Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Potato Soup with Rivels

Potato soup is one of my favorite soups and I’ve had and enjoyed many kinds….baked potato, cheesy, cream of potato soup, etc., but my mom’s is still my favorite and up until the last six months or more, I had never made it. As with most of the dishes my mother made, she didn’t have a recipe for this so I needed to try to find something similar and go from there. My mom was a plain and simple cook, she didn’t use spices or any unusual ingredients so I knew that her soup wouldn’t be difficult to make but I just had to figure out the procedure….I already had some idea of what most of the ingredients were. I knew that she used potatoes, of course, onion, canned evaporated milk and seasoned it with salt. She also made something like a noodle or dumpling that she added to her soup that she made using eggs and flour. Other than that, I was clueless.

My search began with my sister Jean, she has made this potato soup before and I also had a recipe from someone I used to work with, that was similar, so I took some of what my sister told me and some of my coworkers recipe and combined them. Between these two recipes I had the ingredients and the procedures for the soup but couldn’t get the hang of making the rivels (Mom didn’t call them rivels and I can’t remember what she did call them, but that's the name that was used in most of the recipes I found) so I pressed on. I eventually found the instructions in and Amish recipe that I located in a regional cookbook that covered the northeastern part of the US, and also from a blog I follow and her recipe was from her German heritage…at last success!
Potato Soup with Rivels
Print Recipe
1 large onion, diced
8  medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
water, enough to cover the potatoes and onions
salt  to taste
2-3 cans evaporated milk, (12 ounces each)
1 stick butter

Rivels (Dumplings/Noodles)
4 egg yolks
1/2-3/4 cup flour

1. Dice onions and place in a large pot.
2. Peel and cut potatoes into bite sized cubes and put in pot with the onions.
3. Put enough water in the pan to just cover the potatoes and onions, add salt. Cook until the potatoes are tender.
5. Add evaporated milk. and butter. Cook and stir until thoroughly heated.
6. To make Rivels - Add flour to eggs and toss and stir until almost dry. Mixture looks like small dumplings/noodles. Gradually drop mixture into the soup. Cook for about five minutes, until the Rivels are done, stirring frequently.
7. Add more salt if desired.

If you like thicker soup, add leftover mashed potatoes or instant mashed potatoes until soup reaches the desired consistency.
When adding instant potatoes, under cook potatoes a little then add the instant potatoes after the milk and butter and before adding the rivels. Cook until the soup thickens.
Can add chunks of ham.
This makes a lot of soup so unless you like leftovers or are feeding several people, you may want to cut this recipe in half.
Put chopped onion in a large saucepan or dutch oven.

Add potatoes
Cover potatoes with water.
Add salt. I know this looks like a lot but it really isn't, I still needed to add more later.
Cook potatoes until tender, do not drain, leave the water in the pan and add 2 to 3 cans of evaporated milk. If adding instant potatoes as a thickener, under cook the potatoes a little because the soup will need to cook a little longer.
Add 1 stick of butter cook until thoroughly heated.
I don't normally use instant potatoes since I prefer making my mashed potatoes from the real thing. A friend told me that she really likes this brand because they taste just like fresh, she even served them for Thanksgiving and couldn't tell the difference. So I decided to use them in the soup and they worked great. Guess I'll continue to keep a box on hand just for this purpose.
My mother never added any type of thickener to her soup, but Michael likes his thicker so I decided to try adding some instant mashed potatoes. I had read that you can use mashed potatoes or instant mashed potatoes to thicken soups. I used about a half cup of instant potatoes and cooked until the soup was nice and creamy looking. If you like an even thicker soup, just add more until you reach the desired consistency.

While the soup is cooking make the rivels. "What are rivels you ask?", they remind me a little of a noodle or chewy dumpling...not chewy in a bad way. My mother always added them to her potato soup and I do too, I like the different texture it adds to the soup. If you don't want to add them, they can be omitted but I would suggest you try them at least once. You'll need four egg yolks for this, be sure to separate the eggs while the eggs are still cold. If you don't want to use the egg whites right away, freeze them for later use....once I had enough, I made an angel food cake.
Add flour to eggs and toss until almost dry. I added 1/4 cup of flour here.

At this point I have added another 1/4 cup of flour making it a total of 1/2 cup. The yolks are still very wet and the mixture is still too sticky.

I added another 1/4 cup of flour for a total of 3/4 cup and it was just right. I was using the yolks from large eggs so if you use smaller or larger eggs, the amount of flour you need to use may be different. The mixture should still be a little damp but not sticky. At this point you'll have to use your "clean" hands to finish making the rivels.

Gradually stir in rivel mixture, add everything even any flour that may not have mixed into the rivels. Simmer for at least another 5 minutes. Add salt to taste...I even like to add a little pepper.

And here it is, potato soup like my mom used to make.....only a little creamier with the addition of the instant mashed potatoes. I like to just sit down with a bowl of this warm tasty soup and enjoy it on it's own or sometimes make a grilled cheese sandwich, but my favorite way to eat it is the way we ate it at my mom's kitchen table, with bread and butter. Mmmmmm it's so good and comforting!

I love this potato soup made just like this but one day I decided to try adding chicken broth to the soup instead of the water. I had just made a large pot of stock so added that to the potatoes in place of the water and then made the soup according to the rest of the directions. At first Michael and I didn’t care for it because it changed the flavor a little…well, it didn’t taste like Mom’s soup. Naturally, with the chicken stock it had a much richer flavor. The next day I reheated it and we loved it….strange but true. Now we don’t know which we like the best so I’m thinking it’s time for a potato soup cook off, I’m going to have to make both soups at the same time and have a taste test. We’ll have to invite family and friends over because, as much as we like potato soup, even we can’t eat that much.

1 comment:

Tangos Treasures said...

Looks & sounds great!! Can't wait for the cook-off!! Let the war begin!!

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