This is “invalid’s soup”? It CAN’T be healthy!

In Recipies on October 20, 2011 at 11:49 am

Yes, it is that good.

There are several versions of this “invalid’s soup”, “grandfather’s soup”, “bubbe’s soup”, etc.  Variations can be found throughout Poland, Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus (where this recipe came from).

An elegant setting for Bubbe or Zayde!

The soup’s name derives from the belief that the sick, the recovering, and the elderly easily digest its ingredients.  It is a very calorie dense soup and, therefore, a sick person need only eat a small amount for a fairly high calorie meal.  The onions and vegetable stock provide generous amounts of vitamin C and the cinnamon and nutmeg are thought by many to have medicinal qualities.  The soup is easy to prepare in one pot and the ingredients cost only a few kopeks.

The soup may look a little familiar to American Jews.

Virtually every American Jew is familiar with matzoh ball soup.  Matzoh ball soup is the kosher for Passover version of the one I offer up below.  Both of the soups are dumpling soups. Matzoh balls have comparatively much less flavor than the dumplings in this soup.  But, the biggest difference is that the Passover soup has a much thinner broth, often without discernable pieces of anything beyond the occasional carrot slice or parsley leaf.

This soup is much, MUCH heartier and can be a meal by itself for even a healthy young person.

Best of all, the soup can be prepared in well under an hour.  It keeps well in the fridge and even freezes well, despite the presence of the dumplings.

Let’s get started…

For the broth you will need:

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 large baking potato, small dice

3 TBS butter (or parve butter substitute)

2 bay leaves

4 C vegetable stock (best) or low-sodium chicken stock

2 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried dill

freshly ground black pepper to taste

 And, for the dumplings:

2/3 to 3/4 C self-rising flour

(or same amount of ordinary flour with 1 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp added)

1 large egg, whisked

1 TBS butter (or parve butter substitute)

1 tsp dried dill

1 tsp dried parsley

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp garlic powder

olive oil (optional, for hands)

In a 2-4qt pot (that has a cover), melt the butter over medium heat.  Add in the onion and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the onions begin to turn golden and sweet.  Stir frequently to avoid scorching.  Add in the diced potato and cook for an additional 2-4 minutes.  Stir frequently.  Twist in a bit of pepper.  Pour in the stock and bay leaves, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 8-10 minutes.

While the broth is cooking, make your dumplings.  Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour.  Add the parsley, dill, garlic powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Rub this mixture well until the spices and herbs are well blended into the flour.  Whisk the egg until frothy and add to the flour mixture.  Using a fork, carefully fold the egg into the flour mixture until you have a moist, sticky dough.  If the dough is too dry, add water (1/2 tsp at a time).  If it is too wet, add flour (1/4 tsp at a time).  Rub a SMALL amount of olive oil (or butter) onto your hands and form ½ to 1 tsp of the dough into balls.  By now, the broth has simmered for ten minutes.  So, now, you can begin dropping the dumplings into it.  When you have added all of the dumplings, cover the soup and simmer for an additional 10-12 minutes.

You get healthy just looking at it!

I do not add salt until this soup reaches the table.  If you are using commercially prepared stock, there is usually enough salt already.  Besides, this is for “grandfather” and he does not need more sodium.

Sprinkle generously with dried dill and parsley flakes and serve in shallow bowls.  Guests can add their own salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


Thanks to my friend, Arkadje, for giving me this recipe for “zup deduhlyeh” to share with my Phyne Dyning friends.


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