I have been overcome with a craving for this soup ever since I figured out how to make good gluten-free dumplings a couple of months ago. Our Estonian grandmother used to make a soup with vegetables from her garden, and milk from her goats. Why, you might ask, would I want to try this weird soup of Estonian origins? Well you know how people eat French food when they want to feel sophisticated or maybe Indian food if they want to feel adventurous? We imbue the cuisines of the world with our romantic notions of the countries that birthed them. Well, Estonia is such a small country that it doesn’t have much of a reputation in our global imagination. But those of us who know a little bit about Estonia might suggest that you should eat Estonian food when you want to feel magical. Try this soup. It was invented by garden elves to feed exhausted farmers. Then have some Magical Estonian Apple Cake for desert.
I did a little bit of on-line research and I found a lovely article about this kind of soup written by an Estonian lady who lives in Switzerland. She says that this soup is usually made at the height of summer harvest and that families eat it from one big bowl. She calls it “Vegetable Soup of Love or Hate” because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Her recipe uses cow’s milk instead of goat’s milk and doesn’t have any dumplings. I also like her post on foraging for mushrooms, which is something that I would like to do when I go to Estonia in June.
So, I am clearly craving this at the wrong time of year, but I decided that it would be just as good with winter vegetables. The purple carrot pictured below looks lovely, but I would leave it out next time. It gave my leftover soup upsetting purple streaks. Also, most folks who keep goats don’t sell much of their milk between November and March. You might want to wait until goat milk is more readily available (like next week) to try this out though because it is way expensive right now.
This makes a lot of soup. Consider inviting your family over to eat from a big bowl.
- About 5 cups of scrubbed, cubed root vegetables. I used 3 carrots, 1 parsnip, 1 potato, 1 small celery root
- About 5 cups of chopped green vegetables. I used a very small head of green cabbage and 8 ounces of brussel sprouts
- The white part of two leeks, sliced lengthwise, washed and then sliced
- About 8 cups of water
- 4 cups of goat milk
- salt and pepper
- a huge handful of chopped dill (more than is shown in the photo)
- I recipe of dumplings (recipes for both gluten-free and wheat flour dumplings below)
- Bring the water to a boil in a very large pot.
- Make the dumpling dough.
- Add the root vegetables to the boiling water and let it come to a boil again.
- When the root vegetables are just starting to get tender, add the green vegetables and leeks and let the water come to a boil again.
- When the green vegetables are just tender lift all of the vegetables out of the water with a slotted spoon, or strain the vegetables through a colander, reserving the water (now its broth).
- Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil. Wet a tablespoon with some of the hot water and use it to scoop out a ball of dumpling dough and drop it in the boiling broth. Repeat with the remaining dough. Partially cover the pot and simmer the dumplings for 15 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and the goat milk to the broth and dumplings and gently heat the soup. Season with salt, pepper and fresh dill and serve!
- 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
- 3 tablespoons of cold crisco
- 1/2 cup, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk
- Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Add the caraway seeds.
- Cut the shortening in to the flour until the fat is the size of peas.
- Add the 1/2 cup milk and stir with a wooden spoon, adding additional tablespoons of milk if needed to make a sticky dough.
adapted from a gluten-free buttermilk biscuit recipe by Jeanne at The Art Of Gluten-Free Baking from a recipe by Lorna Yee
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All- Purpose Flour Mix
- 1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
- 1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
- 1 C (120g) tapioca flour
- 1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
- 2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
- 2 C (280g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix, sifted
- 2 TBL baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 TBL (60g; 2 oz) butter, cold
- 4 TBL (60g; 2 oz) leaf lard or shortening, cold
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (180ml) (or milk mixed w/3/4 tsp of vinegar)
- caraway seeds
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the butter and lard, and cut in with a pastry blender or your fingers until the fat resembles coarse, pea-size clumps.
- Stir in the buttermilk. If needed, add a bit extra to get a sticky dough.
- Add the caraway seeds.
MORE ABOUT DUMPLINGS OR ESTONIAN FOOD…