“Thick, chunky, and robustly seasoned, Israeli bean soup isn’t an elegant affair, but it’s incredibly satisfying. In our family, we ate the Yemenite version of this soup with hawaij spice mix. My cousin Ronit’s version was always better than mine-quite the irony for a chef. For me, celebrating Thanksgiving is all about remembering the flavors of home. One of the most popular spice mixes in an Israeli kitchen, hawaij actually comes in two distinct blends, both hailing from Yemen. Soup hawaij (or savory hawaij), the most common of the two, tastes like Indian garam masala spiked with bright yellow turmeric. Use it for soups and stews, especially those based on legumes.” – Einat Admony
Serves 8 to 10
1 pound (455 g) dried navy beans
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 ½ pounds (680 g) beef bones
(with a little meat on them)
3 quarts (3 L) plus ½ cup (120 ml) water
1 6-ounce (170 g) can tomato paste
½ bunch fresh cilantro
1 large yellow onion, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
1 whole head garlic, outer papery skin removed
2 teaspoons Soup Hawaij
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
1. Put the beans in a large bowl and add cold water to cover them by 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm). Soak overnight (at least 8 hours, preferably longer). Drain and rinse.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the bones and sear until nicely browned, 6 to 7 minutes.
3. Pour in 3 quarts (3 L) of the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour, periodically skimming off any foam that rises to the top.
4. Whisk together the tomato paste and the remaining ½ cup (120 ml) water to thin it out and add it to the pot. Add the cilantro, onion, garlic head, hawaij, salt, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the beans are soft and the soup is tasty, about 2 hours; if you are in no hurry, let it simmer away over very low heat for up to 4 hours, and it will be even better. Toward the end of cooking, remove the cilantro (it’s fine if some has “escaped” into the soup), taste again, and add more salt if needed. Retrieve the garlic head, squeeze out the softened pulp, and stir into the soup.
5. Serve, or let cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days; reheat before serving. Like all legume soups, it will thicken during storage-add more water to thin it out.
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Combine all the ingredients in a small glass jar, seal, and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.