Monday, November 22, 2010

Vegetable Soup with Rivels

One of the things I love most about vegetable soup are the endless possibilities--from your broth base to add-ins the choice is up to you! I remember the first time I made this soup, I was looking at my grandmother's recipe and thought, eeew, gross peas. Then it dawned on me that this was my soup and it was going to be pea free!

As for rivels, if you're not familiar with these simple drop dumplings, you have been deprived. My little brother even went through a phase ('til he was at least 18), where he would only eat "rivel soup"--no beans, no veggies, no nothing. From the info I've gathered over the years, rivels are German in origin and a popular addition to soups in the Amish and Mennonite communities. Regardless, rivels are very easy to make and are fantastic in most soups.

Here is the basic recipe I use for vegetable soup, but feel free to use whatever veggies you like. You can also add as much of the vegetables as you'd like.I recommend using as many fresh, organic veggies as possible, but I used frozen corn and okra, since it's November :) For this batch I used a happy* piece of beef from Tudor Hall Farm, but this soup also works with a vegetable or chicken base.

Beef Broth
Place a small chuck roast in your favorite soup pot, fill approximately halfway with water. Add salt, pepper, and any other spices (I used sprigs of rosemary, sage, and thyme tied together with a piece of cotton thread). Cook on medium-high heat until meat is thoroughly cooked and starting to fall apart. Remove herb bunch and meat from pot, let cool, and separate the meat into small pieces to be added back to the soup later.

Veggie Soup
3-5 Quarts Broth (add water as needed/desired)
1 Large Can - Crushed Tomatoes
1 Onion
6 Potatoes
3 Stalks Celery
3 Carrots
3 Zucchinis
1 Small Head of Cabbage
1 Bag Frozen Corn
1/2 Bag of Frozen Okra
3 Tbsp - Dried Parsley

Bring broth to a slow boil, add chopped vegetables and any reserved meat to broth and continue to cook on medium 'til vegetables are thoroughly cooked: 20-30 minutes. Now it's time to make and add the rivels! You can make as many or as few rivels as you want--just vary the proportions--but since my family LOVES rivels, we made a 6-egg batch for a large stock pot of soup.

6 - Eggs
3 - Cups Flour (any kind will work, I used whole wheat)
1 Tbsp - Salt

Beat eggs in medium bowl, add salt, and work the flour into the eggs using a fork. Dough should be just slightly sticky, so you may need to add more flour depending on the size of the eggs used. Bring soup to a rolling boil and using a fork or your fingers (my mother prefers the hands on approach as shown) crumble nickel size pieces of rivel dough into the soup. Continue to boil for about 15 minutes or until the rivels are cooked through.

*I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but when I do eat meat I eat what I jokingly call "happy meat." The only meat I eat is purchased from local farms so I know exactly how it was raised, what it was fed, etc.

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