Soups and Stews

Beef Barley Soup with a Secret

My grandmother, Bertha Scher, was a believer in the slow sauté. Chopped onions and garlic, sautéed over the lowest flame, still releases the familiar memories of so much of the food she joyfully prepared for 8 grandkids. We all loved the sweetness and depth of flavor in her cooking and of course, never gave it much thought.

It occurs to me, now, that she teased it out with another kitchen basic. This common and distinctly American condiment added a toasty honey hue (yup, she knew about eye appeal, too) to countless bowls of her veggie soup and equally irresistible potted meatballs.

The secret ingredient was ketchup.

And while Nanny may have knowingly reached for ketchup for a little zest and tang, I rarely do. But, anticipating yet another snowfall last week, I channeled her slightly sweet and perfectly uncomplicated cooking with this easy, long simmered, beef barley soup. I am sure she would have loved this “bowl of health”.


1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
one pound beef flanken, chopped or stew meat (not too lean)
8 oz. white, organic, mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
1 cup homemade beef or chicken stock
10-12 cups beef or veggie broth (organic, preferably)
3 Tb. ketchup
a generous handful of fresh dill, chopped
salt and pepper


Sautee onion and garlic, 7-10 mins.
Add beef and brown.
throw all ingredients into slow cooker , stir to combine and simmer on low for 8 hours. Alternatively, simmer, covered, on stove top for 2 hours.

Enjoy this rich and old fashioned soup on a freezing winter day!

Tips: The best dishes use homemade chicken, beef or vegetable broth. I keep a container for each, clearly labeled, in my freezer. When I have leftover gravy from roasted chicken or cooking liquid from wokked or steamed vegetables, I cool it and add it to the appropriate container. These long simmered gravies serve as rich, complex bases for winter soups.

This post was submitted by Liz.


I got this recipe in my first year of marriage, and I am celebrating 18 years of happiness! It is perfect for Shavuot or Shabbat lunch in the summer.


1 jug of tomato juice
2 small cucumbers
Handful of parsley or cilantro
2 small tomatoes, chopped
6 tbs olive oil
6 tbs balsamic vinegar
3 tbs honey
Juice of 2 lemons


Mix wet ingredients together. Add veggies and herbs. Can be left chunky or blended. Enjoy!

This post was submitted by Francis Levine-Grater.

Veggie Cholent

I developed this recipe as an alternative to meat cholent- because I stopped eating meat when I started keeping shabbat. It’s yummy and fast!


1 can whole potatoes
1 can cut sweet potatoes
1 brown onion – sliced
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can veggie baked beans
4-6 whole cloves of garlic
1 cup of ketchup
1 cup of BBQ sauce
1 parve kishke (sliced)


Grease sides and bottom of crock pot with olive oil. Cover bottom of crock pot with thin layer of barley. Put all ingredients in crock pot in order listed on Friday before shabbat- it will be ready for shabbat lunch!

This post was submitted by Batsheva Frankel.

21st Century Cholent

This is the original “stick to your ribs” meal, a traditional shabbos lunch that cooks before sundown on Friday until lunchtime on Saturday. Real old-world goodness!


1 bag of baby potatoes
1lb flank steak or brisket, cubed
Fried onions
1 bag of baby carrots
1tblsp chopped garlic
Red kidney beans
Black beans
Small white beans Read the rest of this entry »

This post was submitted by Fran Kolin.

Lentil Soup

This gorgeous soup can be traced all the way back to the Old Testament. In Genesis 25:29-34 you can read how Jacob’s brother, Esau, sold his birthright as oldest son to his younger brother, merely for a bowl of Lentil Soup! So yes, this soup is truly delicious and comforting. Whether you should sell your birthright for it? Well, I will let you decide on that.

My mom and I love to make this soup with brown lentils, as they are stronger flavored and hold their shape after being cooked. You can blend the soup after it’s done, but for us it’s all about the texture. We use beef stock but feel free to use vegetarian or chicken stock instead. Extra yummy, if you serve the soup with homemade croutons and some fried curry onion rings as garnish. Read the rest of this entry »

This post was submitted by Gefiltefest.

