Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mom’s Rude Soup

Although there's no arguing that spring has most decidedly sprung, there's still a chill at night. The best thing to warm the bones on a chilly night is a mug or bowl of Mom's Root Soup.

Besides chilly mid-spring nights, this dish has also become Mom’s Passover mainstay. She kindly switched to a vegan soup after I had become vegetarian many years ago. She also switched to a vegetarian matzo ball recipe that doesn't use chicken ingredients at all. Regarding matzo ball recipes, Mom uses the one on the box/can of matzo meal and recommends it highly.

The name of this entry is a play on words since the recipe is mainly fashioned from root vegetables. Sometimes, this has a noticeable effect on select individuals, hence the name. However, it’s a very tasty dish, and I’ve chosen not to veer from Mom’s recipe at all to honor her cooking style and concern for my step-dad Dave’s health. They do not cook with salt due to his high blood pressure, so if you do (I do!), please salt and pepper the soup to suit your tastes.

Finally, Mom usually makes this soup a few days before it’s meant to be eaten. However, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying it right after you make it. If you decide to make it ahead for a big dinner, add 4 cups of vegetable broth before heating for 1 hour before serving.


1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 leeks (well cleaned of all sand)
1 large rutabaga
1 parsnip
1 potato
7 cups water
1/4 cup barley


1. Heat the oil and the spices in a large stock pot over low heat.
2. Cut the leeks into 1/2 in. size slices, excluding the rough dark green parts at the ends. Discard the ends.
3. Add the leeks to the pot and cover. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft and turn off the heat under the pot.
4. Cut the rutabaga into 1 in. squares.
5. Cut the parsnip into thirds.
6. Cut the potato into 1 in. squares.
7. Add all the vegetables and turn the heat back on to medium high under the pot.
8. Add the water and barley.
9. When the soup is bubbling, lower to a simmer and cover for 1 1/2 hours.
10. Enjoy or store in the fridge until your big dinner.

This soup easily feeds 10, especially with matzo balls.

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