With a chill in the air, soup is always a delicious way to fill your belly and warm the cockles of your heart. A hearty, geshmack soup with sandwiches and salads on the side would fit the bill. You can order them in from your favorite caterer or take out place, or take the time to prep your favorites. This recipe makes enough soup for a small army–you will need one of those huge stock pots, the kind you use for koshering for Pesach.
1 lb. of lean beef, cut into cubes *optional
About 2 lbs. of cracked marrow bones *optional
3 onions, diced
1 cup of chopped celery
1 chopped parsnip
1 turnip cubed
All the veggies in your fridge that are tired (just dice ‘em slice ‘em and toss them in)
1 can of red kidney beans
1 can of lima beans
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of barley
4 cups of chicken or beef broth base or four cups of your favorite parve vegetable stock
1 8 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
4 cloves of garlic crushed
1 quart of tomato juice
½ cup of olive oil
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 bunch of dill (chop some on the side and reserve)
1 bunch parsley (chop some of it finely and reserve)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bunch of scallions, (chop and reserve)
4 cups of filtered water
Brown the onions, garlic, mushrooms and beef in the oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed frying pan on medium heat. When the onions are golden brown and the meat is fairly well browned, add everything to your large pot, except the chopped parsley and dill. Toss in the tomato juice, the water, the soup base, the bay leaf (or two, depending on your taste), cover and bring to a boil–then lower the flame to simmer and let the flavors blend for at least two hours. Skim the top, and stir often to prevent barley from sticking to the bottom of the pot. You can add any vegetables you have in the fridge that are getting tired–peas, corn niblets, diced red or yellow peppers, beans, etc. and spice it up with your favorites–from a few pinches of paprika and fresh cracked black pepper to additional garlic and onion powder–if it gets too salty, because you are in love, just throw in more water and potatoes! If you want a Mediterranean flavor add a teaspoon of oregano or zatar and a handful of red lentils.
And please don’t forget to fish out the bay leaves before you serve the soup! Sprinkle each bowl of soup with the freshly chopped dill, parsley and scallions, or pour the soup into a large tureen, sprinkle with the fresh herbs and scallions. Pile assortments of warm crisp mini rolls and chunks of rye bread or marble bread in baskets and let people help themselves. A platter of sandwiches or a “make your own” bar with cold cuts and condiments, would be perfect.
And if you have enough soup left over, freeze it and bring it out later in the season and touch it up by adding any of those tired old veggies in the fridge, some more diced onions and garnishing with fresh toppings as described above.
By Jeanette Friedman