Recipes: Thick and filling winter soups

All you need to turn these soups into a meal is some fresh bread.

Tipascale (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Winter is the best time of year to make a hot pot of soup to keep all your family members warm and satiated. There’s nothing better than arriving home on a cold, rainy evening to the intoxicating aroma of fresh homemade soup.
And the best part about making winter soups is that they are so filling and rich in nutrients that they can be the main dish of your meal. Some of the easiest and tastiest additions to winter soups are legumes, spätzle, vegetables, pasta or a combination of the above. 
I tend to make soup depending on my mood and whatever I happen to have in my pantry and the fridge. It’s important that all the ingredients that go into the soup are fresh and of the highest quality. If you’re adding chicken or beef, try to add pieces on the bone, which add tremendous flavor to the soup. If you’d like to make a parve soup, you can add a little bit of soup mix, but make sure it doesn’t have any MSG. Everything you add changes the texture and flavor of the soup, so be creative and each time you will end up with a different soup. 
Below are three easy winter soup recipes, each with a different texture and thickness. The first one is full of vegetables and barley, and the second has semolina balls and noodles. The third soup is a spicy semolina-based traditional Tunisian soup. All you need to turn these soups into a meal is some fresh bread. 
For family members who “don’t eat vegetables,” you can add dill, cilantro, parsley, Swiss chard, spinach, celery leaves, scallion and leeks. When the soup is cooked, use a hand blender to puree the soup.
If you’re using beef in place of chicken, make sure to add to the cooking time. You can also use chicken together with beef bones and any of your favorite vegetables. 
Makes 6-8 servings.
1 large onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 light green zucchini, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled
1 potato, peeled
3 stalks of celery with leaves
¼ celery root
6 sprigs of parsley 
6 sprigs of cilantro
½ level tsp. turmeric
½ level tsp. sweet paprika
½ tsp. spicy paprika
2 Tbsp. salt
½ tsp. black or white pepper
1 heaping Tbsp. onion soup mix
12 cups boiling water, vegetable broth or chicken broth
1¾ cups barley, well rinsed
Chop the onion and garlic and sauté in a large pot with olive oil until onion becomes translucent. 
Cut the zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, potato and celery stalks and root into small chunks. Add vegetables to soup and sauté. Chop the parsley and cilantro and add to pot.
Add the spices, soup powder and boiling water. Mix well and bring to a boil. 
Lower the flame and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the barley and cook for another 40 minutes over a medium flame until barley has softened. 
The soup will continue to thicken after you take it off the flame, so you’re welcome to add another cup of water if you want. Bring to boil again and then taste and adjust seasoning.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 30-60 minutes.
Status: Meat or parve, depending on which soup stock you use. 
Makes 8-10 servings. 
1 onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 scallions, cleaned
1 small spicy pepper, chopped
1 large potato, peeled
1 red pepper, cleaned
3 sprigs of thyme
2 celery stalks with leaves, cut into pieces
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. any type of soup powder without preservatives
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. turmeric
½ cup buckwheat
½ cup orange or brown lentils 
11 or 12 cups boiling water or soup stock
¼ package rice noodles
Spicy semolina balls:
¾ cup semolina or bulgur soaked in water
1 egg
5 cilantro sprigs
5 parsley sprigs
1 small onion, grated
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. red cayenne pepper
Chop the onion and garlic, then sauté them in a large pot in olive oil until onion has become translucent. 
Chop the scallion and the spicy pepper. Cut the potato and red pepper into small pieces and add them to the pot. Stir. Add the celery, thyme, parsley, cilantro, soup mix, spices, buckwheat and lentils. Mix well and simmer for two minutes. Pour in the liquid, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and cook for 40 minutes. Add the rice noodles and continue cooking until they’ve softened. 
In a separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the semolina balls and let the mixture sit in the fridge for 10 minutes. Then, create balls with a 2-cm. diameter. Add them to the boiling soup. Mix and cook for 20 more minutes. Stir, taste and adjust seasoning. Cook another 5-10 minutes if the balls are not fully cooked. 
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 30-60 minutes.
Status: Parve.
This traditional Tunisian and Moroccan soup has a porridge-like texture. 
Makes 4 servings.
2 Tbsp. oil
¼ tsp. harissa or spicy pepper
½ tsp. caraway seeds
½ tsp. salt or to taste
½ head of garlic, chopped
2 soft tomatoes
1 cup semolina
Serving suggestion: 
Chopped parsley or cilantro
Heat the oil in a pot and sauté the harissa, caraway seeds, salt and garlic. 
Cut the tomato into small pieces and add them to the pot together with ¼ cup water. Cook over a low flame for 5 minutes. Add about 6 cups of water so that it reaches about halfway up the side of the pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Add the semolina while stirring constantly. Continue stirring and cook over a low flame until it comes back to a boil. 
Optional additions: 
• ½ cup of parsley or cilantro, chopped finely
• You can leave harissa out, if you want a lighter shade
• If you want it to be darker red, add 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
• Add ½ cup scallion, chopped finely
• If you don’t like harissa, you can add 1 Tbsp. chicken soup mix instead
• Add ½ tsp. cumin
Level of difficulty: Easy.
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Parve.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
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