soup

Soup for When you are Sick

Everyone knows you're supposed to have chicken soup when you're sick. 

However, recently, when I had a cold that lingered and lingered and really needed soup I didn't feel like going out to buy a chicken. Or peel carrots. Or rinse the fresh dill.

I didn't feel like doing much of anything frankly, but I did want homemade soup.

So I made some from what I had in the house.

It was an amazing dish. Hearty, tasty, nourishing. Also EASY. 

I did feel much better the next day.

The recipe is extremely forgiving, so here it is with a bunch of ways you can vary the recipe depending on what you have in your house.

Freeze some for the next time you don't feel great and need some soup. Or want some wonderful, thick and filling dish for dinner.

Soup for When you are Sick

  • 3-4 meaty marrow bones
  • water
  • one package of bean soup mix or vegetable soup mix (I used Manischewitz but any is fine)
  • one large onion, chopped or sliced
  • one cup of split peas (green or yellow)
  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup any whole grain (such as farro, barley, wheatberries, kamut)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the bones in a pot, cover with water (about 8-10 cups) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and skim the stuff that comes to the top for about 10 minutes. Add the whole package of soup mix, the onion, split peas, lentils and whole grain, plus salt and pepper to taste. Partially cover the pan and simmer for hours, stirring occasionally, until the dried vegetables are very soft. I sometimes add more water if the soup is too thick.

Additions:

  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 4-6 soaked and chopped dried shiitake mushrooms, coarsely cut
  • Frozen corn kernels and/or lima beans (add about 1/2 hour before soup is done)
  • Whatever else you like (I sometimes add chicken bones in addition to meat bones)

Makes about 6 servings of soup (you have to fight over the bones or make it with 6 bones)

 

This Soup is Two Kinds of Hot

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

It's the old question made famous by Percy Bysshe Shelley in his poem, Ode to the West Wind, which used to be required reading in high school.

It always seemed to me that people quote that line as if to soothe us through the cold and bitter days, to remind us that warm weather eventually comes and it won't be as long as it seems when you're bundled up in down coats and covered with scarves, hats, gloves and furry boots but still shivering because it feels like it's zero degrees out and the wind is blowing in your face.

But in actuality, my answer is, yes. Spring can be far behind. 66 days in fact. Well after the groundhog jumps back into his hole and whether or not he/she sees its shadow. 

That means lots of hot, warming, comforting food is required to help keep us warm and feel secure and cozy.

Soup, for example.

Like this one, which is hot in two ways. First, it's seasoned with spicy chipotle pepper and a lush garnish of toast croutes loaded up with Sincerely Brigitte Chipotle cheddar cheese. Second, it's served piping hot for lunch or as a first course for dinner.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Chipotle Cheese Croutes

  • 6 medium red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup half and half cream or coconut milk
  • cheese croutes

Preheat the broiler. Place the peppers under the broiler, about 4-6" away from the heat. Broil for 2-3 minutes, until the skin has blistered. Turn the peppers and repeat this process until the entire surface is blistered and lightly charred. Remove the peppers and place them in a paper bag or wrap them in aluminum foil. Let rest at least 10 minutes. Remove the peppers from the bag, peel off the skin and discard the stem and the seeds. Cut the peppers into pieces and set aside. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and celery and cook for about 4 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the red pepper pieces, potatoes, parsley, chipotle powder and stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Puree the ingredients in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Stir in the cream and cook for 3-4 minutes or until hot. Serve with the cheese croutes.

Makes 8 servings

 

Cheese Croutes:

  • 16 (1/2-inch thick) slices French bread
  • olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 large clove garlic, cut in half
  • 7 ounces Sincerely Brigitte Chipotle Cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the bread slices on a cookie sheet. Brush the bread tops with the olive oil and rub the surfaces with the cut side of the garlic. Bake for about 15 minutes, turning them over once about halfway through. Remove the bread slices from the oven. Just before serving, place equal amounts of the grated cheese on top of each bread slice. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Place two croutes on top of each bowl of soup.

