German beef soup or Rindfleischsuppe with bone marrow dumplings, vegetables, noodles, and egg custard, so comforting and so delicious.
This German beef soup with dumplings and egg custard must be the first real 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 on the stove and when you feel like taking more time to prepare such extra things like bone marrow dumplings and egg custard squares.
Ingredients and method
Marrow bones and dumplings:
- I often make this recipe when cooking fresh beef bone broth.
- To make the broth I always use some marrow bones.
- Before I add 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 can 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 2 hours (before the bone broth is finished cooking), when the meat is really soft.
- The German egg custard for soups (Eierstich) are actually beaten eggs, spiced with salt and nutmeg, which are cooked in a freezer bag.
- Once cooked the eggs are cut into squares and added to the soup.
- My mother-in-law uses Maggi sauce to give the dish 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 don’t want to buy a bottle of Maggi just for one dish, I replace it 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.
The German beef soup is not difficult to make, but there are a few very different steps involved.
- Step 1: Make the broth.
- Step 2: Make the egg custard. You can make the custard in advance and keep it refrigerated in an airtight container. Only add to the pot at the end of the cooking process.
- Step 3: Make the marrow dumplings. This kind of dumplings are traditional for this soup, but if you cannot find marrow bones, you can still make delicious dumplings using butter. The procedure is the same.
- Step 4: Cook the chopped vegetables in the broth until slightly softer, about 5 minutes.
- Step 5: Add the dumplings and cook for 10-15 minutes or until they float in the pot.
- Step 6: Add the noodles. Check the noodle’s cooking time and add them while the dumplings are simmering.
- Step 7: Add the cooked chopped meat as well.
- Step 8: Add the egg custard squares during the last 2 minutes of the cooking time, so that they can get hot again.
- Step 9: Adjust the taste with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and vinegar. Start with a little and keep tasting until you get the desired taste. Sprinkle with parsley and/or chives and serve.
- Beef broth doesn’t have the intense flavor of beef bone broth, which is cooked for a whole day.
- To increase the flavor, I recommend adding a few good quality, low-sodium beef broth cubes.
- Use them to taste and adjust the taste with salt accordingly.
More traditional German soups:
German Beef Soup with Dumplings
- Beef broth Note 1:
- 12 cups water
- 1 piece of beef boiling meat about 300-400 g/ 10.5-14 oz
- 1 thin leek
- 2 medium carrots
- 2-3 celery stalks
- 10 black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 allspice berries
- 5 juniper berries
- 4 cloves
- some salt
- Egg custard:
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- a pinch of nutmeg
- Marrow dumplings Note 2:
- 3.5 oz bone marrow from about 4-5 small bones
- 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- some nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 2 eggs
- a few cubes good quality low-sodium beef broth cubes (Note 3)
- 1 medium leek
- 2 carrots
- 1 small handful of tiny shaped noodles
- 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic or more to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or more to taste
- fine sea salt and pepper
- fresh parsley or/and chives to garnish
- Remove the marrow from the bones. You can do that by scratching inside the bone with a long thin knife (not your best knife) or object. Then, place the marrow in an airtight container and refrigerate it until needed.
- Broth: Place the beef and all the bones in a large pot. Add the roughly chopped vegetables. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Strain the broth into a clean pot and discard the bones and the cooked vegetables. Add some salt.
- Chop meat: Once cool enough to handle, chop the meat into small pieces and set aside.
- Mix the eggs, milk, salt, and nutmeg very well. Pour the mixture into a freezer bag, knot the bag very tightly.
- Cook custard: Fill a wider pot with water. Bring 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 (use tongs) until the eggs are completely set.
- Slice custard: Remove from 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.
- Weigh the marrow. If you don't have 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.
- Melt marrow: Place the marrow in a small, preferably nonstick saucepan and heat gently, often stirring, until the marrow is melted. Sieve the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve into a medium bowl.
- Combine: 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.
German beef soup:
- Reheat broth: While you make and form the dumplings, reheat the broth. If using beef broth and not beef bone broth (which has more flavor), add some beef cubes to the soup as well (to taste), they will increase the flavor.
- Cook: Finely chop the fresh carrots and leek. Add to the soup and cook for about 5 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.
- Cook noodles: Check the noodle's cooking time and add them to the soup 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: Next, add the chopped cooked meat together with the noodles to be reheated as well. Finally, add the egg custard squares during the last 2 minutes of the cooking time to get hot again.
- Adjust taste: To finish the soup, adjust the taste with salt, pepper, soy sauce, and red wine vinegar or balsamic. I like a slightly sour and salty taste, so that I might add even more than 2 tablespoons vinegar and soy sauce. Start with a little and keep tasting until you get the desired flavor. Sprinkle with parsley and/or chives and serve.
- You can use homemade beef broth or bone broth made in advance. Or very good quality bought beef bone broth. In this case, skip the broth-making step. You will not have any meat in the soup, though, so making the soup from scratch is preferable.
- The marrow can be replaced with the same amount of unsalted butter.
- Beef broth doesn't have the intense flavor of beef bone broth, which is cooked for a whole day.
To increase the flavor, I recommend adding a few good quality, low-sodium beef broth cubes. Use them to taste and adjust the taste with salt accordingly.