Winter is the season for comfort food—challah fresh out of the oven, brisket stewing all day and warm bowls of soup steaming on the table. Everyone knows the traditional Jewish matzah ball soup, aka Jewish penicillin, the dish you crave when the sniffles won’t go away. But there are several other soups with Jewish origins that you may not be aware of. We’ve got some new soups to put into your rotation, sparking your taste buds and adding some excitement to these cold and dreary days.
If the matzah balls are your favorite part of the soup, you’ll definitely want to try out kubbeh for a different take on the well-loved dumpling. This Sephardic and Middle Eastern dish consists of spiced meat wrapped in bulgur or semolina. The dumplings are then either fried or boiled and typically served in a flavorful beet-based pink broth or a yellow vegetable one. You can even make extra kubbeh to store in the freezer, throwing them into a pot for a quick weeknight dinner when you don’t feel like venturing outside.
Jews come from all over the world, and tracing recipes through different cultures often finds you new traditional recipes to add to your menu. There are many Ethiopian Jews residing in Israel, and with them have come delicious recipes full of new flavors and spices. This Ethiopian Peanut Soup is the perfect way to explore new cultures and cuisines. It’s a creamy chicken soup (you can omit the chicken to make it vegetarian) that you can throw together with minimal ingredients in under an hour. Much more satisfying on a cold winter day than a sad peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
Serving a meat meal and need a warm stew to serve on the side? Or are you vegan? Have no fear—Curried Lentils are just what you need to stay warm through the next polar vortex. Made in 30 minutes, these lentils get all cozy in a creamy coconut milk broth with lots of ginger to fight off the sniffles. Jewish penicillin, meet your match!
The recent spell of unpredictably warm weather may have you wanting something cold instead of warm. Luckily, the Jewish tradition has soup options for every season! Borscht is just what you need to “beet” the winter blues. Its vibrant color and refreshing taste will add some zing to your palate, not to mention that it keeps for a week in the fridge (did someone say impressive office lunch?).
There’s another cold soup from Eastern European Jews: schav is made of sorrel, a tangy green with a distinct flavor. This recipe blends it with potatoes, subduing the sorrel’s tang for those who are new to it. Serve it with some harissa for a spicy bite to warm you up from inside out.
You’ve got another month to slurp some soup before it’s time to heat up the grills, so try out these recipes to prevent soup fatigue. Don’t forget that Passover (ahem, matzah balls) is just around the corner!