6 soups and stews from Israel to warm you this winter
These hearty dishes will make you forget about the cold weather.
A good soup can warm your body from the inside. When winter begins, so too do people's cravings for steamy bowls of broth. The cuisine of every country that experiences cold weather has at least a few trademark soups and stews. The best of these recipes are often exported to other four-season places around the globe.
This is the case in Israel, which has a cuisine that features a number of warming soups and stews that have been introduced by immigrants over centuries. These dishes are a worthwhile addition to anyone's menu of cold weather comfort foods. Here are six of the best soups and stews that have found their way into the cuisine of Israel.
Shakshouka (Photo: Joy/Flickr)
Shakshouka is an egg dish that has many different versions. The traditional recipe is quite simple: eggs poached in a tomato sauce spiced with peppers. Often, crushed garlic, fresh herbs or cumin are added to the stew as flavor enhancers. Modern incarnations of this popular dish are sometimes topped with cheese, sour cream or chili sauce. Many people see Shakshouka as a breakfast food because the main ingredient is egg. In Israel and the Mediterranean region, however, it is often eaten at dinnertime. A variation of this dish is popular in Tunisia, and it was brought to Israel by immigrants from that country.
Lentil soup is a staple in many countries. (Photo: Emily Carlin/Flickr)
Lentil soup is made with one of the world's most popular legumes. Lentils are a staple in East Africa, India and the Eastern Mediterranean. Because they are small, these beans do not have to be soaked before they are cooked. Also, they are low in fat, packed with protein and easily stored. There are innumerable varieties of lentil soup. The most popular version in Israel has a thick consistency and a rather international blend of flavors. Turmeric, cumin, lemon and garlic can turn this sometimes-bland dish into something that is warming, filling, flavorful and healthy.
Hraime is a fish dish of North African origin. (Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock)
Hraime (or chraime) is a seafood dish that was introduced to Israel by immigrants from North Africa. This spicy stew has a tomato sauce base. It usually features fish like sea bass, halibut or cod, though any fish can be used as long as its flesh is firm enough to stand up to the simmering process. Because the tomato sauce and chili peppers reduce quickly and the fish cooks faster than beef, most Hraime recipes call for less than 30 minutes of cooking time (10 minutes for the sauce and 15 for the fish, depending on the size of the pieces). This makes it a quick comfort food option for days when you have a limited amount of time to cook.
Goulash is a beef stew that originated in Hungary. (Photo: Robyn Mackenzie/Shutterstock)
Brought to Israel (and to the rest of the world) by immigrants from Hungary, where it remains a popular wintertime staple, goulash has taken many different forms, from hearty stew with direct-from-the-farm ingredients to noodle-based casseroles made with powdered flavoring. Goulash is traditionally made with beef and potatoes and seasoned with paprika. The stew is legendary for its thickness, but in traditional recipes, no flour or extra starches are used. The consistency comes from the starch in the potatoes and the fats and collagen in the meat. Other ingredients like carrots, tomatoes, garlic and bell peppers can be added. Like cholent, goulash is a great dish for the slow cooker.
Kibbeh can be made with beef, lamb, goat or even camel meat. (Photo: Fanfo/Shutterstock)
Kibbeh, or kubbeh, is a widely eaten dish that was introduced to Israel by people from a region of Kurdistan. Even today, the best kibbeh in the country is found in the Kurdish neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Though it is often referred to as a dumpling, kibbeh is actually more of a meatball. It is made using bulgur (cracked wheat), which is finely ground and combined with mince meat and spices. In Israel, these balls (usually rolled into a football-like shape) can be fried, but they are often put into thick broth and served as a soup. The broth generally has a red color because it is made using beets and thickened with other root vegetables.
Israeli Osso Buco
This lamb stew is fork-tender and savory, and not hard to make at all. It's easily served as a main dish. In its original form, Osso Buco is a Milanese speciality of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. It is traditionally served with risotto. Miriam Kresh's Israeli version involves scattering fresh, green fava beans over the lamb slices. In addition to the lamb, you’ll need chicken stock or soup ready, and some red wine.
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