Bones and Vegetable Soup

A friend of mine, who is not Jewish, asked me how to make “real Jewish chicken soup.” I gave him  my recipe , which he said was similar to his mother’s Italian version (except mine included dill).  But when I saw him a few days later he was dismayed about the soup. He said it tasted better than delicious but that when it was cold it got all gelled up and jiggly. His mother’s soup never did that.  Ah. Gelled liquid. The sign of great soup. Soup made with bones. Bones with collagen that melts slowly and surely and enriches the broth, giving it abundant, old fashioned flavor. Soup broth the way it’s supposed to be.  Memorable.  My friend was thrilled he hadn’t made a mistake. He smiled when I told him his soup was probably better than his mama’s.  Robbie’s success got me to thinking about making some soup of course. And fortunately I had just the right ingredients: chicken bones. Almost four pounds of them, from  KOL Foods .  KOL Foods produces Glatt kosher poultry, beef and lamb and brings a new level of humanity to the way they treat their stock. For any meat to be kosher, the animals must be slaughtered in a particular — humane — way. KOL Foods upped the standard. Their animals are  raised  humanely too, with an eye toward sustainability. The chickens, turkey and ducks are free-roaming and fed an organic, GMO-free, vegetarian diet; they are not given arsenic, antibiotics or hormones.  The company has an eye for your budget too. Poultry can be expensive and kosher poultry even more so.  Hence the  chicken bones , which the company sells in packages for shipment and are a lot cheaper than whole chickens or parts. The bones deliver a delicious broth and there’s enough meat on them to make a filling dish. My almost 4 pounds of bones yielded more than 3 cups of cut up meat.  This is the soup I made with them: rich, rib-sticking, comforting and wonderful. The liquid gels when it’s chilled. The way it’s supposed to.     Bones and Vegetable Soup   3-4 pounds meaty chicken bones  12 cups water  2/3 cup barley  2 onions, sliced  1/2 cup dried mushroom pieces, soaked, softened and chopped  3-4 carrots, sliced  2-3 stalks celery, sliced  2 parsnips, sliced  8 sprigs fresh dill  6 sprigs fresh parsley  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained  1 small zucchini, diced  1 cup frozen peas  Place the chicken in a soup pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and for the next several minutes, discard the debris that comes to the surface. Add the barley, onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, parsnips, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for one hour. Add the beans, zucchini and peas and cook for another 50-60 minutes. Remove the bones and cut off bits of chicken; place the chicken meat back into the soup. Discard the bones.  Makes 8 servings

A friend of mine, who is not Jewish, asked me how to make “real Jewish chicken soup.” I gave him my recipe, which he said was similar to his mother’s Italian version (except mine included dill).

But when I saw him a few days later he was dismayed about the soup. He said it tasted better than delicious but that when it was cold it got all gelled up and jiggly. His mother’s soup never did that.

Ah. Gelled liquid. The sign of great soup. Soup made with bones. Bones with collagen that melts slowly and surely and enriches the broth, giving it abundant, old fashioned flavor. Soup broth the way it’s supposed to be.

Memorable.

My friend was thrilled he hadn’t made a mistake. He smiled when I told him his soup was probably better than his mama’s.

Robbie’s success got me to thinking about making some soup of course. And fortunately I had just the right ingredients: chicken bones. Almost four pounds of them, from KOL Foods.

KOL Foods produces Glatt kosher poultry, beef and lamb and brings a new level of humanity to the way they treat their stock. For any meat to be kosher, the animals must be slaughtered in a particular — humane — way. KOL Foods upped the standard. Their animals are raised humanely too, with an eye toward sustainability. The chickens, turkey and ducks are free-roaming and fed an organic, GMO-free, vegetarian diet; they are not given arsenic, antibiotics or hormones.

The company has an eye for your budget too. Poultry can be expensive and kosher poultry even more so.

Hence the chicken bones, which the company sells in packages for shipment and are a lot cheaper than whole chickens or parts. The bones deliver a delicious broth and there’s enough meat on them to make a filling dish. My almost 4 pounds of bones yielded more than 3 cups of cut up meat.

This is the soup I made with them: rich, rib-sticking, comforting and wonderful. The liquid gels when it’s chilled. The way it’s supposed to.

