Bean Soup

When we lived in Rehovot, Israel in 1976-1977, I worked as a recipe tester for Naf Avnon's So eat, my darling. Mr. Avnon hired Americans, familiar with the ingredients and kitchens in the U.S., but living in Israel, to test his recipes so that he could sell his cookbook in the U.S. Each of us prepared the recipes, gave suggestions for changes and adaptations, and also suggested comments to be inserted for the U.S. market. One of the recipes I worked on was the following Bean Soup. The recipe has lots of room for changes in quantity and method. If you are in a hurry, you can serve it the same day, with or without puréeing. If you like a tomato base, you can add a can of tomato paste. However, my favorite way to prepare this soup is to start a two days ahead, soak the beans over the first 24 hours, after cooking the soup, purée it, and refrigerate it overnight. Before serving, I remove any accumulated fat, and heat it slowly, almost to a boil.

This soup can be a meal on its own, served with some good bread and, perhaps, a salad. However, I usually serve it as the first course in the winter, for Friday night (Sabbath) dinner, followed by roasted meats, kugels, and salads.


Soak the beans in water overnight. Rinse and drain.

Put beans, short ribs, and 2.5 quarts of cold water in a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil, and skim foam from the surface as it forms. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer 2-3 hours.

Add the vegetables and spices. Bring the soup to a boil again, and simmer 1-2 hours until vegetables are quite soft. Discard the bones, slice the meat, and puree the soup in a blender, immersion blender, or food processor. Return the meat to the soup, and carefully reheat.

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