Soup’s Up for National Soup Month

An opportunity to explore new soups? Yes, please.
January 25, 2024
Beet Kubbeh Soup Photo by Gila Green

It’s national soup month! An opportunity to explore new soups? Yes, please.

When Gila Green’s Israeli daughter-in-law joined the family, she introduced them to this beef kubbeh soup.

“She always mentions her mother while preparing it and we are happy to be her new family to share it with her.” – Gila Green

“Her Israeli mother had a Turkish background and she prepared this dish every Friday afternoon for a pre-Shabbat meal … until her mother tragically passed away when she was only 12 years old.” Green, an author, EFL teacher and editor, told the Journal. “She always mentions her mother while preparing it and we are happy to be her new family to share it with her.”

Green, who began a cooking page (@cooking.with.gila) with her son and youngest daughter to help them all cope with the devastation of living in Israel since October 7th, loves sharing and preparing easy homemade recipes.

“There are three parts to this recipe: the ground beef, the dough, the dumplings and the soup,” Green said. “The results are well worth the effort.”

Beet Kubbeh Soup

Serves 6-8 people Can be used as a starter or a meal

garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 1/4 lbs chopped beef
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

8 cups semolina
2 Tbsp salt
2 1/3 cups water

1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
8 ½ cups water
3/4 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp chicken soup mix
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lemon
3 beets, peeled and chopped into sticks

Ground Beef
Add oil to a pan over medium heat, add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, until they’re softened (around 5 minutes). TAdd ground beef, cumin, salt and pepper. Continue to fry on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, there is no more liquid in the mixture or until the beef is no longer red. Put mixture in a freezer-safe bowl and freeze for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Put semolina in a large bowl. Add salt and mix. Slowly add water and mix gently. (If you mix harshly, the dough might come out chewy.) Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes, so the dough can thicken.

Wet your hands and divide the dough into small pieces of equal size (about 2 ½ inches each). Flatten each piece and fill with 1 tablespoon of beef. It can help to roll the filling into a ball, place the ball in the center of the dough and pinch the ends. It might take a few attempts to do this. Smooth and seal any cracks. The texture of the dumplings should be smooth.

In a pan over medium heat, add oil and fry the onion for a few minutes. Then add celery, water, tomato paste, chicken soup mix, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice and beets.
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Then add dumplings to the soup.
Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat. When the dumplings float, they are ready.
Serve with rice and enjoy.

Note: Leftover dumplings can be frozen. Many people who eat this dish regularly prepare dozens of dumplings and then remove them from the freezer, after preparing the soup.

Claudia Hagadus Long’s recipe for bourride started its life in Patricia Wells’ “Bistro Cooking,” a mainstay of her 200+ cookbook stash.

“Time, preferences and refrigerator contents modified it to its current incarnation,” Long, the author of six novels, told the Journal.

She adds, “The only expensive item is a bit of saffron, but it’s pretty vital. Of course, a pinch of turmeric will disguise the lack, but the flavor will be missing.”

Long calls it the perfect dish for a quick dinner for her and her husband or an impressive company dish.

“The recipe is for two or three servings; expand accordingly,” she said. “[After] you’ve made it once, you can do the whole thing in about ½ hour.”


½ cup onion, diced
½ cup fennel bulb, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1 clove garlic, diced
olive oil
1 tsp fennel seeds
pinch of saffron
½ cup dry white wine
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
Optional: cayenne pepper

½ clove of garlic
coarse salt
pinch of saffron threads
½ cup mayonnaise

½ lb white fish, cut into 1″ pieces
Optional: French Bread

In a deep pot, put a swirl of olive oil, warm it on a medium flame and add the chopped vegetables. Salt lightly. Stir frequently until the vegetables have softened. Add fennel seed (essential) and stir for a minute so the seeds release some aroma. Add a small pinch of saffron. Stir.
Add dry white wine. Let it boil off a bit, then add vegetable broth. You can use water and some more wine if you don’t have vegetable broth. Don’t use chicken broth. Bring to a boil, turn it down, and let it simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the aioli. In a small bowl crush garlic with some coarse salt until a paste forms. Add a pinch of saffron threads. Whisk in mayonnaise. Let it stand until you’re ready to use it.
If you are going to garnish with French bread, slice your bread and toast it. Spread a bit of aioli on the slices.
Taste the broth, and adjust for salt. Add a small pinch of cayenne or other hot red pepper to the broth if desired. Add the fish. Stir gently. Let the soup cook on medium (not high!) until the fish is done, between 5 and 15 minutes.
Warm a couple of soup bowls in an oven. When you’re ready to serve, put a teaspoon of aioli in each bowl, and ladle the soup over. Serve with the rest of the aioli and the French bread slices.

If you don’t have any one of the vegetables, substitute more of another. Exception: if you don’t have a potato put in 1 tablespoon of uncooked rice.

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