Bones and Vegetable Soup

3-4 pounds meaty chicken bones

12 cups water

2/3 cup barley

2 onions, sliced

1/2 cup dried mushroom pieces, soaked, softened and chopped

3-4 carrots, sliced

2-3 stalks celery, sliced

2 parsnips, sliced

8 sprigs fresh dill

6 sprigs fresh parsley

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained

1 small zucchini, diced

1 cup frozen peas

Place the chicken in a soup pot and cover with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer and for the next several minutes, discard the debris that comes to the surface. Add the barley, onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, parsnips, dill, parsley and salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for one hour. Add the beans, zucchini and peas and cook for another 50-60 minutes. Remove the bones and cut off bits of chicken; place the chicken meat back into the soup. Discard the bones.

Makes 8 servings

Essie’s Soup

It’s awfully dark out there. And although it looks like the usual gloomy morning when a hurricane-is-about-to-strike, somehow this one seems more ominous. Maybe I’ve just listened to too many news and weather reports, but I’ve prepared for Sandy like never before.  Water, batteries, ice. Check, check, check. Take in the outdoor furniture. Check.  Everything is closed. Schools, stores. No government services, like garbage pickup.  Judging by the lines at the gas stations, the horns honking too often when a light turns green, the empty shelves in the supermarket and number of people using ATMs, it seems as if everyone around here in Connecticut is stressed out.  I’ve prepared just-in-case food. Just in case we lose power, which is almost a certainty. During hurricane Irene  we were out of power for 4 days .  I fried chicken cutlets and cooked (and sliced) a pot roast so we could have sandwiches. Bought fresh carrots and other vegetables we can eat raw, canned tuna, and milk for cereal. Baked some cookies so we could nibble something sweet.  And made soup. One of my favorites, which we call “Essie’s Soup,” because it was concocted years ago by my cousin Essie.  When my son-in-law Jesse first tasted some he said “what’s the difference between this and cholent?” And I had never thought about that before, but he nailed it. Essie’s soup is as thick as cholent, loaded with beans and dried peas, plus a few extras like: barley, lentils, wheatberries and stuff. Sometimes I add fresh carrots, onions and celery, but didn’t this time because, to tell you the truth, I forgot.  Essie’s soup is very very thick and gets thicker the more it cooks.  There’s no particular recipe really, so I’ll give you the broad parameters in a recipe.  This is a soup I can rewarm on my portable cooktop (which I use for cooking demonstrations). I did also buy extra butane canisters. But it’s also the kind of thing you can eat at room temperature in case that becomes a necessity.   Essie’s Soup   6-8 marrow bones  2 packages Streit’s or Manischewitz packaged vegetable, split pea or lima bean soup  2 cups mixed dried beans  1 cup split peas  1/2 cup barley  1/2 cup wheatberries, farro or spelt  4 carrots, sliced, optional  2-3 stalks celery, sliced, optional  1 large onion, peeled and sliced, optional  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  Rinse the bones and place them in a large soup pot. Add water to within 3-inches from the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and skim the surface for a few minutes. Add the entire contents of both packages of soup (including the contents inside the seasoning packet). Add the beans, peas, barley, wheatberries, carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for several hours (at least 5), stirring occasionally, until the soup is thick. Cook longer if desired. If soup is too thick, add water and heat through. Makes a lot, depending on how long you cook it, but about 4 quarts

It’s awfully dark out there. And although it looks like the usual gloomy morning when a hurricane-is-about-to-strike, somehow this one seems more ominous. Maybe I’ve just listened to too many news and weather reports, but I’ve prepared for Sandy like never before.

Water, batteries, ice. Check, check, check. Take in the outdoor furniture. Check.

Everything is closed. Schools, stores. No government services, like garbage pickup.

Judging by the lines at the gas stations, the horns honking too often when a light turns green, the empty shelves in the supermarket and number of people using ATMs, it seems as if everyone around here in Connecticut is stressed out.

I’ve prepared just-in-case food. Just in case we lose power, which is almost a certainty. During hurricane Irene we were out of power for 4 days.

I fried chicken cutlets and cooked (and sliced) a pot roast so we could have sandwiches. Bought fresh carrots and other vegetables we can eat raw, canned tuna, and milk for cereal. Baked some cookies so we could nibble something sweet.

And made soup. One of my favorites, which we call “Essie’s Soup,” because it was concocted years ago by my cousin Essie.

