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Soups for the Sukkah

September 12, 2013 | by Elizabeth Kurtz

Warm up your sukkah with these soothing soups.

Sukkot kicks of the soup season in our family. I love to start each evening Yom tov meal with a warm and soothing soup, like any of the soups below. For daytime meals, I also serve soup but if it’s warm outside, I always include a cold soup like Chilled Mango Curry Soup or White Grape Gazpacho Soup. Garnish the soups with creative fall ingredients like toasted pumpkin seeds, thick rustic croutons, or a lemon slice. I also like to use a pretty paper napkin in between the soup bowl and the small plate that coordinates with my tablecloth to present the soup with a jolt of color and fun. Use big bold patterns like polka dots, wild flowers, and great stripes. Chag Sameach!

Luscious Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Cream of Wild Mushroom SoupServes 6

This soup is smooth and creamy and really decadent. You can make it either pareve or even better as a dairy soup. I love flavorful soups in the sukkah to start a meal. This one is adapted from an Ina Garten recipe.

  • 5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
  • 5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup vanilla soymilk or pareve milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup pareve whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Separate the mushroom stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the margarine/butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining stick of margarine/butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the soymilk or half-and-half, pareve cream or cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

Red Lentil and Apricot Soup

Red Lentil and Apricot SoupServes 6

I like to make this all fall and ask the children parsha questions about where Red Lentil soup appears in the Torah. Fun and delicious.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-½ cups dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 5 cups chicken or pareve chicken broth
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a large heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion, apricots, and garlic; do not let them brown. Add the lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes, cumin, thyme and salt and pepper, and simmer for 10 minutes more. Stir in the lemon juice and let the soup stand off the heat for a few minutes. Puree half of the soup with an immersion blender. Return to the pot , stir and reheat.


WonTon Soup

WonTon SoupServes 8

We order this at Chinese restaurants so often that I thought I would give it a shot at home. I merged numerous recipes to come up with this one that was a big hit and much easier than expected. The uncooked wontons can be frozen for up to 1 month. Do not thaw the frozen wontons before cooking; add them directly to the boiling soup and cook until tender, 6 to 9 minutes.


  • 6 ounces ground beef
  • ½ large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 medium scallions, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 25 wonton wrappers


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 ounces ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced thin and smashed
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 3 scallions, sliced

To prepare wontons:

Combine all ingredients (except wrappers) in medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and freeze until chilled, about 10 minutes. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay 3 wrappers on dry work surface. Place 1 slightly rounded teaspoon filling in center of wrapper, brush edges lightly with water, and fold wrapper into wonton.

Place wonton on baking sheet and repeat with remaining filling and wrappers. Loosely cover wontons with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours.

For the soup:

Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add ground beef, onion, garlic and ginger and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover partially and cook 25 minutes. Strain if you wish.

Return strained broth to clean saucepan and bring to boil. Carefully add wontons, carrot and scallions and simmer until wontons are tender, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Rustic Fall Vegetable Soup

Rustic Fall Vegetable SoupServes 6

This is a super easy soup that is great on yom tov or all winter long.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium winter squash, peeled and diced (use either butternut squash or acorn squash)
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until fragrant and translucent. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown. Add the winter squash, zucchini, sweet potato, orzo, canned tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, and broth. Simmer until the vegetables are soft and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Season the soup with salt, and black pepper, to taste. Serve with sliced crusty bread.

Click here for more Sukkot recipes.

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