If there’s one recipe that brings me right back to my childhood, standing on a stool in the kitchen looking over my Oma’s shoulder, this is it. This is a dish I remember fondly, and it was one of my favorites – so much so that my Oma would have to watch me like a hawk lest I pilfer away the dumplings by eating them raw. The concept of Markklosschen (Bone Marrow Dumplings) sounds strange to most in this day and age, but it takes the best part of the cow, where all of the flavor is at, and condenses it into meatball size. I had to try to find the recipe from memory, and had a bit of difficulty (trial and error, I’ll need to keep working on it) – the fleisch bruhe (meat consomme) and fladle (egg pancake noodles) came out exactly how I remembered, but the dumpling recipe I used ended up much tougher than I remembered. If you try to replicate the dish, use this recipe for the Markklosschen instead – it sounds much closer to my grandmothers recipe than the one I used. It’s a two day process – you make the consomme on the first day and allow it to chill overnight (this lets the fat rise and harden on the surface, so you can skim it off). You make the rest of the components on the day you’re making it. It is very time consuming, but well worth making. There’s enough consomme from this recipe that you can use half for the soup and freeze the other half.
The first day is all about making the consomme – you want to get a pair of huge marrow bones (they look like this and are available at Bluescreek in the North Market for a reasonable price) and about 9 lbs. of cross-cut shanks/soup beef (I got mine through Flying J Farms at the Clintonville Farmer’s Market, with a few pounds of supplemental ones that I got on discount at Giant Eagle). Harvest all of the soft marrow from the marrow bones (if you meet resistance, leave it be) and set aside. Leave the marrow in the cross-cut shanks intact, and then proceed with the recipe from here.
Fleischbruhe (Meat Broth)
recipe source unknown – found here
9 lb Bones and meat scraps; from beef, pork and/or veal (I used all beef)
8 qt Water
2 md Onions; char-burned (not sure what that is – just used regular onions)
2 ea Parsely roots; quartered (I omitted this)
4 md Carrots; quartered
4 ea Celery stalks w/leaves; cut in chunks
2 ea Leeks; trimmed, cut in chunks
18 ea Peppercorns, black
4 ea Cloves, whole
1 ea Bay leaf
2 tb Salt
Preheat oven to 375F. Place bones and meat in large roasting pan – roast
until browned (took about an hour). Place water, roasted bones and meat in large stockpot.
Cover, bring to a boil – skim foam from surface until clear. Reduce heat – cook, uncovered, 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients, recover – simmer 3 hours.
Strain broth, discarding meat scraps, bones and cooked vegetables. Cool, pour into quart or pint containers with tight lids. Refrigerate, lift fat with fork and discard. Refrigerate 2 days or freeze 3 months. Bring broth to a full boil before using. (Important: Salt and pepper to taste!)
My grandmother used to not discard the leftover meat (she was a frugal woman), and instead (according to my mother) would serve it with boiled potatoes and creamed cabbage. Paul wasn’t too crazy for that idea so I ate what meat I could as a protein snack and gave the rest to the dogs for a treat.
Either way, after chilling overnight, the recipe produces a very flavorful consomme that gels beautifully. Just look at this wiggle:
I prepared the markklosschen early in the afternoon (again, don’t use the recipe I used – use the one I linked to above) and then rolled them out into small balls in preparation for putting them into the soup. I put them in the fridge after they were rolled out.
As I was heating up the consomme (I used about a gallon or so) on the stovetop, I started the batter for the fladle. After mixing it up, it should be a little thicker than crepe batter.
recipe courtesy Recipe Cottage
200 g flour (1 3/4 cups)
1/4 l milk (1 cup plus 1 Tbsp)
1 pinch salt
Fat for frying
Mix the flour and milk, then add the eggs, and season with salt.
In a skillet, melt a little fat over medium heat. As soon as the
fat is hot, hold the skillet at a slight angle and pour in the
batter in such a manner that the whole bottom of the skillet is
covered with a thin layer. As soon as the bottom of the pancake
develops yellow spots, carefully loosen the edges with an egg
turner, then flip the pancake to cook the other side. Once the
‘Flaedle’ is done, set it aside for cooling.
If the ‘Flaedle’ is to be used in ‘Flaedle’-soup, roll it up and
cut it into very thin slices. Put into hot broth, and adjust
seasoning to taste, with nutmeg, chopped parsley or chives, etc.
(BTW, if you sweeten the batter with some sugar, and add some sliced apples, you have apfelpfankuchen (apple pancakes), another one of my favorites.)
By now, the consomme should be boiling – put in the markklosschen and turn down the heat to touch. Cook them until they float to the top and are tender inside. Think of them as compact matzoh balls and go for the same (but just a tad denser) consistency.
After frying the fladle in oil until gold-light brown, you want to cool them down and then roll them up and slice them thinly. You’ll end up with a big batch of “egg noodles”
To finish the soup, toss the sliced fladle into the consomme with the markklosschen. Ladle into bowls and serve.
Not a perfect rendition of Oma’s dish, but damn close. I’ll keep working on it. When I was talking to my mother on the phone today, she told me she found some of Oma’s handwritten recipes (in German) that she’s going to scan in and send to me to see if I can decipher them. I can’t wait! Wish me luck…