When my son-in-law Jesse first tasted some he said “what’s the difference between this and cholent?” And I had never thought about that before, but he nailed it. Essie’s soup is as thick as cholent, loaded with beans and dried peas, plus a few extras like: barley, lentils, wheatberries and stuff. Sometimes I add fresh carrots, onions and celery, but didn’t this time because, to tell you the truth, I forgot.

Essie’s soup is very very thick and gets thicker the more it cooks.

There’s no particular recipe really, so I’ll give you the broad parameters in a recipe.

This is a soup I can rewarm on my portable cooktop (which I use for cooking demonstrations). I did also buy extra butane canisters. But it’s also the kind of thing you can eat at room temperature in case that becomes a necessity.

Essie’s Soup

6-8 marrow bones

2 packages Streit’s or Manischewitz packaged vegetable, split pea or lima bean soup

2 cups mixed dried beans

1 cup split peas

1/2 cup barley

1/2 cup wheatberries, farro or spelt

4 carrots, sliced, optional

2-3 stalks celery, sliced, optional

1 large onion, peeled and sliced, optional

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse the bones and place them in a large soup pot. Add water to within 3-inches from the top of the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and skim the surface for a few minutes. Add the entire contents of both packages of soup (including the contents inside the seasoning packet). Add the beans, peas, barley, wheatberries, carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for several hours (at least 5), stirring occasionally, until the soup is thick. Cook longer if desired. If soup is too thick, add water and heat through. Makes a lot, depending on how long you cook it, but about 4 quarts

Old Fashioned Carrot Soup

In our family, when there’s a baby about to be born, we cook a bunch of stuff to freeze so that the tired, sleep-deprived new Mom and Dad don’t have to worry about dinner. My daughters  Meredith  and  Gillian  and I make stuff like Spinach Pie, Baked Ziti, Bean Soup and so on, pack them into family-size containers and put them in cold storage until the time comes.  So it’s a good thing we start well ahead because SURPRISE, we got a call at about 4:00 a.m. on September 30th that Gillian was on her way to the birthing center, 17 days before the due date and lickety-split, baby Carina Joy was born before we could even get there.  We are thrilled of course. New babies do that. Carina has a head-full of hair and two fat dimples. Gillian, who worked out almost every day and is fit as ever, is doing well and looks great.  All of this happened suddenly to Gillian and Jesse after a big move and in the middle of pre-school applications for Remy, age 2 (for next year!).  So yesterday I opened the freezer and brought them a few stored items, including this carrot soup. Dinner was all done.   Old Fashioned Carrot Soup      ·      2 tablespoons butter or margarine  ·      2 tablespoons vegetable oil  ·      1 medium onion, coarsely chopped  ·      2 pounds carrots, coarsely chopped  ·      2 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped  ·      1/4 cup chopped parsley  ·      2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill  ·      1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste  ·      freshly ground black pepper to taste  ·      7 cups vegetable stock  ·      pinch of sugar  ·      1 cup cream (any kind) or cream substitute     Heat the butter and vegetable oil together in a soup pot over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the carrots, potatoes, parsley, dill, salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and sugar. Bring the soup to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender (or use a hand blender). Return the soup to the pan. Stir in the cream. Heat the soup through and serve.     Makes 6 servings      

In our family, when there’s a baby about to be born, we cook a bunch of stuff to freeze so that the tired, sleep-deprived new Mom and Dad don’t have to worry about dinner. My daughters Meredith and Gillian and I make stuff like Spinach Pie, Baked Ziti, Bean Soup and so on, pack them into family-size containers and put them in cold storage until the time comes.

So it’s a good thing we start well ahead because SURPRISE, we got a call at about 4:00 a.m. on September 30th that Gillian was on her way to the birthing center, 17 days before the due date and lickety-split, baby Carina Joy was born before we could even get there.

We are thrilled of course. New babies do that. Carina has a head-full of hair and two fat dimples. Gillian, who worked out almost every day and is fit as ever, is doing well and looks great.

All of this happened suddenly to Gillian and Jesse after a big move and in the middle of pre-school applications for Remy, age 2 (for next year!).

