- Jewish Learning
This is a wonderful soup originating from the traditional Yemenite Jewish community. Like other dishes brought by the various Jewish communities to Israel as they migrated there, it became a staple of the new Israeli cuisine as it’s been adopted by so many chefs and families for its special spiced aromas and comforting qualities. The cardamom here is part of a spice mix called hawaij, which you can find in specialty grocery stores. To make a vegetarian version, you can replace the meat with a mix of wild and dried mushrooms.
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) Bartenura Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 pounds (900 grams) beef stew meat or 1 whole chicken, cut up
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 medium onions, diced
2–3 beef bones (optional)
6 quarts (6 liters) water
1 tablespoon (5 grams) hawaij spice blend
6 cloves garlic, minced or 6 cubes Gefen Frozen Garlic
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
2–3 celery ribs with leaves, cut into large segments
1 large bunch cilantro
In a large soup pot, heat a quarter cup (60 milliliters) of the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Add the meat and brown it for about 15 minutes, turning often with a spatula.
Move the meat to a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Add the remaining quarter cup (60 milliliters) olive oil to the pot and add the diced onions. Sauté for 10 to 12 minutes, or until translucent.
Add the meat back to the pot along with the bones (if using) and the water and bring to a simmer. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Stir in the hawaij mix, salt, pepper and the garlic. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for two hours.
Once the meat starts getting soft and tender, add the potatoes and celery and cook for one hour. If using mushrooms, add them to the soup at the same time as the potatoes and celery. Add the cilantro 15 minutes before the soup is done. Adjust the seasonings and serve.
Yields 12–16 servings
Reprinted with permission from My Spiced Kitchen by Yaniv Cohen, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Sonja Garnitschnig. (Purchase on Amazon.)
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