7 red capsicums
4 onions, divided
2kg meaty beef shin bones
1.5 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika
3 celery stalks
2 bay leaves
3 Tbsp bacon or pork fat, or if not available, 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 medium potatoes
400g tinned tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut the capsicums into large pieces, and discard the seeds. Halve two of the onions (set aside the other two for later), leaving the skin on. Set both aside.
2. Pat the paprika onto the shin bones. Heat one tablespoon of fat or oil in a large heavy pot for which you have a lid on medium heat, and brown the shin bones on all sides (don’t worry if not all of the bone can reach the frying hot pan base, just brown as much as possible). Add the capsicums, onion halves, celery stalks, and bay leaves to the pot, and pour in enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil then simmer on a very low heat, covered, for 16-24 hours.
3. When the stock is ready, skim the fat from the top of the pot. Remove and discard the bones, setting aside any meat you can see on them. Remove the capsicums and puree them, and set the puree aside. Lift out the onion and celery, squeeze their juices back into the pot, and discard the spent vegetables. Remove and discard bay leaf. You will need a heavy pot with a lid for the next step as well, so if needed pour the stock into a jug or bowl and wash out the pot before continuing.
4. Peel and chop the carrots and remaining two onions into dice. Heat the remaining two tablespoons of fat or oil in a large heavy pot for which you have a lid, and sauté the diced vegetables until softened, around 10 minutes on moderate heat. While the vegetables are cooking, dice the potatoes. Add the potatoes, tomatoes and their juices, reserved meat and capsicum puree, and the stock to the pot. Bring to a boil then simmer on a very low heat, covered, for 2-3 hours. During this time, season with salt and pepper to taste, and regularly skim away any impurities that rise to the top.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve immediately.
Soup will keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Recipe from Yael Shochat’s cookbook, Ima Cusine: An Israeli Mothers Kitchen.