Monday, April 15, 2013

Quick and Healthful Soup for Sick Days

I've had sick kids for days.  The last two days were spend with my two youngest hanging their heads in buckets.  By the time today rolled around, they were so puny.  Just wimpy looking, flaccid skin and muscle tone.  They could hardly hold up their little cups to sip their drinks. 

Besides that, theMom was pretty much at the end of her stamina, too.  Simply no more energy to wring out of me.  I had nothing left to give.

Which left us in a situation in which I felt we needed a good healthful meal, but had no energy to produce one.  With stocked up ingredients and a little creativity, however, we ended up with a fabulous and hopefully nutritive soup.

I'm not sure I could come up with a good name for it, since the ingredients are so, well, strange.  Probably the best I could do is Elk and Onions in Beef Bone Broth, with Spaetzle and Carrots.

Easy Healthy Soup, aka Elk and Onions in Beef Bone Broth, with Spaetzle and Carrots
  • Three medium onions
  • Celery with leaves.  I used about an inch and a half diameter of the center of a stalk.
  • A hefty splash of olive oil
  • Three to four quarts of your choice of broth.  Homemade bone broth is great if you have it.  We have canned home made beef bone broth on hand.  It's more of a concentrate, really.  I used 2 pints of broth and diluted each with about 3 pints of water.
  • salt to taste
Simmer to soften veggies.
Prepare your spaetzle batter while the soup simmers. (See below)
  • When veggies are about halfway softened, add 1 bag of frozen carrots. (If you don't have frozen, you can add fresh with the onions and celery; or canned at the end with the meat.)
  • When the veggies are almost done cooking, add your spaetzle.   Cook according to instructions below.
  • When spaetzle is done cooking, remove from heat and add 2 cups of your choice of cooked meat. I used a pint of canned elk.
  • Stir in your choice of herbs and spices. I used parsley, oregano, black pepper, and sage, to taste.  I don't measure, but perhaps 1 T parsley, 1 T oregano, 3/4 t black pepper, and 1/4-1/2 t sage.
GF Spaetzle

Mix together:
  • 3 c GF flour mix
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum (unless your mix already includes it)
  • 3/8 tsp salt
Mix together
  • 3 egg
  • 1 c milk
Pour milk and egg mixture into flour mixture.  Stir together.  Set aside until soup is nearly done. 

When veggies are nearly done, add spaetzle to soup by putting through a potato ricer with largish wholes.  Stir.  Bring to simmering and reduce heat to just maintain a simmer.   Cover.   Cook for about 5 minutes.
A few things I will do differently next time:

1) I forgot to salt my broth until the very end.  So the spaetzle was a bit bland.  When we make broth, we cook up the bones into infinity, and then strain through cheesecloth.  Then we let it sit overnight and skim most of the fat off before canning.  (We do use the fat, but Joe has read fat can effect the seal in home canning, so we use or preserve it separately.)  After the fat is off, Joe pressure cans the broth.

2) I perused a few other spaetzle recipes, and I think next time I will add more eggs and cut the milk some.  These were more fluffy than chewy.  The spaetzle I've really liked in the past is chewier, more dense.

3)  I will add more broth.  We all got broth the first helping.  But after that, what remained was more like stew.

Even without these suggested improvements, the soup was terrific.  It was very fun to see the kids all taking seconds and third, and even fourths.  And the two littlest sickies both ate a small portion eagerly.

What more can a mom ask for, right?  A nutritive meal that took less than 1/2 hour to prepare.

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