Pressure Cooker Stews for Succot: Cabbage Borscht

I usually spend Succot in Seattle with my family and the weather is always really cold! I know I should be talking about how much I love spending time with everyone when I return to my hometown (and I really do), but all I can think about is putting on layers and layers of clothes to eat in the succah every night. We put on our heavy coats, enter the succah and hope the soup will warm us very quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

This post was submitted by Kitchen Tested.

Pressure Cooker Stews for Succot: Oxtail Soup

Originally published in Kitchen Tested. Read the rest of this entry »

This post was submitted by Kitchen Tested.

Ida Richman’s Poor Man Soup


• Two six-ounce packages Manischewitz or Streit’s Split Pea Soup Mix (Beware of other brands, the ones where the peas are not finely cut and don’t get soft enough.)
• Four or five beef shin bones, 1-2 inches thick, with marrow
• Two medium yellow onions, grated
• Two medium carrots, grated Read the rest of this entry »

This post was submitted by AlanRichman.

Tinola, Filipino Chicken Soup

My mom can’t cook. She certainly can’t cook Filipino food. My experiences of Filipino food were through other members of our family or the “Y’ayas” and the “Titas”. The Y’aya is equivalent to the American version of a nanny, except they often stay and transition with the family until they are older. Tita is a term for auntie, although they are not always related. These ladies were in charge of not only the household, but the heart of the home, the kitchen. Their meals were often dishes they had brought with them from the homeland i.e. Adobo and Sinigang. They adjusted certain cooking methods and substituted ingredients when need be. They even learned new recipes, hamburgers and pancakes, but they always had their specialities and we had our favorites. One of my favorites, especially during the chilly months, was and still is chicken Tinola. Tinola is the perfect remedy for a cold or just a cold day. It is fragrant soup served with chicken and chunks of papaya or chayote ( I prefer the pear shaped, fruit like plant). Mulunggay leaves are added for its legendary health benefits, along with garlic, onions, ginger and patis aka fish sauce. The broth is full bodied and soothing with a hint of heat. It’s a tasty cure. Read the rest of this entry »

This post was submitted by Karena Higgins.

Shiitake Mushroom & Barley Soup

Akasha is a self-trained chef and artisan-style baker who has been cater­ing events in Los Angeles and other parts of the coun­try for over twenty years. She began her pro­fes­sional career at the Golden Temple, a now defunct but once pop­u­lar veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant in Los Angeles. It was in this kitchen that Akasha dis­cov­ered her pas­sion for mak­ing deli­cious dishes with good-for-you ingre­di­ents. After the Golden Temple she became Michael Jackson’s per­sonal and con­cert tour chef. AKASHA is her first restau­rant ven­ture, the result of a vision she has had for many years.

Her cook­book HOLLYWOOD DISH includes tales of Hollywood’s 100-year pas­sion for organic foods and healthy lifestyles and sto­ries of her favorite cook­ing expe­ri­ences: mak­ing hol­i­day din­ners for Billy Bob Thornton, cater­ing par­ties for Pierce Brosnan, pro­duc­ing events at the Sundance Film Festival, and work­ing as a pri­vate chef for Barbra Streisand.

She lends her time and exper­tise to groups such as Share Our Strength, Environmental Media Association, Common Threads and Pediatric Aids. She has appeared on The Food Network (The Best Thing I Ever Ate), Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Planet Green, and nation­wide news programs.


2 cups water
2 ounces dried porcini or other dried mushroom
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small shallots, finely chopped
2 leeks, pale green and white parts only, cleaned, and finely chopped
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems wiped clean, trimmed and sliced
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 large parsnip, diced
1/2 cup whole barley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish


Bring the water to a boil in a 1-quart saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms, turn off the heat and cover.

Let sit for 20 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Drain, reserving the liquid, and finely chop the mushrooms.

Heat the butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, shallots, and salt. Cook for
about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and fragrant. Lower the heat to medium, add the
leeks, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the shiitakes and the soaked porcini and cook another 5-8
minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are well cooked.

Add the stock, celery, carrots, parsnips, barley, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for one hour or until the barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the chopped parsley.

This post was submitted by Akasha Richmond.

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