Shabbat dinner always felt different from the rest of the week. The differences were small, my mother bentched licht covering her head with whatever was nearby, sometimes even grabbing a dish-towel, the table was covered with an embroidered cloth, challah replaced rye bread, roast chicken was served, and my father said Kiddush. On Saturdays life went back to normal but that feeling of Shabbat lingered in the air.
As the week winds down, after a full work-week, it’s sometimes hard to plan, shop, and prepare for Shabbat. That’s what makes those hardy one pot meals like Cholent, Tabit, and Hamin, so attractive. Instead of serving it for lunch, I often make one of those dishes and put it in the oven early Friday morning to serve for dinner instead.
Tonight we are having some of our children’s Ramah friends over and my plan was to make a one pot dinner. I thought I would try something new so I chose to make Sofrito from the Jerusalem cookbook, a one-pot chicken and potato dish, cooked slowly in its own juices on top of the stove. Then I decided to make a pot of turkey meatballs in a cumin-scented tomato sauce. When I left for the market there was a chill in the air, and so I decided to come home and make a family favorite, a pot of Israeli bean soup.
My one pot dinner has turned into three pots, and with all of them simmering slowly on the stove top, it does feel different, and for me, that’s what Shabbat is all about. Hope yours feels different too. Shabbat Shalom.
Israeli Bean Soup
1 pound small white beans, rinsed well
1 large brown onion
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 Tb olive oil
8 cups chicken broth or water with 1 Tb chicken bouillon
Chop onions in a small dice. In a large soup pot, sauté onions in olive oil till translucent, but not browned, for about 5 or 6 minutes. Mince garlic and add to onions and cook for another minute or two. Add water/chicken broth and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook for about one hour. Then add salt, pepper, and tomato sauce and cook till beans are tender about another 1 1/2 hours. Adjust seasonings and serve. Serves 6.