Daring Cooks September Challenge: Berlin Noodle Soup with with marrow quenelles & lye rolls

Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook‟s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!

I have made soups and broths (mainly for risottos) before, but they were simple, easy and quick to make. I'm not really fond of soups as a main dish - I don't know why - so I don't cook them very often. The only one I loved to eat was "Buchstabensuppe" (letter noodle soup) made bey my grandaunt who died three years ago. It was a simple dish, with a broth made from sausages (wiener) and small noodles shaped in letters. Her soup was the best noodle soup I can remember - it reminds me so much of my childhood. So I wanted to taste something similar again, and by accident I found a suitable recipe by one of my favourite German chefs, Kolja Kleeberg. It's a recipe that reminds him of his childhood and a typical/traditional dish of Berlin, our beautiful capital. This soup is made with noodles, a broth of veal, cooked veal meat, parsley and little balls made out of beef marrow, bread and eggs (I learned they are called quenelles). As accompaniment I chose a very German bread/pastry too - lye rolls.
Unfortunately my first attempt to make quenelles went completely wrong and they dissolved themselves instead of getting firm. That ist the reason the soup is not as clear as supposed to be. The bread rolls were easy to make, I skipped topping them with coarse salt because I don't like that either.

Berlin Noodle Soup with marrow quenelles
adapted from Kolja Kleeberg
serves four
  • 2 onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 kg breast of veal
  • 1/2 leek
  • one bay leaf
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 100 g beef marrow (from about 500 g marrowbone)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 100 g white bread, crust removed
  • 1/4 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 125g soup noodles
Half the onions and the carrot. Lay with cut side down onto aluminium foil into a pan (so you don't need to clean it afterwards) and roast until golden. Cut the veal breas into large pieces, salt and put into a large pot with 2000 ml cold water. Bring to a boil and skim of the foam. Add roasted vegetables, leek, bay leaf, salt, peppercorns and boil onto low heat for about an hour. Remove vegetables, spices and meat, cut the meat into smaller pieces as desired - I used a cookie cutter for getting an interesting shape.
Remove the marrow from the bone and soak into cold water, flush away any remaining blood. Melt into a small pan slowly (you don't want it to burn), pass through a sieve and let cool. Crumble the bread into small pieces and mix with the marrow, egg yolks, salt, pepper and nutmeg (spice after taste). Make small dumplings and poach into some of the hot broth you made before. Remove with a slotted spoon.

Cook the noodles into a separate pot until done (don't forget the salt). Put them into a bowl together with the parsley, meat and quenelles. Fill with broth and enjoy!

Marrow quenelle

Lye rolls
adapted from "Brot backen leicht gemacht", makes about 10
  • 400 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 60 g fresh yeast
  • 100 g baking soda
  • 125 ml lukewarm water
In a large bowl, blend salt and flour. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar into the water, mix with the flour and knead  until you have a smooth and elastic dough - I had to add some additional water to get the dough to this stage. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, place warm and let rise for about an hour. Knead againg and divide into 10 even pieces. Form rolls. Place on parchment paper, cover with a kitchen towle and let rise again for 15 minutes. 
Meanwhile preheat your oven to 220°C. Dissolve the baking soda into the water and bring to a boil. Dip your rolls into the boiling water using a slotted spoon for 30 seconds (each side). Do not overcrowd your pot ... Place the rolls back on the parchment paper (and the paper on a baking tray of course) and cut the top as you like (crosswise for example, or using a cookie cutter). Bake for 20 minutes until they are dark brown.

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