1 tblsp. kosher salt
10 shakes (or grinds) of pepper
Rinse meat and remove as much fat and gristle as possible (that's why shish kebab meat is preferred - it will save you a lot of time). Dice carrots, celery, onion and potato. Put all the dried peas, barley and lima beans into a strainer and rinse well with cold water - allow to drain fully to remove excess starch. Put everything (except the salt and pepper) into an 8 quart pot and fill the pot with water to an inch or inch and a half of the top. Cover, bring to a boil, and SKIM THE SCHAUM (scum). This is not optional. The soup will be too grody to eat (full of clotted protein lumps) if you don't do this step. There is a 'how to skim schaum' page elsewhere on this website, for those who do not know what I mean. Anyway, after skimming the schaum, add the salt and pepper cook covered at a simmer for 1.5 hours. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Soup is done when meat and beans are soft. Discard (or eat) the bones and green pepper - but allow the juice to drain into pot before tossing. For years I had this recipe posted without noting the bay leaves (which should be removed before serving). So if you have printed out an old copy of this recipe, please note that was an error of ommission. My apologies.
This soup is very hearty - a meal unto itself. It also has the charming attribute of freezing very well - it's great for stocking your freezer so you don't have to cook when you're sick.
A final note - Soup bones are usually not on display, but you can ask for them at the butcher's. They don't usually cost much. They freeze well, so you can get enough bones for several batches and store them in the freezer. You can make the soup without the bones, but the bones help for both both flavor and thickening.
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