Souper fresh

Warm up with classic recipes.

Basic goulash (photo credit: BOAZ LAVI)
Basic goulash
(photo credit: BOAZ LAVI)
Cool weather’s here, and we can mark the season by getting out the recipe file and seeing what we can make for dinner. Soup is an easy way to turn inexpensive ingredients into a satisfying meal for the whole family.
That, and the fact that nothing is more welcoming on a chilly evening than a bubbling aromatic pot.
This week, we offer recipes from soup specialists chefs Ofer Elmaliach and Koby Bendelac, who own and operate the Tel Aviv soup restaurant Zuppa.
Focusing on what in most restaurants is represented by one or two items on the menu, Elmaliach and Bendelac serve more than 50 different soups at Zuppa, based on fresh seasonal ingredients.
Some of the recipes are, of course, complicated and require professional skills, but we asked the chefs to simplify a few of the popular recipes, which you can try out and make your own by adding more ingredients or changing the seasoning.
If you’d prefer to add basil to the tomato soup instead of tarragon, change it. Like your minestrone enriched with sausage? Go ahead. We think these recipes will jumpstart your soup season at home.
Serves 4
✔ 1 kg. cherry tomatoes (look for Tamar tomatoes), halved
✔ 1 medium onion, chopped
✔ 2 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 50 ml. olive oil (3¹⁄3 Tbsp.)
✔ ¹⁄3 bunch fresh tarragon, leaves only
✔ 3 red peppers, (look for the sweet Shushka peppers) , diced
✔ ½ tsp. salt
✔ Pinch white pepper
✔ ½ tsp. sugar
✔ ½ liter vegetable broth
✔ Sprigs thyme, leaves only
✔ 1 chili pepper (optional)
✔ ½ tsp. sweet paprika
✔ 2 bay leaves
✔ 4 allspice berries
✔ 1⁄3 bunch fresh tarragon, leaves only
✔ 1⁄3 tsp. fennel seeds In a pot, heat the olive oil.
Sweat the onions for 2 minutes, add the garlic and cook until golden. Add the fennel seeds, chili pepper, allspice, bay leaves and thyme. Continue cooking for 1 minute and add the red peppers and halved tomatoes. Cook over low heat until tender, about 25 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for 15 minutes. Season the soup with salt, white pepper, paprika and sugar. Chop the tarragon leaves and add to the soup. Blend the soup until smooth. Serve garnished with tarragon leaves.
Serves 4
Here is Zuppa’s version of the Hungarian staple. Perfect for a cold evening.
✔ ½ kg. veal shoulder, cut into 2x2-cm. cubes
✔ 2 medium onions, diced
✔ 3 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
✔ 2 red peppers, diced
✔ 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
✔ 2 carrots, peeled and diced
✔ 3 tbsp. olive oil
✔ 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
✔ 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
✔ ¹⁄3 tsp. hot paprika
✔ 1 liter chicken or beef broth
✔ 5 bay leaves
✔ 8 allspice berries
✔ 1 large bone with marrow (optional)
In a pot with olive oil, brown the meat on all sides. Remove from the pot and let cool. In the same pot, sauté the onions for 2 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, peppers and tomatoes and sauté 4 minutes. Return the meat to the pot and add the tomato paste, seasonings and broth. Stir well and add the potatoes. If using bone marrow, grill it for 15 minutes and add to the soup. Adjust seasoning if necessary and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook covered over low heat for 2 hours.
Serves 4
✔ 1 onion, diced
✔ 3 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
✔ 4 celery stalks, diced
✔ 2 carrots, diced
✔ 3 Tbsp. olive oil
✔ 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
✔ 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika
✔ 100 gr. red beans, soaked and cooked (if you’re in a hurry, use frozen cooked beans or canned)
✔ 2 liters homemade vegetable, chicken or beef broth
✔ 5 bay leaves
✔ 1 chili pepper (shata)
✔ 1 tsp. coriander seeds
✔ 100 gr. short pasta, cooked
✔ 4 whole allspice berries
✔ ½ bunch parsley, chopped, for serving
Sweat the onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, celery and tomatoes and sauté for 4 more minutes. Add the tomato paste, seasonings and broth, stir, bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Add beans and pasta, adjust seasoning. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.
Serves 4
This is the quickest soup you can make, using only broccoli and seasonings.
✔ 1½ kg. fresh broccoli
✔ Water for blanching
✔ Salt and white pepper to taste
Separate broccoli into small florets. Blanch in boiling water. After 3 minutes, remove ¹⁄3 of the broccoli from the water and continue to cook the rest for 4 more minutes. Drain and reserve the water. Blend the broccoli (all of it) with 400 ml. of the cooking water (about 12⁄3 cups). Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of crème fresh, sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Zuppa, 138 Ibn Gvirol Street, Tel Aviv; (03) 602-0291; Not kosher.