December 13: Feast Day of St. Lucy
Warm up during the winter weather with a saintly soup! On those darker, depressing December days in the northern hemisphere, we like to lighten up with leves (soup) of Santa Lucia.
St. Lucy, whose name means “light” in Latin, was a third-century saint from Sicily, Italy. Legends state that she was tortured to death by having her eyes gouged out and being burned at the stake for her Christian faith. St. Lucy is the patron saint of the blind and those with eye problems, as she gives hope to see the Light and Savior of the World—Jesus!
Santa Lucia Leves is a Hungarian recipe. This soup can be served during the season of Advent and Christmas and on the Feast Day of St. Lucy.
(Adapted from Cooking With the Saints by Ernst Scheugraf)
- ½ cup rice, uncooked
- 8 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter
- ¼ cup onion, minced
- 1 cup fully-cooked ham, chopped
- ½ cup flour
Boil the rice in salted water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain the rice-flavored water into a large bowl. Save the rice for another recipe, if desired (see Notes).
Mince the onions and chop the ham into tiny pieces. In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat.
- Use the leftover boiled rice to make Italian-style arancini (recipe is posted on National Rice Month in September). These Sicilian rice balls are normally filled with a tomato or meat sauce, mozzarella cheese and/or peas. But on the Feast Day of St. Lucy, Sicilians celebrate with sweetened rice arancini filled with chocolate.