Soups are super for the sukkah

Five sweet potatoes peeled and quartered go into Sweet Potato Soup recipe.  (Barry A. Kaplan/Jerusalem)

Five sweet potatoes peeled and quartered go into Sweet Potato Soup recipe. (Barry A. Kaplan/Jerusalem)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Cold or hot, soup is ideal for the sukkah.

What better way to warm up on a chilly night or cool off on a warm afternoon?

"In The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking," Phyllis and Miryom Glazer write that the Jews of Russia and Poland served borscht on Sukkot as a “hot and nourishing meal-in-a-bowl” soup made with beets — a mainstay of the diet of Russian, Lithuanian, Ukrainian and Polish Jews — with cabbage and sometimes a piece of meat.

Claudia Roden writes in "The Book of Jewish Food" that kreplach, the triangular filled dumpling in chicken soup, is traditional for Ashkenazim on the last day of Sukkot.

“This soup symbolizes the covering up of God’s stringency with loving kindness,” Roden says.

Edda Servi Machlin, an author of Italian cookbooks, says that a traditional Italian Jewish menu for Sukkot might include vegetable soup or vegetable cream soup.

Roden also relates that while couscous is a popular dish for North African Jews, sweet potatoes and raisins are added to the soup made during Sukkot and is poured over the couscous.

The sages declared it a mitzvah to eat 14 meals in the sukkah, and in keeping with the holiday’s agricultural meaning, gratefulness is expressed to God after the harvest through the eating of autumn fruits and vegetables.

Here are a variety of recipes to make use of harvest vegetables.

ZUCCHINI BISQUE
8 servings
A bisque is a thick, cream soup with vegetables.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup pareve salty margarine
2 chopped onions
2 cups sliced carrots
8 cups diced zucchini
3 1/2 cups pareve chicken soup or made with pareve chicken soup powder and water
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 cup whipping cream
Ground nutmeg
Chopped parsley

Preparation:
1. In a soup pot, melt margarine. Add onions, carrots and zucchini and cook until onion is transparent. 
2. Add chicken soup and marjoram. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
3. Whirl vegetables in blender in batches and return to soup pot. Add whipping cream. To serve, ladle into bowls, sprinkle with nutmeg and parsley.

SWEET POTATO SOUP
8 servings

Ingredients:
5 peeled and quartered sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sliced onions
2 cored and quartered apples
4 cups water
4 teaspoons pareve chicken soup powder
2 crushed bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups milk or soy milk
2 tablespoons pareve margarine
1/4 cup bourbon
Lemon slices

Preparation:
1. In a soup pot, place sweet potatoes, onions, apples, and chicken soup. Add bay leaves, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender.
2. Puree vegetables in batches and return to soup pot. Add milk, margarine and bourbon. To serve, pour into soup bowls and garnish with lemon slices.

MOM’S SWEET AND SOUR CABBAGE SOUP
8 servings

Ingredients:
2 small cut up heads of cabbage
2 pounds of short ribs
10 cups water
4 teaspoons beef soup powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup white sugar
2 cut-up onions
2 cups tomato sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preparation:
1. Place cabbage, meat, water and beef soup powder in a soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
2. Add brown sugar, white sugar, onions, tomato sauce and lemon juice. Continue cooking 2 hours or until meat falls off the bones.

CREAM OF PUMPKIN SOUP
6 servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 pound sliced onions
1 1/2 teaspoons flour
1 1/4 cups pareve chicken soup
2 cups pumpkin
2 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon salt
Dash white pepper
1/4 teaspoon ginger
Dash cinnamon
Dash nutmeg

Preparation:
1. Melt butter or margarine in a soup pot. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Stir in flour and chicken soup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
3. Pour into blender in batches, blend a few seconds and return to pot. Add pumpkin, milk, 1/2 cup whipping cream, salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat soup and simmer 15 minutes.
4. Beat remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream in a bowl. To serve, ladle soup into soup bowls and spoon whipped cream on top.

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