Balaboosta Chicken Soup

Jan 22, 2014

Credit Patrick Makhoul/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: My head snapped around at the idea of blending Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. That's what Einat Admony does in her cookbook, Balaboosta. And there is nothing like her "Not So Jewish Chicken Soup," as she calls it. (Admony has a mixed Israeli heritage, Persian and Yemenite.)

Because I'm a believer in layering flavors, especially in soup, I find this recipe both comforting and lip-smacking, mostly because of the presence of white wine, cumin, turmeric, butternut squash and dried chorizo.

Mid-Winter, when I am in need of some powerful flavors, this chicken soup comes to mind, a variation on the quiet chicken soup our parents and grandparents made. Fair warning: some of your relatives might keel over from the presence of chorizo and all those spices. So don't call it soup -- tell them it's an ancient stew recipe. Or Dinner. 

NOTE: I love the Palacios brand of "dried" chorizo, mild flavor, though you could use the hot version. It's beautifully smoked, and available in many markets, or online. 

Balaboosta Chicken Soup


3 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1½ leeks, white parts only, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped celery
¾ cup coarsely chopped dried chorizo
1½ cups finely chopped carrots 
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
1 pound chicken pieces with skin and bone, preferably dark meat
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups water
1½ cups ½-inch cubes butternut squash
2 medium potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes


  1. Heat the canola oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, leeks, celery, and chorizo. Saute for 10 minutes. Add the carrots, bay leaf, thyme, and chicken and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce to ¼ cup, 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric. sautè for 3 minutes and pour in the water. Bring to a boil and add the butternut squash and potatoes. Lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.

Sexy Chimichurri Steak
(Serves 2 with 2 cups sauce)



½ cup fresh cilantro
Leaves from 1 fresh oregano sprig
1 bay leaf
1 large jalapeno chle, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves
¾ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves


One 2-inch-thick bone-in ribeye steak
kosher slat
freshly ground black pepper

For the Chimichurri

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the parsley in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the parsley and pulse until a pestolike consistency is reached. The sauce is best served fresh, but it can be made up to 3 days in advance. If making ahead, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Steak

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Let the steak and chimichurri return to room temperature.
  2. Generously season one side of the steak with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. A really hot pan is the key to this great big steak, so leave the skillet on the stove for about 10 minutes.
  3. Now is the time to open up all your windows, because it's going to get smoky! Place the seasoned side of the steak down on the skillet and sear for 3 minutes. Season the top with salt and pepper, then flip it. Sear for another 2 minutes and place in the oven for 10 minutes for medium-rare. allow the meat to rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes before cutting into it.
  4. Serve the steak with the chimichurri sauce in a small ramekin or add a dollop right on top.

Coconut Milk French Toast


Cream cheese for spreading
Four 1½-inch-thick slices Challah
5 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
⅓ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Powdered sugar
Mixed berries
Maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. While the skillet is heating, spread a layer of cream cheese on 2 slices of bread, then top each one with the other 2 pieces of challah to make a sandwich.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, cream, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and soak the sandwiches in the mixture for about 30 second on each side, allowing them to absorb the custard.
  5. Melt the butter in the hot skillet. Add the sandwiches and cook until golden  brown on each side, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for another 5 minutes.
  6. cut the French toast on the diagonal to make four triangles. Place two pieces on each plate, dust lightly with powdered sugar, and top with a small handful of berries and some sweet, sticky maple syrup.

Recipes from Balaboosta by Einat Admony. Published by Artisan, 2013.

Recommend Wine

Vino z Czech $18
Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Metal Baking Pans

  • Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch
  • USA Pan Rectangular Cake Pan                                                                                                                           Model# 1110RC

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  • Chris Prosperi  is senior contributor and chef/owner of Metro Bis in Simsbury, CT.
  • Franco & Suzette Camacho are the owners and chef of Beach & Barn in Branford, CT.
  • Elinat Admony is author of Balaboosta cookbook  and chef-owner of New York City restaurants BalaboostaTaïm and Bar Bolonat.