From Our Mail Bag: A Reader Request
An alert reader has written to say: "Dear Soup lady, Winter's coming! Gotta put out a recipe for bavarian liver (meatball) soup!" Well, the Soup Lady doesn't know anything about Bavaria, but she does know Mig, the genial host of Lost In Transit. As a former Seattle resident now living in Vienna, he knows a thing or two about soup weather.
Lost In Transit is a group weblog by expatriates and emigrants around the world, writing about their experiences. Web User Magazine says: "More informative than a dozen Michael Palin travelogues, Lost In Transit is a top destination." The Soup Lady heartily agrees with that - it's the first place I went to get this authentic Austrain recipe for Leberknoedelsuppe. Sure, you can do internet searches to get a list of ingredients and instructions, but where else can you get an Aunt Mitzi?
Dear Soup Lady,
My mother-in-law is an expert soup cook. She does not make liver-
dumpling soup because chopping/grinding the liver makes more mess than she likes. Her best friend Mitzi, however, does make a good liver dumpling soup, so I asked her for a recipe. She cooks by heart now, rarely using recipes, but she agreed to write one down for the Soup Lady. This soup is generally served as a first course.
200 grams pork liver (roughly, 1/2 pound)
60 grams margarine (2 oz.)
3 dinner rolls, softened in milk
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove
salt, pepper, marjoram
1. Heat half the margarine in a pan, sautee the onion and garlic
2. Beat the rest of the margarine with salt, spices and eggs until it
is foamy. Soak the rolls in milk first to soften them, press out the milk and rip into small pieces. Mix with the ground/chopped liver, parsley, bread crumbs, onion and garlic and sautee for about 15 minutes.
3. Form dumplings. Place into soup at a low boil and simmer on a low
flame for 15 minutes.
[note: Aunt Mitzi didn't mention this in her recipe, but the dumplings
are formed by hand into small spheres about the size of golfballs; the
soup is normally a clear broth, usually a beef broth. ]
Mit freundlichen Gruessen,
Dumpling tips from the Austrian Press & Information Service:
"A few tips may be helpful, particularly for less experienced dumpling makers who are exhorted not to give up at the first miscooked, collapsed dumpling. "
- Dough made of bread, the crumbs of bread rolls, semolina, must be allowed to "rest" for a while in order to absorb moisture.
- Dumplings as garnish in soup, meat and liver dumplings, bread dumplings should be rounded with wet hands.
- It is advisable to cook one dumpling first as a trial. If the inside is "dry," i is a success; if it is too solid, add liquid (soup, milk, water); if it tends to fall apart, perhaps bind with egg and/or flour.
- Leave the saucepan in which you boil dumplings half uncovered: only yeast dumplings should be cooked with the saucepan lid wholly on.
- Drain the dumplings carefully and serve in a warm dish. If dumplings are to be kept warm and you do not have a steamer, put them in a colander on top of a saucepan of hot water.
- Practice makes perfect.