So yesterday I opened the freezer and brought them a few stored items, including this carrot soup. Dinner was all done.

Old Fashioned Carrot Soup

 

·      2 tablespoons butter or margarine

·      2 tablespoons vegetable oil

·      1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

·      2 pounds carrots, coarsely chopped

·      2 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped

·      1/4 cup chopped parsley

·      2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

·      1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

·      freshly ground black pepper to taste

·      7 cups vegetable stock

·      pinch of sugar

·      1 cup cream (any kind) or cream substitute

 

Heat the butter and vegetable oil together in a soup pot over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the carrots, potatoes, parsley, dill, salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the stock and sugar. Bring the soup to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender (or use a hand blender). Return the soup to the pan. Stir in the cream. Heat the soup through and serve.

 

Makes 6 servings

 

 

Borscht with Cumin and Crumbs

Kids are often fussy eaters. So you know you’ve cooked something really good when the little ones like it.

Here’s my grandson sipping up soup. Borscht to be exact. I’ve been experimenting with different versions. A few days ago I posted one for Borscht with Orange and Mint. But this one’s equally delicious. I have to confess the idea for this version came from a sample of Beet Borscht I tasted at Per Se, that fabulous, fabulous food heaven in New York. No, this recipe is not up to Thomas Keller’s restaurant standards.

But it is good and will do! 

Borscht with Cumin and Crumbs

  • 3 large or 4-5 medium beets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup cream, coconut milk or soy milk, optional
  • 2 slices rye bread with caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Scrub the beets, wrap them in aluminum foil and roast for about an hour, or until the beets are tender. When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skins. Chop the beets and set them aside. Reserve any natural liquids that have accumulated. Heat the olive oil and butter in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the onion, apple, garlic and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the ingredients have softened. Add the beets (plus any accumulated juices), cumin, salt and pepper and stir. Pour in the water. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Puree the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor or blender. Return the soup to the pan to heat through. For a creamier, thinner soup, add the cream. Toast the bread slices. Chop or hand crumble the bread into the soup as a garnish.

Makes 4-6 servings

Carrot and Parsnip Soup

Need a quick soup for Rosh Hashanah? Try this Carrot and Parsnip Soup, which comes from my book  Hip Kosher . Just a few ingredients. And ingredients can be substituted to make it fit in a meat, dairy or pareve meal. It can be frozen too, so you can make plenty and store it for when it’s cold outside and you need a good, light, but nourishing starter for dinner.  And also — it’s loaded with vegetables. That’s a good thing.  Carrots and parsnips are both sweet vegetables, which makes this soup particularly nice for Rosh Hashanah, when sweet foods are in order. While not quite as ubiquitous as honey, carrots have always been a key High Holiday food. The Yiddish word for carrot is “mehren,” which means to “increase” or “multiply,” and thus underscores wishes for good fortune and good deeds in the new year.  So here it is. Good, cheap and easy to make.      Carrot and Parsnip Soup      ·      2 tablespoons olive oil  ·      1 large onion, chopped  ·      2 medium garlic cloves, chopped  ·      1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger  ·      1/2 pound carrots, peeled and chopped  ·      1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped  ·      1 teaspoon ground cumin  ·      3/4 teaspoon ground coriander  ·      salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  ·      4 cups vegetable or chicken stock     Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is slightly softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, parsnips, cumin, coriander and salt and pepper to taste and stir. Pour in the stock and one cup water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Puree the ingredients, return the soup to the pan and reheat to serve.     Makes 4-6 servings     For cream soup: use vegetable stock; add 1/2 cup half and half cream; reheat.  For dairy soup: prepare soup with vegetable stock and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or dairy sour cream  For parve cream soup: use coconut milk or soy milk  Garnish: with croutons or pita crisps  Pita crisps: brush pita bread wedges with olive oil and bake for 5-6 minutes at 400 degrees (or until crispy and browned)               

Need a quick soup for Rosh Hashanah? Try this Carrot and Parsnip Soup, which comes from my book Hip Kosher. Just a few ingredients. And ingredients can be substituted to make it fit in a meat, dairy or pareve meal. It can be frozen too, so you can make plenty and store it for when it’s cold outside and you need a good, light, but nourishing starter for dinner.

