Mustafai’s Wedding Soup

Good afternoon. Elise and I both have a snow day today. The blizzard that is blitzing through the Midwest has engulfed Morton as well, and here we are, snowed in. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little bored. There are things I could work on, but I feel a little restless and not real motivated to work out in my shop or read a book. I need a quick project that will give me some instant gratification.

In light of the above, I have decided to start working on dinner, making up the recipe as I go. It’s obviously a good day for soup, as evidenced by this picture of the view out my kitchen window:


Snowed in. Our doors are literally blocked with snow.

I will also be documenting each step of the process so that if when it turns out to be delicious, I will have the recipe written down for the world to enjoy. As an aside, the recipe will be loosely based on a short Albanian poem about a man, Mustafai, who had to sell his cow and her calf to pay for his wedding on May 24th.

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

1 lb. beef (in honor of Mustafai’s cow and her calf)

3 turnips

1 sweet potato

1 small ginger root

2 large leeks

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. black peppercorns

1.tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1 whole cinnamon stick

3 bay leaves

4 cloves fresh garlic

1 cup chopped collard greens

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup tomato sauce (preferably home-canned, grown in your own garden…but use whatever you have)

1/3 cup flour

4 cups chicken stock

Step 2: The Beef

Grind all the spices together with a mortar and pestle (easier said than done, I just found out)




Thoroughly cover the meat with the spices, and use your hands to work it in, because that’s fun.

Brown the beef in a skillet, and set it aside for later.

Step 3: The Rest

Peel the turnips and sweet potato, dice them, and throw them in a pot to boil for a little while.

Peel and shred the ginger, and press the garlic. Then throw them in a crock pot with the chicken stock.

Mix in the flour and tomato sauce BEFORE the chicken stock gets hot.

Chop the leeks and throw them in, too.

Also, the beef.

Once the root veggies are soft(ish), put them in the crock pot too, along with 2.5 cups of the water they were boiled in.

Then add the chopped greens, and let it all simmer on high heat for 3 hours.

Serve with fresh parsley on top over rice, or pasta. Or just eat it as soup.

The verdict? Delicious! Mustafai himself would be proud.



  1. Aunt Lynn

    Is that a Pflederer cutting board? REAL Spices??? You are a better cook than I, I do not think I have cooked a leek. When I can dig out of this blizzard…. I will take your recipe to the store…I will give you feed back after I make this.

    • No to the cutting board question. And I highly doubt that I am a better cook than you:)

      Although I will say that this recipe turned out really well.

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