Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Dutch Classic

It has been raining all weekend. As most parents with small children will experience, I too am extremely prone to all kinds of colds. So when it starts raining, and the children come home with a only a tiny bit of a cold, I immediately start sneezing.

Time for some soup! I know, I should have been making chicken stock... It just is the best when you are having a cold, but this Vegetable Soup with Meatballs is sooo comforting and warming on rainy days.
It takes a while to make, but most of the time is waiting time, so can be spent with (in my case) the children.
In these rainy weekends we spent a lot of time in our big 'living kitchen', working on childrens art projects such as making a house out of cardboard boxes, painting, cutting and pasting images from magazines etcetera.

I find it comforting to hear the delicate bubbling sounds of the soup in process next to the tapping sound of the rain on the roof and the windows. Not too mention smelling the soup, which already warms me without even tasting it.
Probably it is in my genes, as my mother and also my grandmother would allways make their own broths as well. I must have passed the 'love of this soup' genes to my children, because both my children love this soup and are even eating the veggies in it!

Vegetable Soup with Meatballs
A Dutch Classic

Ingredients for 1 pan of soup:
2 marrowbones (1 with and 1 without meat),or more if you like.
1 very small tin of tomatoconcentrate
1 celery
2 big carrots
2 onions
1 leek, green parts
1 hand of parsley

Finishing the soup:
1 leek, white parts
1 spring onion
250g of mushroom
250g of minced meat
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 egg

Put on the oven-grill on highest temperature. Spread a spoon of tomatoconcentrate on the marrowbones and roast them for about 10 minutes in the oven. Put the bones in a pan and fill with cold water. Put it on the stove at a low heat. Chop the celery, 2 onions (washed, but unpeeled), the green part of the leek and 2 1/2 carrot in big chunks and roast for a few minutes in the oven as well, after which you toss them in the pan. Also add some parsely, peppercorns, and of course whatever vegetables/herbs you furthermore like to put in.

Leave it on the low heat for a few hours, preferably the whole day. Strain the soup into another pan, squeezing out as much fluids as you can from the vegetables. Throw away the vegetables from which the soup was maked, but save the meat.
If you want to save the broth for later you could reduce it now untill you only have about a quarter left, cool it and freeze it in small portions ready to use whenever you need a broth as a basis for soups or sauces.

If you are ready to make the soup, you'll go on by pulling the meat in small pieces and add it to the strained soup. Season with salt & pepper.

Finely chop an onion and the clove of garlic and put in a bowl together with the minced meat, egg, breadcrumbs salt & pepper. Make a lot of small balls from the meatmixture.
Finely chop the white of the leek, the remaing 1/2 carrot and the spring onion. Roughly chop the mushrooms.

Add mushrooms, meatballs and vermicelli to the soup and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the vegetables 2-3 more minutes.
Taste and season some more if you like. Put in bowls and dress up with a little fresh parsley if you like.

Score: 5 out of 5, but only if you take enough time to let it simmer!
Tip: Make a large pan full of the broth, reduce half of it and freeze it in small portions (icecubebags are perfect) use the other half to make the soup. You can throw in just about any vegetable you like a few minutes before serving. A mix with small pieces of cauliflower, leek and carrots is a popular choice in the Netherlands. And don't forget the meatballs, without these it wouldn't be a Dutch Classic!
Time: to make it perfect, you'll need at least one day.
Amount of work vs waiting: Low.
About 30 minutes to start it up if you roast your meat and veggies, which I would recommend. But you could also make a lazy version by just putting all ingredients in the pan, fill it up with water and be ready to let it simmer within 5 minutes.
Finishing the soup will take about 30 minutes, making the meatballs and chopping the veggies.
Ideal for: Simple family dinner, Autumn, Winter

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