I have a love-hate relationship with this time of the year. The leaves are turning golden and have started falling in the streets, the air is cooler and calls for pulling out those woolly scarves, the days are getting shorter and this rain that seems to be drizzling for weeks is driving me batty. One of the good things about this time of the year is that comfort food is gradually making its way onto the dinner table.
My recent cravings for anything to do with dumplings has brought me to a recipe I found online. This delicious soup comes from Finland’s western country and actually reminds me of a soup my mother made us when we were kids. I’m far from being Finnish, however. My parents are Croatian and the soup Mum used to make (and maybe still does) was chicken-based, unlike this one. The thin, clean and beautifully flavoured broth is the most perfect bath for these soft and creamy potato dumplings.
The recipe I’ve provided here is one I’ve changed from the traditional. To pump up the beef flavour I’ve roasted the bones until brown rather than just plonking them into the water before boiling. Adding whole garlic cloves as well as a few bits of the vegetables to the roasting bones richens the flavour. I’ve also used fresh marjoram, rather than dried. I hope I haven’t offended any Finnish isoäitien by fiddling with the recipe!
Preheat oven to 250°C. Place the beef bones onto a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil. Add the tops and tails from the carrot, turnip and onion as well as the whole garlic cloves. Toss to coat in the oil and roast for ½ hour until browned.
Place the water into a large saucepan and add the meat. Bring to the boil and skim off any froth as it rises to the surface. Add the roasted bones and vege’s, salt, onion, carrot, allspice, marjoram, bay leaves and turnip. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours. Add the whole peeled potatoes and simmer until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove them from the broth and set aside to cool.
Mash the potatoes and add a ¼ cup of the cooking broth, the egg, flour and salt. Mix well.
Strain the other ingredients from the broth and set aside. Pour the strained broth back into the saucepan and bring to the boil.
With a soup spoon dipped in the broth, take a rounded tablespoon of the dough and drop it into the simmering broth. If it breaks up add more flour to the dough. When the dumpling remains in one piece, drop them all into the broth, dipping the spoon in the broth between each dumpling. Cook for a few minutes.
Remove the fat and bones from the strained meat and break into small pieces. Add to the soup and season to taste. Add some chopped parsley, marjoram leaves and freshly cracked pepper and serve with bread.