Chicken soup with german butter balls
This chicken soup recipe came to us from a member of HD’s extended blended family. Always a treat at their Christmas celebration, we have stolen some of the tradition and always serve it on New Years. German in origin, the similar recipes I have found on-line also give credit to Russia for this delightful, hearty and spicy soup. If you like Swedish meatballs, you will enjoy this. Hint, Hint, allspice is the seasoning that lends a different flavor to the soup. Prepared in several stages, the work can be spread over several days and is great for distracted busy cooks. You will be making a spicy broth, homemade noodles and the butter balls. This soup gains flavor and thickness after each reheating. Noodles or bread balls not to your liking? Just leave them out and make chicken soup with the allspice, you can mix and match and still have a great meal.
I’ll give this recipe as it was given to me, and I put my notes in italics. Use your own method of making the chicken broth. I never have used the easy way, but I have tasted the soup made with commercial broth and it is good too.
CHICKEN SOUP WITH BUDDA KLAS (sp) serves 12.
4 – 49 1/2 oz cans Chicken Broth
2 – lg cans of chicken meat
2 – tsp. ground allspice
Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 1 hour. Refrigerate for 1 day.
Make your broth from scratch. Pick meat from bones, return meat to broth and cook with whole allspice in a tea strainer (or 2 tsp ground allspice). Simmer for 1 hour. Refrigerate for 1 day.
NOODLES: Make 3 batches for soup, do not triple recipe.
1 beaten egg
1/2 t salt
1 T milk, cream or half & half
1 cup flour
Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Mixture will be fairly stiff. Add small amount of milk if too dry.
Roll on floured board to 1/16″ thickness (thinness?). Cut noodles in desired shape. I usually cut 3/8″ strips and then cut the strips in 3 inch lengths. These will swell when cooked, so don’t cut them too large. Let noodles dry at least 2 hours. (I never dry these noodles ) The longer they dry the more tender they will be . These can be made several days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. My note: I have never found the noodles more tender with a longer drying period. I use this part of the recipe for noodles all the time. In 5 minutes you have noodles, that is good fast food from scratch! No need to use the store bought stuff or get all elaborate making pasta. ;) These work great for lasagna too, just cut the noodles larger.
6 cups bread crumbs
2 T allspice
1 Lg can evaporated milk, heated to just hot. ( I use a pint of whole milk)
2 cubes room temperature butter (1 cup for you Canadians ;) )
Mix allspice with bread crumbs, add hot milk and mix well. Add butter, and work in. Add one egg at a time and mix well. Roll into walnut size balls. To test butter balls, cook a few in some simmering broth or water. You want them to retain their shape. If they fall apart, add more milk, until you have a ball that will withstand cooking.
These can be made ahead too, and refrigerated or frozen.
Heat broth to boiling, add noodles and simmer 10 minutes. Add Butter Balls and simmer 10 minutes. Serve. The soup starts out thin, but will thicken as the day progresses. This is even better the second day. :)
Bread crumbs for bread balls with allspice. Mix well.
I keep a gallon jar of dried bread cubes from our own bread on hand. Bread cubes and crumbs from the store contain preservatives, soy lecithin*, and will get rancid (if they aren’t already when you buy them) and you don’t really know what kind of oil or fat was used in the original bread baking. I go months without using bread crumbs in cooking and I have never had the our dried bread go rancid, even at room temperature. I guess the preservatives aren’t really needed.
Add milk, mix and then add softened butter. Mix well and add eggs, one at a time.
This is hands on, a good place to enlist the kids who like to get their hands dirty.
Have a small pan of simmering broth or even water to test the butter balls. This is to make sure they hold up.
Have you ever heard of people leaving out an ingredient when they give someone a recipe? Well, the first copy of this soup recipe I received left out one teeny, tiny little thing. This soup was always so tasty, and HD thought I should fix it for his Mom and her umpteenth husband one year for Christmas Dinner. The recipe came from his Dad’s new wife’s family, so we figured it would be something his mom hadn’t had before ;) So the soup odyssey started 3 days before Christmas, and to make a long, embarrassing story short, THE night at dinner when we uncovered the soup pot, the bread balls had dissolved into a sickening looking porridge. I read a lot of Gothic romances as a teen and it looked exactly like the swill the kitchen help got to eat! I think my MIL read the same books, because that is exactly what she exclaimed when she saw the pan of slopssoup. :O It really reminded me of the “hamburger” gravy that we ate for hot lunch at school. It was really TVP and it never really quite looked like ground beef. But anyway, the magic ingredient? Eggs, they help bind the bread balls together during the cooking. Without the eggs, they will hold together for the testing, but the actual cooking and then staying in the broth is a disaster. Of course, I got a new amended recipe, with a note saying: If I follow the recipe, I NEVER have any problems. Oh well. It still tasted good, just a little thick… .
After you are satisfied with the bread balls, form into balls and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.
Noodle dough – this is a stiff dough and a little hard to mix, but hang in there and try not to add too much more milk. This isn’t like pie dough, you can’t over mix it.
Making your own noodles is easy, and all it takes is a few lessons in industrial food production to turn your stomach for the stuff at the store. Large batches of noodle dough would lend themselves to using up floor sweepings if you know what I mean. That plant manager using cost cutting and frugal measures, shouldn’t be compared with the frugal home cook, that can provide fresh, home made food stuffs in the home kitchen.
Roll out on floured board to desired thickness. This is one recipe.
Cut to desired width. These will swell during the cooking, so size is a matter of personal preference. Did I mention I use this for lasagna noodles too? This batch will make enough lasagna noodles for a 9 x 13 pan of lasagna. Just cut them wider. No need to dry either. Just make the noodles and use them.
Cut crosswise in desired lengths. If company is coming I don’t put in the odd shaped pieces from the edge. These noodles keep in the refrigerator for several days, so I just plan a meal with noodles to use up the leftovers.
Bring broth to a boil, add noodles and simmer for 10 minutes.
After the noodles have cooked, add the bread balls and simmer for 10 minutes. Let soup cool a little before serving.
The oddest thing about the soup is the taupe color, which is from the ground allspice, but it believe me it does not affect the taste!!!
* peruse Nourishing Traditions for information about soy lecithin, it is used extensively as a dough conditioner in bakery breads. It makes the store bread soft, but the manufacturing of this product is also an eye opener.