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December 9, 2012 / Rabbi Laura

Chanukah Soup & Stories

As the first day of Chanukah is about to close, and the second night about to begin, I have been thinking about some of my favorite Chanukah traditions that I want to make sure not to miss this year. Besides frying up latkes for my family, bringing out all of our chanukiot and dreidels – of which there are many, I have two other favorites.

1. Mushroom Barley Soup

It has somehow become a tradition in our family to have Aunt Beverly’s Mushroom Barley soup with latkes and during the week of Chanukah.  It is the perfect counter-balance to the latkes.  Today would not have been complete with out me cooking up a batch. It’s on the stove right now. mushroom barley soup

Of course you will want the recipe, so here it is.

1 tsp oil

6 stalks celery

2 carrots

1 medium onion

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 or 3 cloves garlic

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp dill

3/4 cup pearl barley

2 lbs mushrooms, sliced (we like to do a combination of white, crimini, shitake, or whatever you like)

Chop celery, carrots, onion and garlic. Saute in oil 7-8 minutes if desired or just add to liquid. Add liquid, dill, salt and pepper and barley. Cook on low heat for one hour. Add sliced mushrooms and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Of course it is always even better the next day!

2. Listening to Chanukah stories on NPR

Every year Susan Stamberg pulls together a couple of short stories for Hanukkah Lightsistock_000022269197xsmall


The stories are always sweet and touching. Stamberg does a wonderful job telling them, with her Jewish mother/Yiddish intonations and inflections.  Stories are often about Jewish pride, the strength of family, the messages of Chanukah, and of course Jewish food.  They create that quintessential “stay in the car to hear the end of the story” NPR moment. Well worth an hour of listening time! My Chanukah would be unfulfilled if I missed hearing them. Thankfully, we can listen to them online too!

Happy Chanukah to everyone!






One Comment

  1. Beverly Cohen / Dec 9 2012 7:28 pm

    Love that my soup has become a tradition.
    We had chicken soup and Karen and I made kreplach for the first time. They were good. And the latkes were also good
    Happy Chanukah to all of you. Love you

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