9 Recipes for a Soup-er Cozy Winter
Brrrr, it's chilly! OK, OK, so the weather is still lovely in plenty of parts of the world (we're lookin' at you, California and Israel), but in much of Canada and the United States, at least, winter is still in full swing. Survive the last of the cold temperatures with these recipes for tasty, Jewish-inspired soups. Spring, we're ready for you!
- Basic Chicken Soup: Chicken soup has been an icon of the Jewish table since early medieval times. Its presence defined the Shabbat table, and a Jewish wedding feast symbolically started with the soup. Says Jewish cooking expert Tina Wasserman of this recipe, “This is the way my mother taught me to make chicken soup. She always used fresh dill. My friend Leslie’s mom always used thyme. Neither one was wrong. Each had her own tradition.”
- Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup: How long have Jewish people been eating mushrooms? A long time! Mushrooms were mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud (N’darim 55B), and in ancient Israel, wild mushrooms were in such abundance that discussions arose about putting a tax on them. Says Wasserman, “The secret to the thickness of this soup is the lima beans. They are peeled and therefore disintegrate into the stock when fully cooked.”
- Pink Lentil Soup with Lamb Kofte: James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Solomonov created this recipe is preparation for his first opportunity to have his cooking professionally reviewed. He writes, “As I mixed together the ingredients for the stuffing — ground lamb, grated onion, parsley, and cinnamon — the soup surprised me: It took on an Israeli profile.” Restaurant critic Craig LaBan called it "Jerusalem in a bowl."
- Vegan Seven-Vegetable Soup with Matzah Balls: Vegan chef Lisa Dawn Angerame shares her recipe for this easy, flavorful, veggie-laden soup – and seven is a lucky number in Judaism! This colorful dish is nutrient-rich and is delicious on its own or served topped with vegan matzah balls during Passover.
- Coconut Carrot Soup: Created as a Passover recipe, cookbook author Megan Wolf writes, “My coconut carrot soup is a creamy soup at its finest. The combination of carrots, ginger and coconut is so warming and really delicious.” She also shares recipes for Caesar salad, lemon salmon, and grilled asparagus for a well-rounded meal.
- Greek Avgolemono Soup: Wasserman, who created this recipe, explains that using eggs instead of butter or cream as a binding agent in sauces was a hallmark of Jewish cooks in Greece. “While many Greeks thickened and enhanced the flavor of their meat dishes with a thick béchamel or cream sauce, Greek Jews who observed kashrut often substituted an avgolemono sauce – a mixture of eggs and lemon – instead.” This creamy soup can be served warm or cold.
- Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup: Turn a classic Ashkenazi favorite into a beloved Asian dish! Paula Shoyer’s kosher version of Vietnamese pho soup starts with her favorite chicken soup recipe and adds ginger and cilantro stems during cooking, then other Asian ingredients after the soup is strained. It’s tasty with rice noodle or udon noodles.
- Russian Cabbage Borscht: “My mother was a first-generation American,” writes Tina Wasserman. “She learned to speak Yiddish when her cousins escaped Poland in the early 1930s to come and live near her. She was poor growing up, and her cooking as an adult reflected the reverence she had for the simplest of ingredients. This soup is a perfect representation of 'less is more' and the love affair the Eastern European cooks had with all things sweet and sour.”
- Tarato (Yogurt Soup): If you’re one of the lucky ones who lives someplace where it’s not freezing cold right now, try this chilled soup with Bulgarian origins. The Jews of Bulgaria, like those of Holland, Greece, Turkey, and Italy, are descended from Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century. Yogurt, the main ingredient, has been a popular food in Israel for many years.
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