Served following religious confirmations...
This soup is traditionally served following religious confirmation ceremonies for young teenagers in the spring but is popular for many other special occasions as well.
Imagine a soup plate filled with a pure, clear beef broth, filled with buttery dumplings and tiny meatballs, accented by bits of carrots and sweet baby peas.
- Note: This recipe may look complicated to make just by glancing at it, but in fact it isn't - just make the dumplings and meatballs a bit in advance, then it's a snap to assemble at the last minute!
Step 1: Make the Meatballs
1/2 pound pork filet, trimmed of fat and frozen (other meats are also fine)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3 Tablespoons flour
3 Tablespoons milk
1 egg white, lightly beaten (save the yolk for the dumplings)
Grind the meat in the food processor until finely cut. Dump into a bowl, stir in the onions, and season with salt, pepper, and allspice. In a small cup, beat the flour and milk together, then stir into the meat. Finally, mix in the egg white. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to cook the meatballs, bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Season liberally with salt. With a small teaspoon, shape and drop 40 small ground meatballs into the boiling water and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Strain out with a perforated spoon, let drain until dry from a sieve. If you aren't going to assemble immediately, store in the refrigerator--but take them out in time to bring to room temperature for the final assembly (or be prepared to gently nuke them in the microwave).
Step 2: Make the Dumplings
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 eggs plus the leftover egg yolk
In a small saucepan, bring the butter, water, and salt to a boil. Dump in the flour all and once and stir hard with a wooden spoon, until the mass is smooth and forms a ball that peels off the sides of the pot. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Start 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot and season well with salt.
After the dumpling dough is cooled, beat in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, until the dough is satiny. Then, when the water is at a medium boil, use two small spoons to make and drop 40 dumplings into the water. When you have finished and the water begins to boil up, pour 1/4 cup cold water into the pot to stop the boiling. When it comes to a strong boil again, pour in another bit of cold water. And, again, for the third time pour in cold water when it returns to strong boil. At this point, the dumplings should be firm and completely cooked. Lift out of the water and allow to drain in a sieve. If you aren't going to assemble immediately, drain them completely, then store in the refrigerator--but take them out in time to bring to room temperature for the final assembly (or be prepared to gently nuke them in the microwave).
Step 3: Make the Broth and Assemble the Soup
8 cups excellent beef stock
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces (about the size of the baby peas)
1/2 cup baby peas
Garnish: chopped fresh chervil (or tarragon or parsley, if chervil is not available)
When getting close to final assembly, make sure the dumplings and meatballs are out of the refrigerator and getting close to room temperature. Bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan and stir in the carrots. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the baby peas. Cook for 5 more minutes.
Set out the soup bowls and arrange 5 meatballs and 5 dumplings in each one. When the broth is ready, ladle over each of the bowls and top each with chopped chervil. Serve immediately.
Recipe makes 8 servings.
This recipe is adapted from Beatrice Ojakangas' Scandanavian Feasts.