And also — it’s loaded with vegetables. That’s a good thing.

Carrots and parsnips are both sweet vegetables, which makes this soup particularly nice for Rosh Hashanah, when sweet foods are in order. While not quite as ubiquitous as honey, carrots have always been a key High Holiday food. The Yiddish word for carrot is “mehren,” which means to “increase” or “multiply,” and thus underscores wishes for good fortune and good deeds in the new year.

So here it is. Good, cheap and easy to make.

 

Carrot and Parsnip Soup

 

·      2 tablespoons olive oil

·      1 large onion, chopped

·      2 medium garlic cloves, chopped

·      1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

·      1/2 pound carrots, peeled and chopped

·      1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and chopped

·      1 teaspoon ground cumin

·      3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

·      salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

·      4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

 

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is slightly softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, parsnips, cumin, coriander and salt and pepper to taste and stir. Pour in the stock and one cup water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Puree the ingredients, return the soup to the pan and reheat to serve.

 

Makes 4-6 servings

 

For cream soup: use vegetable stock; add 1/2 cup half and half cream; reheat.

For dairy soup: prepare soup with vegetable stock and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or dairy sour cream

For parve cream soup: use coconut milk or soy milk

Garnish: with croutons or pita crisps

Pita crisps: brush pita bread wedges with olive oil and bake for 5-6 minutes at 400 degrees (or until crispy and browned)

 

 

 

 

 

The Differences Among Matzo Balls

OMG it’s April already! April 1st! No fooling!

Passover is only 18 days away.

It’s not as if I haven’t been thinking about it. I have written three separate articles about it already (you can see one in Jewish Woman Magazine about Passover desserts here: http://www.jwi.org/Page.aspx?pid=2751) and the one at kosher.com about Haroset here: http://blog.kosher.com/2011/03/25/old-world-charosis-gets-a-hip-makeover/. The third article (on quinoa) hasn’t appeared yet and I’ll post it when it comes out next week.

But I haven’t really thought about my own Seder yet.

Except for the turkey. There’s always a turkey.

And there’s always a bunch of other stuff like spinach pie and braised eggplant. Cranberry sauce. A lot of veggies. And even though I like to make new recipes and serve less traditional foods, it wouldn’t be Passover without Matzo Ball Soup.

In our family we have had the same important discussions about these as everyone else: which is better, light fluffy matzo balls or chewy firms ones? Like politics, opinions on this subject tend to be definite and once decided, difficult to change. 

When I was a kid and my grandma and then mother had the Seders, my cousin Essie would bring her famous matzo balls. They were cannonballs, like in a children’s picture book — you could picture one falling out of the plate and bouncing out the window and into the city streets and out into the countryside.

But her husband and kids loved them. Fortunately, my mother also made a batch of spongier ones too.

The difference among matzo balls has to do with how many eggs you use, what kind of fat you mix in, how much you handle the dough, how long you cook them, whether you include spices or chopped fresh herbs and so on and so on. I use goose fat, which I put in in the freezer in December (from the goose I make for Hanukkah) because it gives the matzo balls a smooth, rich texture. And I include chopped fresh parsley or dill because it adds some flavor but also enhances the look. And mostly I use chicken soup in the mix, though occasionally I will use seltzer instead.

Here’s the recipe we use. These make medium, slightly-firm, soup soaked delicious matzo balls.

Matzo Balls

1 cup matzo meal

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black or white pepper to taste

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley or dill, or both, optional

4 whole large or extra large eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 cup melted goose fat, chicken fat, margarine or vegetable oil

1/4 cup chicken soup, water or seltzer

In a bowl. combine the matzo meal, salt, pepper and parsley or dill (or both). In another bowl, beat the eggs and melted fat together. Add the egg mixture to the matzo mixture and blend thoroughly. Stir in the liquid. Cover the ingredients and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. With wet cold hands shape the matzo mixture into balls 1/2-inch to 1-inch balls (you may have to re-wet hands occasionally). Add the matzo balls one by one to the boiling water. Lower the heat so that the water is at a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for at least 50 minutes (do not lift the cover) or until they are tender. Remove the matzo balls from the water. Place into the soup to soak up more flavor. Makes up to 20