Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

January 31, 2014
Irene Saiger


Israeli White Bean Soup

photo-9Shabbat 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.


16 thoughts on “Israeli White Bean Soup

  1. Hi Irene,

    It’s a perfect day for soup so I’m making it for dinner. Welcome to snowy TO.

    your cousin Carol

  2. Hi, Irene.

    The soup looks so good in mommy’s dishes. Mommy did grab the dish towel very often to “bensh lecht” in her own inimitable way.

    Sorry it took so long to respond. I want you to know that I always read your blog even if I do not leave a comment. I love the stories and I always wish I was as good a cook as you are and that I enjoyed cooking as much as you do when I see the picture of the finished entrée or appetizer.

    Have a wonderful week.

    Love, your shvester.

    • Thanks Anita. Amazing we have the same memory!!! We each have different strengths that we inherited. You got the math gene and I got the left brain. Perfect match! I cook, you clean!

      Can’t wait to see you during Pesach.


  3. Hi, Irene,

    I cannot even begin to tell you how many strings this recipe had hit. To begin with, we were suppose to be away for Shabbat and then some people got sick, including me. So, on Friday morning all I wanted was hot soup and no cooking. Then this email cam and I had all I needed in the pantry. I just added some chopped smoked turkey (from the deli, leftover in the fridge) and it was a full meal which I had with some challah, Friday night and again Shabbat brunch. So, yet again, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU. As usual, and as someone else pointed out, your stories alone make me want to cook the recipes in them. However, now that I am feeling better, may I bother you for the other recipes in your post Sofrito and turkey meatballs in a cumin-scented tomato sauce as long as some ideas for cooking with freekah.

    Thank you so much and Shabbat Shalom.

    • Hi,

      I am so glad it worked out for everyone. I love the idea of added smoked turkey! It is so nice to get such great feedback, I am embarrassed to ask if you have written before and maybe I am just having a memory lapse?? Forgive me!!!

      I will write them up and send them to you this weekend. I did not love the sofrito, I think Tabit is much better but I will send it and you can let me know what you think after you make it. The meatballs were great!

      Thanks again for getting in touch. IF this is the first time you are commenting, I would love to know how you found me and where you live?

      Shabbat Shalom,


  4. This looks so good! I just started making these homemade pita chips I found on they will go perfectly with this soup! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. How was the sofrito? I’m really enjoying that cookbook!

    • Hi Rachel,

      Well my husband loved it. The chicken had a lot of flavor and so that part was great. I thought the potatoes were not that interesting and didn’t add much. Next time I might try bulghur or freekah or another grain?

      Thanks for asking!

  6. Like I have always said the stories are worth learning to cook!,, enjoy all the “kids”

  7. What is a brown onion? Thanks, Sandi

  8. This lovely recipe and the Ramah kids will make your Shabbat especially warm, delicious and memorable
    Enjoy Shabbat shalom

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