Vegetable Soup with Goat Milk Broth and Dumplings (gluten-free or not)

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.

VEGETABLE SOUP WITH GOAT MILK BROTH AND DUMPLINGS

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)
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a very large pot.
  2. Make the dumpling dough.
  3. Add the root vegetables to the boiling water and let it come to a boil again.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

TRADITIONAL DUMPLINGS

  • 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
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the caraway seeds.
  3. Cut the shortening in to the flour until the fat is the size of peas.
  4. Add the 1/2 cup milk and stir with a wooden spoon, adding additional tablespoons of milk if needed to make a sticky dough.

GLUTEN-FREE DUMPLINGS

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

Dumplings

  • 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
  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2.  Add the butter and lard, and cut in with a pastry blender or your fingers until the fat resembles coarse, pea-size clumps.
  3. Stir in the buttermilk.  If needed, add a bit extra to get a sticky dough.
  4. Add the caraway seeds.

MORE ABOUT DUMPLINGS OR ESTONIAN FOOD…

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About Big Sis Little Dish

This is a blog run by two sisters. Erin is the big sister who lives in New York, and Silvi is the little sister who lives in Vancouver. They both love to cook! They created this blog to share and store recipes for the food they make.

7 comments

  1. Rebecca

    Erin – I love this blog. It’s one of the few that I rather consistently check! I’ve noticed that you use different flour blends for different gluten-free recipes. I know that different flour combinations will of course result in different textures. But, do you think that an all purpose blend like Bob’s Red Mill can be used for most recipes?

    • Thank you for your kind words Rebecca! I find Bob’s Red Mill to be a very useful blend but I do not think that there is any blend that can be used as a general replacement. The closest that I have found is Jeanne’s four blend which she uses on her excellent blog http://www.artofglutenfreebaking.com/.

      I find that Bob’s Red Miill is good substitute for flour in roux based sauces and also in baked goods which only call for a small amount of flour such as clafouti, popovers, cornmeal custard topped spoonbread, and pudding-like cakes that call for lots of egg. Bob’s red mill blend is also the base for my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe so there is probably potential for success with other kinds of cookies as well.

      The Bob’s red mill blend has a lot of garbanzo, fava and sourghum flour in it. These are not the best flours for crusts, biscuits and dumplings since they get bit soggy and have a strong flavour that is undesirable in that context. Crusts should be crisp and biscuits and dumplings should taste only of fat! For these things a blend that relies on rice flour is best.

      The bob’s blend works in savory cooking because these flours have a nice fine grind where rice flour will make your sauce gritty. Also the savory flavours mask the bean flour flavours.

      Bob’s Red Mill blend works in eggy cakes and baked goods because the texure of the bean flours have excellent spring, crumb and moisture holding qualities while the sourghum provides structure. You will find though that you want to increase the amount of vanilla extract (or whatever flavouring your recipe relies on) to mask those odd bean flavours. If you look at my cake recipes they often call for two tablespoons of extract! I don’t use Bob’s for all of my cake recipes, because unless they have a lot of egg the sourghum flour makes the crumb too dry for my tastes.

      I mix up big batches of flour and keep them in my fridge. I have one for crusts, one for biscuits, one for pancakes (I switch off between amaranth and coconut). In addition to those I keep bob’s red mill, and the individual flours that I like to use for cake making (garfava, potato starch and arrowroot starch). I also have been using a lot of almond meal lately!

      I hope that this is helpful to you!

      best wishes,
      Erin

  2. Glenda

    Ah! This brings back lovely memories of Emma in her kitchen stirring the steaming pot of soup, all made from ingredients from her garden and her lovely goats. She was very magical and I learned so much from her.
    Thank you for your wonderful gluten free dumplings, they are so easy even I can make them! Love, Mum

  3. What a beautifully written post Erin, it’s obvious what a special place Estonia is to you. This soup sounds all that is nourishing and filling. I can’t get goat’s milk here but will have to try this with cow’s milk. I love milk based soups. :-)

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