Hot and hearty

Four soups that will keep you warm.

Rich minestrone soup (photo credit: CHEF MEIR BULKA)
Rich minestrone soup
(photo credit: CHEF MEIR BULKA)
I have always wanted someone to prepare a hearty home-cooked soup for me, a comforting steaming plate to come home to on a winter evening after a long day at work.
Unfortunately, if I want to have a hot plate of soup to come home to, I have to make it myself the night before.
Trying to decide what soup to cook last week, I came upon these recipes sent to me by chef Meir Bulka. I couldn’t decide which one to make, so I ended up making them all, one for each night. Try them and see which one you prefer.
This hearty smoke-flavored soup is great served with cold beer or a glass of red wine.
✔ 1 white cabbage, coarsely chopped
✔ 1 package turkey kabanos, cubed
✔ 200 gr. smoked goose breast, chopped
✔ 3 onions, chopped
✔ 3 Tbsp. mustard
✔ 1 Tbsp. ground caraway
✔ 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
✔ 1 package Master Chef Croutons
Sauté the smoked goose breast in a soup pot, add onions and kabanos and continue to stir. Add mustard and mix. Add the cabbage and the paprika, continue cooking while mixing. Pour enough water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for at least 90 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with croutons.
Smoke the vegetables in the oven to get a lovely aroma. Adding rice cream turns this soup into a real gourmet treat.
✔ 1 head of cauliflower, divided into florets
✔ 2 heads of broccoli, divided into florets and stems
✔ 1 onion, peeled and quartered
✔ 2 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 2 cups broth or water with 2 tsp. salt
✔ 1 container Alpro rice cream
✔ 2 tsp. black tea leaves
Heat oven to very high (220° to 250°, but not on grill).
Place all the vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle a little olive oil and coarse salt, mix with hands and transfer to a baking sheet.
Put tea and a little olive oil in a small heatproof bowl and place the bowl in the middle of the baking sheet with the vegetables.
Place the baking sheet with vegetables in the middle of the oven. The tea leaves will start smoking in the oven. Don’t worry – the smoke will give the vegetables a lovely aroma.
But make sure the vegetables don’t burn.
After 20 minutes, transfer the vegetables to a pot. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Note: The water should get up to ¾ of the height of the pot. Add more water if needed.
You may want to save some of the vegetables not completely cooked for garnish.
Remove from heat, add the rice cream and, using a hand blender, puree the soup.
Serve garnished with a few florets.
This is a quick and easy version of the Italian soup with pasta – a filling, satisfying dinner that is full of flavor and low in cost.
✔ 2 tomatoes, cubed
✔ 1 can tomatoes
✔ 3 carrots, cubed
✔ 6 celery ribs, chopped
✔ 1 celery root, peeled and quartered
✔ 2 onions, chopped
✔ 5 or 6 champignon mushrooms, chopped
✔ 2 cups frozen green beans (thawed)
✔ 2 cups frozen yellow beans (thawed)
✔ 1 package Barilla pasta (any kind)
✔ ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
✔ 3 cups vegetable broth
In a large pot with a little olive oil, sauté the fresh vegetables. Start with the onions, then add the garlic and then the rest of the vegetables, one kind at a time. Season with salt and pepper and add the frozen beans.
Sauté and add the canned tomatoes.
Pour in the broth and bring to a boil.
Add enough water so the liquid covers up to 3⁄4 of the pot.
Lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
In another pot, cook pasta according to instructions but shorten the cooking time so pasta is not completely cooked through.
Strain and add the pasta to the soup 15 minutes before serving.
Serve with a little grated Parmesan.
Did you know that there are at last 200 recipes for beet soup? Most Ashkenazi Jews swear by borscht, but each grandmother had her own recipe. Some like it more sour, others prefer sweet, and there are those who add spices to give the soup some heat.
In this recipe, chef Meir Bulka adds Alpro soy cream to the soup with a little spicy wasabi (Japanese horseradish) for extra bite.
✔ 3 beets, washed, not peeled
✔ 1 potato, peeled
✔ 2 onions, peeled
✔ 2 celery stalks, chopped (with leaves)
✔ 1 tsp. caraway powder
✔ 2 Tbsp. wasabi powder (available in most supermarkets and delicatessens)
✔ 1 container Alpro soy cream
Cook beets, onions, potato and celery in salted water until beets are soft. Remove and drain.
Peel the beets and cube them. Cube the potato. Return the beets, onion and potato into the pot, season with caraway, salt and pepper, and use a hand blender to puree.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm or heat before serving.
In a different bowl, mash the cooked celery and the soy cream until texture is smooth and greenish in color. Transfer about 1 cup of the cream into another bowl and add wasabi powder to taste. Careful – it is very spicy. Mix until texture is creamy and smooth.
Pour the hot beet soup into a bowl, add green wasabi cream and serve.