Warm Winter Dishes

Bean and Roasted Tomato Soup
10 servings
This is a hearty winter soup that can be made a few days ahead and will keep either refrigerated or frozen.

1/2 pound small dried beans, such as Great Northern
3 pounds tomatoes, cored, halved and seeded
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled
6 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Thyme petals, plus for garnish
A few drops Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Soak overnight, then drain and pick over.

Preheat oven to 325°.

Place beans, 5 cups stock, sugar and thyme in a heavy saucepan with a cover. Bring to a boil over high flame, then reduce heat and simmer, half covered, for 30 minutes or until the beans are very soft.

Place garlic on a cookie sheet. Arrange tomatoes on top in a single layer, cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 1 hour.

Reserve half of the cooked beans. Add the other half to the tomatoes and purée in a blender until smooth. Return the mixture to saucepan with reserved beans; adjust consistency as needed with reserved stock.

Season to taste with Tabasco, salt and pepper.

Serve garnished with thyme petals.


Bulgur Chili
4 servings as luncheon dish
6 servings as a side dish or appetizer

This nutritious winter luncheon dish can be served plain or topped with a dollop of seasoned ricotta or grated mozzarella. It also freezes well.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1 pound white mushrooms
1 can (15.5 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14 ounces) tomatoes with juices (squeeze tomatoes by hand)
1/2 cup whole grain bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme petals
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and cover. Add garlic, onion and green pepper. Simmer over low heat until onion is tender.

Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel, trim ends as needed and slice. Add to saucepan with remaining ingredients, plus 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cook very slowly, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Season to taste.

I recommend using Goya brand canned beans.

Grated Potato Pancake
10-12 servings

This type of latke looks attractive, tastes delicious and isn’t greasy at all. It can be prepared ahead of time; just reheat in a warm oven for a few minutes and slice into pie wedges.

4 large baking potatoes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Peel potatoes, quarter them horizontally and place in a bowl of cold water. (This prevents discoloration.) Grate the potatoes coarsely in a food processor fitted with a medium-grating attachment. Wring dry in a dishtowel and transfer to a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a non-stick 12-inch skillet. Add potatoes, patting them down firmly with a spatula and straightening the edges. Sauté for about 8 minutes over medium-high heat or until the underside is golden.

Invert the pancake onto a plate. Heat the remaining tablespoon oil and slide the pancake back into the skillet. Pat down again with a spatula and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the underside is golden.

Slide the pancake onto a platter and cut into slices.

Veal Stew
6 servings

I prefer to prepare all stews in advance because the flavors blend together better. A heavy cast-iron saucepan is ideal for cooking stews; it allows for slower, more even cooking.

3 green bell peppers, de-seeded, quartered
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds boned shoulder of veal, trimmed of gristle and fat and cut into 11/2 inch pieces
Unbleached flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
One 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped
15 black olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
10 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat boiler.

Line a broiling pan with foil and place peppers skin side up on it. Broil close to the heat source until the skin is almost blackened (about 7 minutes). Place the peppers in a plastic bag to cool. Remove the skin and cut into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°. In a heavy skillet, heat oil. Pat veal pieces dry and dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess. Sauté over medium heat until browned, several pieces at a time. As the pieces brown, transfer them to a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting cover, or a Dutch oven, and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Add remaining ingredients to meat. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover and place in oven. Cook for 1 hour, or until meat is soft but not falling apart.

Adjust seasoning.

This article was featured in the Winter 2007 issue of Jewish Action.