Friday, December 10, 2010

Mawdash Soup

     My Maternal Grandmother was from Europe. Susanna Elizabeth came over in her teens after her family’s lands were seized in the Crimean War. They had to start again in America. It was a bit of a shock to her Catholic family that she would fall in love with Joseph. He was a Protestant and a Butcher. Their love flourished, though, and they married and had nine children. Tragically, her first son died when he was seven and her first daughter when she was only months old. Life was so much harder then. When I was a child, I could not imagine what my Grandma and Grandpa suffered, but now as a mother of ten, my heart breaks. Though some cannot understand loving so many children, it is so easy. One child of ten is loved as much as an only child or a child of two or three. My mother was the second youngest of the seven who lived. Grandpa made a good living as a Butcher during the Depression and the children were well fed and very, very loved. 

     Grandma baked bread every few days. She cooked wonderful German and Hungarian meals. Very little was written down. When she would teach us, it was all by memory. Sometimes I would try to write things down, but her measurements were in “teacupfuls’ and ‘soupspoonfuls,“ balls the size of “walnuts,” and the like. We had many favorites. I recently made the recipe I’ll share here. My brothers and some friends asked for the recipe, so here it is. I never wrote it down, so bear with me about measurements and descriptions. Soup is very forgiving and is one of my favorite things to make. Go ahead and adapt it to your own liking. You can even leave out the beef dumplings...but then, it won’t be Grandma’s wonderful “Mawdash” Soup!

“Mawdash” Soup
Austro-Hungarian Beef Soup with Beef Dumplings

Serves 6-8
2 lb. boneless roast, nothing too expensive or fatty
3 Tb. oil (I use canola or olive)
2 onions, chopped coarsely
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
1 ½ to 2 lb bag frozen mixed vegetables (use what you like)
1 lg. can diced tomatoes
1 lb. ground beef
2 c. all purpose flour
3 eggs
2 slices white bread
Salt and pepper
2-4 beef bouillon cubes, optional

Cut beef into bite-sized cubes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 3 Tb. oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven on med-high and brown the beef on all sides. Turn off heat. Add the chopped onions and can of tomatoes, juice and all. Add about 2 quarts of water. Bring to just a boil over med-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer two hours. Stir occasionally to prevent burning, and skim any fat that comes to the top.

While the soup is simmering, prepare the dumplings. Mix the ground beef in a bowl with about a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Add one egg and the sliced bread which has been moistened with a little water, and torn into small pieces. Mix well and make into mini-hamburgers, about the size of flattened golf balls.

Prepare the dumpling dough: In a medium bowl, put the flour and a teaspoon of salt. Mix, and make a well in the center, sort of like a volcano. Crack the 2 eggs into the well and add about ¼ cup of water. With a fork, beat the eggs and water (imagining that the flour is the bowl). When the eggs are well broken up, start to make your stirring strokes a little wider and wider, gradually incorporating the flour into the eggs. Add small amounts of water to keep the dough from becoming too stiff. This dough will start out sticky and wet and will look like it is almost stringy and clinging to the bowl. Beat hard. This stretches the gluten in the flour. Finally, add a bit more flour until the dough is a consistency that could be rolled out. It will pull away now from the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest about 5 minutes. The gluten in the flour will relax and it will roll better. Sprinkle some flour liberally on the counter or flat surface and your rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8” thick. Let rest again for a minute. Roll a final once over, then cut with a knife or pizza cutter into about 3” squares. Place a flattened beef ball on the center of each square. Pull the corners of the dough up and over the beef, pressing at the center and sides to seal the beef within the dough. Set dumplings aside.

After the broth has simmered 2 hours, taste it. If there is not enough beef flavor, I add 2-4 cubes of beef bouillon. If it is beefy but needs salt, I add that. If you have some favorite herbs or garlic, you could add them to taste. Increase the heat and bring the soup to a gentle boil. Add the carrots and the frozen vegetables. After the boil returns, adjust the heat so that it boils only very gently for about 15 minutes, until carrots are beginning to get tender. Now increase the heat a bit more. Carefully add all of the dumplings. When the boiling returns watch to keep it just barely boiling. The dumplings are finished when they float a little higher in the soup and you cut into one and the meat is well-done.

The soup is ready to eat! Be sure each person gets a dumpling. Complete the meal with a crusty loaf of bread. It really is delicious! Tante Klein’s White Bread recipe next time! Prost!!

God Bless you all,

P.S. I have no idea what "Mawdash" means. Maybe it's the name for the dumplings?

The Abbey Farm

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