On one of my trans-Atlantic conversations with my mother, Mrs. Mitnick, we schmoozed for a really long time, and before she hung up, my mother casually mentioned to me that she tried a delicious new soup recipe that day. We both started laughing as simultaneously I asked for the recipe and she offered to share it with me. (She knows me already!!) This soup is so comforting and satisfying, and yet really easy to make. It has become my family’s favorite fleishig soup. It freezes beautifully, too.
In an eight-quart/liter pot, put sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, meat, and bones. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
Remove the gray scum that appears on top of the water, and then add the barley, beans, and seasoning. Bring to boil again, lower fire, and cook for approximately two and a half hours, or until beans are soft. You may want to add more water as soup is cooking.
Add the noodles and cook for 5–10 more minutes.
• A pinch or two of nutmeg adds a special taste. It’s the difference between ordinary and professional. I add it to many dishes. Also, I like using two different kinds of barley, half a cup of each, for a more diverse texture. It’s up to you.
• When you warm up any leftover soup the next day, you will probably have to add some water, as it thickens when it sits. Warm on a low flame. You can also skim off most of the fat that solidifies and rises to the surface when the soup is refrigerated. It won’t compromise the taste. I do this all the time, especially with chicken soup and other fatty fleishig soups.
• I made this soup with a few pieces of flanken and a few turkey necks. The turkey necks make the soup very creamy, and add lean protein too. It really becomes a meal in one this way.
• If it is your minhag to eat kreplach on Purim, you can warm them up together with the soup before serving. You might want to leave out the noodles or just add a little bit for those who don’t fancy kreplach.