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Typical German beef soup with bone marrow dumplings, vegetables, noodles and egg custard, so comforting and delicious.
This must be the first really German food I had when coming to Germany. It is my mother-in-law’s signature dish, I could almost say. She makes it often and always in huge pots, so that she can always bring a large pot for us and a smaller pot for my brother-in-law. It is something we mostly have during the colder times of the year, those are the times when you don’t mind a pot of bone broth simmering for hours and hours in the kitchen and when you feel like taking more time to prepare such extra things like bone marrow dumplings and egg custard squares.
The base to make this soup is my beloved bone broth, which is something I have been making on repeat since discovering the broth not so long ago. You can use the homemade version, if you have the time and desire to make it or you could use the Kettle and Fire’s Beef Bone Broth, which is an organic beef broth made from grass-feed bones and other organic ingredients, giving it a texture and flavor superior to other similar products. You can also buy this product on Kettle and Fire’s website and if you use the promocode MYSPOON15, you’ll get 15% off your first order.
If you would like to know more about bone broth and its benefits on health, have a look at this article: The Ultimate Guide to Bone Broth.
A few words about the egg custard thingies, I am not sure if that is the right name I should give them in English. I had to google for a translation and I found some names like egg custard, egg garnish or custard royal. I have never heard any of these terms in English before, so I am really not sure how to call them. To make you understand better: the eggs are beaten, spiced and poured in a freezer bag. Then you have to cook this freezer bag until the egg set in a whitish, spicy mass, which can be cut into small squares and enjoyed in the soup. I suppose it is something very German as I have never seen something similar in any other international cook book I own (and I do own lots of them). The eggs are so easy to make and delicious, they are really worth it taking the time and making them, they are really a wonderful garnish not only for this particular soup, but for other kind of soups as well.
I often make this soup when cooking fresh bone broth. To make the broth I always use some marrowbones. Before I give the bones to the soup I scratch out the marrow, about 100 g/ 3.5 oz of it and use that to make the dumplings for the soup. However, if you cannot find marrow bones, you could replace the marrow with the same amount of butter. The dumplings will taste a bit different, but you will still like them. If I know I want to make this soup when making the bone broth, I also add a larger piece of beef boiling meat to the soup, which I remove from the broth after several hours (before the bone broth is finished cooking), when the meat is really soft. Decide yourself when the meat is cooked to your liking, I like mine when almost falling off the bone.
My mother-in-law uses Maggi sauce to give the soup its typical dark color and a bit of spiciness. All German people know what that is, but I am not sure how known that is outside Germany. Because I do not like Maggi and I never use it in anything I make, I replace that with some soy sauce. It is very unorthodox (my mother-in-law would think I am crazy for using it), but I think soy sauce not only gives the soup the expected darker color but also adds some more saltiness and flavor to the soup. And I am so much more comfortable with using soy sauce in my cooking than anything else. It has less additives and it tastes better.
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- For the soup:
- 2,5 liters/ 10.5 cups beef bone broth
- 1 piece of cooked beef boiling meat from making the bone broth, about 300-400 g/ 10.5-14 oz (see note 1)
- 1 thin leek
- 2 medium carrots
- 2-3 celery stalks
- 1 small handful tiny shaped noodles
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamico or more to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or more to taste
- salt and pepper
- fresh parsley or/and chives to garnish
- For the egg custard:
- 4 eggs
- 120 ml/ ½ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- a pinch of nutmeg
- For the bone marrow dumplings:
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz bone marrow from about 4-5 small bones (see note 2)
- 80 g/ 2.8 oz dry breadcrumbs
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- some nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 2 eggs
- As your bone broth should be already cooked or bought by now, start by making the dumplings and the egg custard.
- To make the egg custard, mix the eggs, milk, salt and nutmeg very well. Pour the mixture in a freezer bag, knot the bag very tightly. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, lower the heat, place the bag with the eggs in the pot and simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, turning the bag a few times in between, until the eggs are completely set. Take out of the water, let cool for a while, remove the bag, slice the eggs thickly, then chop them into small squares or diamonds. Add to the soup during the last cooking minutes.
- To make the dumplings, weigh the marrow. If you don't have quite 100 g/ 3.5 oz replace the missing quantity with some butter. You could only use butter if you don't have the marrow. It is not the same dumpling, but it tastes good. Place the marrow in a small pan and heat gently, stirring often, until the marrow is melted. Sieve the liquid through a fine meshed sieve into a medium bowl. Add the dry breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, chopped parsley and eggs and mix very well together. Form lots of small balls and cook them in the slightly simmering broth for about 10-15 or until they start to float in the soup.
- While you make and form the dumplings, heat the bone broth. Finely chop the vegetables and the meat, keeping them separated. Add the veggies to the soup and cook them for about 5 to 10 minutes until they are half cooked. Add the dumplings and simmer as indicated above, that is for about 10 to 15 minutes or until they start to float in the soup. Add the chopped meat as well.
- Check the noodle's cooking time and add them to the soup again while the dumplings are simmering. The noodles I use are tiny and only need 4 or 5 minutes, so I add them about 4 minutes before the dumplings are done. Add the egg custard squares during the last 2 minutes of the cooking time, so that they can get hot again.
- To finish the soup, adjust the taste with salt, pepper, soy sauce and red wine vinegar or balsamico to taste. I like a slightly sour and salty taste, so I might add even more than 2 tablespoons vinegar and soy sauce. Start with a little and keep tasting until you get the desired taste. Sprinkle with parsley and/or chives and serve.
Note 2:To make the broth I always use some marrowbones. Before I give the bones to the soup I scratch out the marrow, about 100 g/ 3.5 oz of it and use that to make the dumplings for the soup. However, if you cannot find marrow bones, you could replace the marrow with the same amount of butter. The dumplings will taste a bit different, but you will still like them.
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