Tag Archives: Soup

Martha’s Chicken Soup

It’s cold outside. My space heater is on and I can hear the rush of the wind through the trees outside, who are holding on to their colored accessories – the leaves – with determination. It’s Friday today and one of those afternoons when I wish I would be home tonight for the Shabbat Crew – Martha returning from Israel, Levi and Zoe running around and Liat and Sari chasing them, while somehow, those of us that got bumped into being the ‘older’ generation, sip wine and argue politics and laugh.

A standard staple of Shabbat in the Shem-Tov setting is Martha Shem-Tov’s chicken soup. You’d never know how quick and easy it is – with the help of course of the brilliant modern-day invention of the pressure cooker. A must have. Shabbat Shalom.


  • 3 carrots – chopped in big chunks
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 cooking onions
  • garlic cloves (optional – Martha doesn’t include them, but I love the kick)
  • 1 parsnip
  • parsley & dill
  • a slice of green cabbage (secret ingredient outed)
  • chicken – I use chicken thighs – about 4. I take the skin off, but you could leave it on
  • salt and pepper


  1. Rinse everything. Clean chicken.
  2. Place chicken in pressure cooker, and then situate the veggies etc all around it – but placing the dill and parsley on top. [we don’t chop the celery parsely or dill because we remove them at the end – but you could chop up the dill and parsley and leave it in]
  3. Add the salt and pepper
  4. Add cold water to the line indicated on the pressure cooker; close and seal
  5. Bring to a boil; wait for the little thingy to pop up ; cook for 20 minutes on med-high; once the pressure cooker makes the sounds of a “choo-choo” train (sorry – it’s the best way I can explain it) reduce the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes
  6. Turn off heat; Let it cool. Once the red thing on the pressure cooker goes down it means its safe to open.
  7. Strain it as you like it – taking out the things you don’t like in it and leaving in the things you do (I chop up the chicken pieces and include them in the broth)
  8. Serve with Mazto Balls and the Osem Soup Croutons. I season with ground black pepper and garlic salt – but I have a bit of a garlic addiction.

DISCLAIMER: BE VERY CAREFUL USING THE PRESSURE COOKER: read and watch the accompanying video for directions if you are not experienced with it – otherwise can be rather dangerous. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll never make chicken soup without it.

Additions: you can add boiled potato (don’t cook it in the broth – makes the broth cloudy); Martha used to add lima beans, a throw back from her Poland days. But don’t knock it – they are surprisingly delicious.



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Filed under Holidays, Shabbat

Shourba Siliq – Swiss Chard Soup

This recipe is from the website Iraqi Family Cookbook.

“Kay Karim grew up in Baghdad, and immigrated to the United States in 1968. She kept her family heritage alive through cooking these traditional meals for family and friends.”

There are a bunch of great recipes on that website. Check it out. In the meantime, this soup sounds delicious.


  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 large cloves of garlic crushed
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • ½ cup of rice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bunch of swiss chard washed and chopped
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. dried mint



  1. Sauté onion & garlic in oil for 3 minutes.
  2. Add salt, pepper and water.
  3. When it starts to boil, add rice.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add swiss chard, lemon juice and mint.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes.


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Filed under Iraqi, Links, Soup

Spinach & Zucchini Soup

Love 101 Cookbooks.com. Great blog. Definitely check it out.

The weather here in NY is gray (like charcoal gray) and rainy. Time for soup. And this one sounds delish.

Click here: Spinach and Zucchini Soup

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Filed under Links, Soup

Sababa’s Lentil Soup

As the leaves outside begin to change colors, I begin to crave soup.  Autumn is by far my favorite season, and this lentil soup is indeed my favorite soup. I have fond memories of lunches at Sababa in Toronto with friends, and the day I got a copy of their soup recipe. Apparently so many people had been asking, they finally included it in an interview in The Toronto Star. The soup tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to mingle and get to know each other. A lot like life, no?

One nice additional touch on this one, is to carmelize some onions, finely sliced, and add them atop each bowl as a garnish. Simply divine. 

For the Sababa Website, click here. 

As appeared in the Toronto Star


1.25 cups red lentils

    .5 cup white rice

  .33 cup vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

6 cups warm water

1 tbsp vegetable stock

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt or to taste

lemon wedges optional


  1. Soak lentils and rice in warm water. Add onion to hot vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the 6 cups water and bring to a boil.
  2. Drain soaking lentils and rice, rinse well then add to boiling water with onion  and boil 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add vegetable stock, cumin, olive oil and salt. Serve each bowl with wedge of lemon.


Makes 8 cups

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The Munchkins’ Barley Soup

Every Monday afternoon, Savta Martha heads down to the Annex to hang out with “the munchkins”: Levi and Zoe Shem-Tov. And every Monday she makes the soup below, which she asks me to let readers know is “low-glycemic index” and “good for you.” Levi who is a charming little five year old, who can be heard in the background summoning my mom: “Savta, come feed me.” Yep. Come feed me too! This soup is quick and easy to make (like most Martha dishes) and is healthy and delish – especially when you need a soup to warm you up. Savta, you will have to explain to Levi’s wife one day, why his expectations are so high! :>)


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup of brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup of split green peas
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped [“Chopped, or diced,” Martha says, “I don’t know how you call it,”
  • 4 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • tie together a bit of parsley and dill, NOT chopped
  • 3 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1 tbsp of salt; 1 flat tsp of pepper
  • 8-10 cups of water


  1. Rinse barley, lentils & split peas and put in pot;
  2. Add chopped celery & carrots
  3. Add chicken thighs
  4. Add parsley, dill, salt and pepper
  5. Bring to boil; once it boils cook on medium for 30-40 minutes
  6. Remove dill and parsley – throw out
  7. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and seve
  8. VARIATION: add one tin (24 oz) of diced tomatoes

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Filed under sides, Soup, Uncategorized

Excellent Maztah Balls

While I would love to claim credit for these Matzah balls (which by the way, were really outstanding – the perfect balance between “fluffy” and “firm”; insert jokes here), my mother and sister Idit, would laugh considering they both got frantic calls from me asking to remind me of their recipes. I did riff on their recipes, and have to say, love what came out.

Matzh balls (perhaps it’s some weird Freudian thing) are the ultimate comfort food, obviously swimming in chicken soup. For many years on the high holidays we had two sets of Matzah balls – Marilyn’s (my aunt) and Martha’s (my mom) as the kids were rather particular about their food. Of course, even if you preferred your aunt’s “balls” as it were, you best be eating “yo mama’s.”

This recipe is easy and they are really delish. Enjoy.


  • 4 tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup Maztoh Meal (Manischewitz all the way)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • a few turns of freshly ground pepper
  • dash of garlic powder for some kick
  • handful or two of fresh and finely chopped up dill
  • splash of seltzer


  1. Blend eggs and oil together (very well, my mother says)
  2. Then blend all ingredients together (except for dill); mix until uniform consistency
  3. Mix in dill;
  4. Cover and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes
  5. Bring 6 cups of water to boil; reduce heat to medium
  6. Make balls (whatever size you like Freud) and drop into water
  7. Cover pot and let it cook for 35 minutes.

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