Rosh Hashanah Seven Vegetable Soup

Metric version of recipe

Yields 8 portions

Ingredient Amount
Chickpeas, soaked overnight, and drained 2/3 cup
Onions, chopped 5 cups
Beef broth or vegetable stock 6 cups
Butternut squash, peeled and large dice 8 cups
Turnip or rutabaga, cut into wedges about ¼ inch by 1 inch thick 1 ea.
Ground cumin 1 tsp.
Ground cinnamon ½ tsp.
Salt, or more as needed 2 ½ tsp.
Zucchini, medium, diced small 3 ea.
Apples, quince, or pears, large-dice 2 ea.
Swiss chard, greens only, cut into ½ inch strips 1 bu. (6 cups)
Black pepper, freshly ground 1 tsp.
Sugar 2 Tbsp.

Method

  1. Combine the chickpeas, onions, and beef broth or vegetable stock in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chickpeas are just tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in the butternut squash and turnip or rutabaga and the cumin, cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of the salt and simmer until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and apples, quinces, or pears and simmer for 5 more minutes, or until almost tender. Stir in the chard and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the chard is tender.
  3. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt, the pepper, and sugar, more or less to taste, and serve.

Additional tips

In her book Marrakech la Rouge, les Juifs de la Medina, Helen Ganz Perez reminisces about the soupe aux sept legumes that was part of her family’s Rosh Hashanah tradition. The seven vegetables are onion, pumpkin, gourd, zucchini, a few swiss chard leaves, chickpeas and quince. I could not get over how closely it resembles the Andalusian soup called olla gitana, gypsy stew, which uses pears instead of quince. I suspect that the “gypsy” title was added as a cover, after the Jews had left Spain and the recipe remained in the culinary pipeline. Today in Spain they add ham to flavor the stock but in pre-inquisition days the soup was most likely was made with beef. You may add diced cooked brisket to the basic vegetable soup for a more filling soup. In Tetouan, Moroccan cooks add greens to the basic pumpkin and use white beans instead of chickpeas. For a meatless version use vegetable stock.

Recipe credit: Joyce Goldstein, as presented at the Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival. Published with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Presented at Kitchen Workshop III on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006.

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