Friday, January 06, 2006

Groentesoep met balletjes / Vegetable soup with meat balls

This is the soup I made on New Years Eve, and I think it is the heritage soup we all make, at least here in the Netherlands it's the soup that comes with the package of being Dutch. I think. The recipe will easily double, or triple and when unexpected company is showing up at your doorstep, there will always be plenty of soup from this pot. My great grandmother used to make her vegetable soup and is reputed to always have soup for everyone. She simply went back into the kitchen, filled the pot with more water and chucked in another beef broth cube. It is a story that comes with this soup in our family. "Do you have enough soup? Sure, you know I always have."
But now, the recipe.....that's a tough one. You see, I make this soup with whatever I have in the pantry, fresh vegetables or freezed. And I make it looking at the pan every once in a while, my mind wandering off, my ears with the children..well you know the drill, not a real recipe. But since Lindy in the USA posted about tomatensoep I figured I could at least try.

( print recipe)

500 gr beef shank
200 gr marrow bone
1 onion, stick 2 cloves in the onion as to retrieve them easily afterwards
1 leek with green sliced in 5 cm pieces
10 parsley stems (save the leaf for use in final soup)
handfull of celery (not the stalk nor the root veg. but the green on top which is sold separately in Holland)
1-2 bay leaves
1 piece of mace (size of a dime)

In a large soup pot add the meats to 1-2 liters cold water. Add a little salt and bring slowly to a boil, don't cover the pot! Skim the surface with a skimmer to get rid of the foam. This helps to get a real clear broth.

Once the liguid has come to a boil, add the rest of the above mentioned ingredients. Now cover the pot and leave on the lowest heat your stove can manage. You will want to see a faint ripple of the liquid, no bubbles or rolling boil. Leave to simmer for at least 4 hours. Put through a mesh sieve and pick the meat from the bones (either add the bone marrow or throw out). Return the meat to the pot, bring to a soft boil and add the:

50 gr carrot
50 gr courgette
1 celery stalk
50 gr red bell pepper
50 gr cauliflower
50 gr leek (only white and light green parts)
25 gr fennel
3 tbs parsley
50 gr green beans
3 tbs celery leafs
50 gr broccoli
50 gr vermicelli/angel hair pasta

100 gr ground beef, seasoned with 1 tbs very fine dry bread crumbs, 2 ts milk, pepper, salt and nutmeg to taste. Mix and knead, shape into hazelnut sized balls.

These quantities are just a guideline, you can add or leave out any one of these to taste, although in a real old-fashioned Dutch vegetable soup you'll find these components. Cut all veggies in equal sized pieces, add together with the meatballs to the broth in the pan and cook for another 20 minutes. Taste and season accordingly, adding salt and pepper and maybe some "maggi".



  1. This looks really good. Are the meatballs all meat with seasonings, or are there eggs, and/or bread in them too?

  2. These are actually all meat, half beef and half sausage, seasoned with p&s, and some italian herbs as well.

  3. Did you ever post a recipe for this? I didn't see one.

    I've been wanting to make this for a while now. My mother-in-law said the one her family makes comes from a premade mix, but it sounds like you make it without one?

  4. Ingredients

    Garden peas
    Equal amount of beef and pork mince (1/2 lb)
    Sprinkle of nutmeg
    2 Sliced of bread
    Milk for soaking bread
    1 egg

    The amounts of vegetables don’t really matter – you just put in as much as you like – seems to work out ok regardless.


    1. Fry vegetables in butter
    2. Cover with water and stock (vegetable or beef)
    3. Put vegetables into soup
    4. Soak two slices of bread in milk and an egg
    5. Bind mince and bread together and add nutmeg
    6. Make into balls and drop into soup
    7. Cook until ready

    Serve and add magi to taste


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