridge right now! That hurts to admit that, and I’ve gone back and forth in my mind trying to decide if I want to publicize this reality for all to see.

Every time I open the door, I experience a mild panic attack; I want my clean, organized, healthy fridge back.

As soon as the company leaves, a plan will be set into motion, and step one is: dealing with the holiday ham!

A couple of years ago, I was in Toronto and stumbled upon one of the best bowls of soup I have ever had called HANGOVER SOUP! It was so soothing and unique, I just knew I had to try and recreate it myself when I got home, and I’m impressed at how well I was able to replicate it.

I’m not sure about the claims that it will cure a hangover, but I know that it is a perfect way to use up a lot of the holiday leftovers that may be haunting your fridge right now.

The added out of the ordinary ingredient is sauerkraut, which a lot of us may have in the fridge right now.

If not, it is really easy to find in the pickle aisle of your local grocery store, and is usually pretty inexpensive. Fermented foods are gaining a lot of media attention right now; google the “healing properties of sauerkraut,” and you will be surprised at how good it is for you!

Hangover Soup

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 ribs celery, sliced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed (about 1 cm)

2 cups chopped smoked ham (bite-sized pieces)

4 cups vegetable, or ham broth

1 large can diced tomatoes + juice

10-12 whole peppercorns

2 cups wine sauerkraut, drained of juice

Fresh ground sea salt &pepper to taste

1 bay leaf

METHOD:

In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Sauté onions and garlic. Add the celery and carrots, and cook until fragrant.

Add ham and continue cooking. Meanwhile, let the cubed potatoes soak in a bowl of cold water.

Add the vegetable stock, tomatoes and juice, bay leaf and peppercorns and stir to combine. Rinse the potatoes until the water runs clear and then add to the soup. Season to taste – be careful with the salt because the ham and sauerkraut have enough salt!

Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat, cover and let simmer over low heat for about an hour.

That’s it! The soup freezes really well too, so you can always have some portions left for future hangovers, or those days when you just need a warm bowl of soup.

Keep on hand for Jan. 1, because you never know what New Year’s Eve will bring!

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