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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mom's Rivel Soup (Soy, Milk, Fish and Nut-Free)

This is one of those family recipes that my mom gave to me.  It is very rustic, very hardy, contains simple ingredients and is one of those "taste and check" types.  It does have a few steps that might sound scary because you have to go by taste or consistency, but it is pretty hard to mess up and gets easier to do the more you do it.  It also feeds a lot, is soy (if you use all soy-free ingredients), milk, fish and nut-free, and tastes good, too.  I hope you like it as much as my family does!

Rivel Soup

For the Broth:
1 to 1 1/2 Cups soy-free bacon fat
(Yes, you read that correctly - that's bacon fat, not bacon.)

10 Cups water

3/4 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon onion salt

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the Rivels (rivels are a cross between a noodle and a dumpling):
5 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1 to 2 Cups soy-free flour

Also needed:
about 6 medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
(Russet, yellow, Michigan, red or white potatoes will work.)

  1. In a large stock pot, melt the bacon fat over high heat until just melted, then add water (slowly as not to splash the grease - it can burn you!!), celery seed, onion salt, celery salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.  (Note: Feel free to taste the broth at this point and add more or less of any of the ingredients as needed.  Start with the lesser amount of bacon fat and add more if you feel the broth needs more bacon flavor.  Add more water if the broth is too strongly flavored, but remember that you want it a little stronger than you want the finished soup as you will be adding rivels and potatoes.  Add more celery seed, onion salt, celery salt, and/or pepper as desired.)
  2. After the broth boils, move onto making your rivels.  In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and salt for the rivels until fluffy and then add 1 Cup of flour and mix with a spoon, adding more flour until the the mixture is at a noodle/bread dough consistency (i.e. sticks together and pulls away from the sides, thick, a bit like slime, yet lumpy).
    What rivel dough looks like when it is ready to go.

  3. Take about 1/2 teaspoon of the rivel mixture and cut and carefully (as the grease can burn you if you are not) drop it into the boiling broth and repeat until all the dough is used up, stirring 1/2 way through dropping them in, and then add the potatoes (you can add more or less based on preference) and cook uncovered, stirring off and on, for about 15 minutes or until the rivels and potatoes are cooked through.  (Note: If the rivels are not quite done yet (they are done when they are no longer doughy) but the potatoes are, go ahead and turn the stove off and let the rivels just sit and finish cooking in the broth for a few more minutes.)

This is about the size you want your rivels to be.
That is a very small spoon (think old-fashioned, silver baby spoon), and the rivel doesn't even fill up the whole bowl of it!

Dropping in the rivels
You have to cut/scrape them in because
they don't drop off the spoon because that dough is sticky!!!
Don't worry about dropping the rivels on top of each other when you are dropping them in.  They will separate as they cook.  As you can see, they also get quite large.

At this point your soup is done!  You can enjoy it as is, or add some already cooked and crumbled bacon (assuming you made some ahead of time to get the bacon fat instead of saving up over time) to the top of the individual servings and enjoy it that way.  Either way, it is quite good!

This soup is not for everyone, so you won't hurt my feelings at all if you don't like it.  As I said, it is very rustic and hardy, and if you don't like dumplings, you probably won't like rivels.  I do hope you will try it, though! :)

It kind of has its own charm once it's done, don't you think? :)

What's your favorite soup?

What's your favorite family recipe?

(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)


  1. I've never heard of Rivel Soup before! Where have I been? I have to admit I'm intrigued. I feel like it would be impressive if I could pull it off. My family loves dumplings, so I think it would be a hit! --Lisa

    1. It's a German thing. There are a few variations of it around, but this is the one my mom makes and grew up with. I think it is one of those things that you either like it or you don't, like Baklava. If you do decide to try it, I hope you like it! :)


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