HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Feb. 13, 2006

Soup ladies create buffet of exotic, unusual, mouth-watering fare

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Those savory aromas wafting through Cokato Jan. 25 were created by the Soup Ladies of Good Shepherd Free Lutheran Church.

The free soup luncheon buffet featured a variety of homemade soup, breads and sweets.

Brita Ylitalo brought wild rice dumpling soup. Becci Babb brought chicken wild rice soup, Addy Hokkanen brought corn chowder, Carole Nystrom brought cheesy vegetable soup, Carolyn Vollmer and Lynda Jensen brought chicken soup, Lori DeRosier and Lisa Jennissen brought chili, Sarah Berg brought beef soup, and Jody Danielson brought potato soup.

Verna Hendrickson of Kingston, Karen Ailie of Dassel and Glenyce Zipf of Cokato brought some show stoppers.

Zipf brought a Chinese chicken spinach soup. She learned the recipe from a friend she’s had since childhood whose parents were missionaries in China, she said.

Originally, the recipe didn’t call for much chicken meat because chicken was scarce in China. According to Zipf’s version, the soup includes an entire chicken. It also features exotic ingredients, such as ginger root and bean threads, she said.

Zipf, who came to Cokato from Bloomington about 13 years ago, said in the past she bought the bean threads or cellophane noodles from specialty stores. Now she is able to buy them at The Marketplace in Cokato. The bean threads look tiny when they are in the package, but “They expand a lot,” Zipf said.

Rice noodles can be used also, she said.

The soup looks very green when it’s served. Some people turn up their noses at it when they first see it. However, once they try it, they come back for more, she said.

The Chinese soup isn’t Zipf’s only favorite, though. She also brought tomato bisque to the buffet. It has chunks in it, she said.

Ailie also lists homemade tomato soup as her favorite, although the version she makes is smooth. She runs the ingredients through a food mill first, she said.

Her show stopper soup for the buffet, though, was Sauerkraut soup.

Ailie grew up in Grey Eagle and learned the inexpensive German recipe from her mother. They lived on a farm and grew their own cabbage for the sauerkraut and potatoes, and pork hocks were easy to come by too, said Ailie. She lives with her husband, Chuck, on his family farm northeast of Dassel.

Ailie usually makes a week’s worth of soup.

“This was a cheap recipe,” she said.

The quantity depends on how much water it takes to cover the pork hocks and the consistency the cook desires, Ailie said.

“Soup only gets better with time,” she said.

Hendrickson’s favorite is the same soup she brought to the buffet, Zucchini soup.

“It’s sort of our tradition when we came here,” Hendrickson said.

She and her husband, Wally, moved to the Kingston area from Hancock, Mich. in 1994, when he retired.

Hendrickson saw the recipe in a newspaper, tried it, and has been making it ever since for special occasions, she said.

Zucchini soup

1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. Italian bulk sausage

2 qts. tomatoes or 2 16-ounce cans of tomatoes

2 c. thinly sliced celery

1 lb. sliced carrots

1 c. chopped onion

1 or 2 green peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch squares

8 c. zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. oregano

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Brown beef and sausage until all pink color disappears. Leave meat in small chunks. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Add the meat and everything but the zucchini in to a soup kettle. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are almost tender. Add the zucchini and continue simmering until zucchini is tender. Serve in individual bowls with grated parmesan on top.

Chinese chicken spinach soup

Chicken, cooked and deboned

Ginger root, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

Chicken broth

10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed

2 ounces to 3 ounces bean thread

Peel pieces of ginger root and insert toothpicks through each for easy removal before serving. Cook chicken and ginger root together. Remove bones. Add chicken broth (already contains salt) to taste.

Drain and squeeze dry the spinach. While the spinach is draining, soak bean thread noodles as directed on the package. Cut into three-inch to four-inch pieces and cook in chicken broth. Add drained spinach.

Sauerkraut soup

Pork hocks



Water, enough to cover hocks




Start with a kettle that is big enough for the quantity of soup you intend to make. Place pork hocks in the bottom and cover with water, plus a little more. Bring to boil. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for hours until meat is very tender. Separate the meat from the bones.

Return meat to broth. Add cut up potatoes and sauerkraut to desired consistency. Add a little mustard. Cook until potatoes are done.

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