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20.2.14

KOHLRABI SOUP - KARALÁBÉLEVES


This is a delicately flavoured soup that takes a short time to make, provided you have homemade chicken or pork stock and a little bit of precooked fine pasta, such as nokedli to add to the pot. My neighbourhood supermarket carries a type of dry spaetzle product that can cook right in the soup and will not make the soup cloudy with starch. However most commercial pastas release a lot of starch into the cooking liquid and you don’t want that in the soup. As it happened I had some leftover nokedli from the night before and I put half a cup of it into the soup. 

Now vegetable soups can be delicious on their own, but for a dept of flavour a clear meat stock is preferable to water. Good stock does not come from a can, cardboard box, packet or a cube. Use those at your own peril. They could work with more robust flavourings, but for a delicately flavoured vegetable such as kohlrabi I would avoid using commercial stocks. If you don’t have homemade stock your kohlrabi soup will taste much better with water. 

1 tender kohlrabi 
2 large carrots 
4-6 cups homemade chicken or pork stock [or water] 
1/2 cup nokedli* or precooked fine pasta 
few sprigs of fresh parsley
salt to taste 

• Peel the kohlrabi and the carrots and slice them very thin. 
• Slowly heat the oil in a medium sized Dutch oven. 
• Add the sliced kohlrabi and carrots. 
• Sprinkle lightly with salt. Do not over salt, especially if you use homemade stock for the soup. It will have salt in it already. 
• Sauté the vegetables for five minutes and stir often. Control the heat and make sure the vegetables don’t brown; caramelized vegetables will be unappetizing floating in the soup. You can always add a couple of tablespoons of stock or water to the pot, but don’t add too much liquid at this point. The flavours will not develop if the vegetables are cooked. They have to be sautéed. 
• When the vegetables are tender, add the stock or the water. If you don’t have homemade stock, do not use commercial stock. The soup will taste much better if you use water. 
• Bring the soup to a slow simmer, and add the cooked pasta. 
• Wash a few sprigs of fresh parsley, squeeze out the water and chop them fine on a cutting board. My grandmother used to salt the parsley leaves before chopping them. The salted parsley chops finer and the salt releases the parsley flavour. But taste the soup first if it can handle the additional salt or not. If you miscalculated and the soup is too salty add a bit of water. 
• Add the chopped parsley to the soup and its ready to serve.

* Click on THIS for the nokedli recipe

11 comments:

  1. I've never tasted kohlrabi but I'll keep an eye out the next time I go grocery shopping and see if they have any. One day I have to try making nokedli but I just don't want to have to buy one of those spaetzle/nokedli machines.

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    1. Hi Marie, you can make nakedly by rolling the dough into about finger diameter strings and just cutting them with a knife off the end of a smaller cutting board, resting on the edge of the pot of boiling water. That is how my Mom made hers before she go one of her nakedly graters. Also, I've heard that they can be made by rubbing the dough on a box grater but I've never tried it before.

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    2. The knife end method takes practice, but indeed that is how my grandma cooked her nokedli too. The spaztle makers started to show up in Hungary about the time I got married.

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    3. Maria, kohlrabi should not be woody. If you end up with a woody kohlrabi, it can be used for stock and then discarded. It's always a gamble when you buy them. Size don't seem to make a difference either. About a third of mine from the garden turn out woody and only good for flavoring stocks. But if you find a good one, they are a wonderful vegetable. Cooked kohlrabi should be an opaque white color with a slight green tint. If they turn grey, they were overcooked.

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    4. My Nagy would plop a portion of the dough onto a wet wooden cutting board, and simply rapidly cut small thin pieces right into the boiling water.She has never used a nokedli maker, she thinks it’s too much trouble to wash it. That’s how I used to make it even though I have two nokedli makers, but her dough always stuck to the little holes, and it was a mess to clean, just as she said. Now I use your recipe, Zsuzsa, it’s perfect to use with the nokedli maker.Bonus for my husband: he gets delicious nokedli more often now.

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  2. Your post has really brought back some lovely food memories for me, my dear Mom used to make this soup while I was growing up. I haven't had Kohlrabi in ages, I find it rather tasteless, but this delicate soup would be a perfect way to bring out its natural beauty.
    My Mom used to save the carrot tops and put them into her stocks and soups for additional flavour, as I recall they had a distinct parsley flavour too.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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    1. Well scrubbed carrot stops add a whole new dimension. A lot of flavor is packed into the tops. Except some trendy restaurants started to add them with an inch of green stems -- for the looks. This concerns me, because the stems are toxic.

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    2. I had no idea, thank you for the info Zsuzsa.
      Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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    3. The debate has been going on for awhile, there are people who insist the green part is actually good for you and there are those who insist they are toxic. Whatever! There are people who believe inoculation causes autism and that the Sun revolves around the Earth and not the other way around. As for me, I won't touch the stems, they don't taste very good anyway and until there is scientific proof that the stems and leaves are safe to eat I won't put them into my food. But carrot tops without stems are great.

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  3. Hi Zsusza- I have just finished making the soup and gave my husband a tiny bowl just so he could taste it.His verdict? Superb!
    I agree, it is a keeper. I also tried your way of chopping the parsley with a bit of salt, and it does release much more of the parsley flavor.I guess one is never too old to learn a new trick.
    Thank you!

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    1. Hello Dolores, well that's good I am glad. Of course the challenge is to find tender kohlrabi. I made this one last fall. I just bought one at the store, but it was woody. I live in Canada - so I will have to wait before I can make the soup from this year's crop.

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I began to post recipes for my family and it turned out to be a work in progress. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has over 900 recipes of Hungarian and international recipes. My recipes are organized into a cookbook format. On top of the page click on the cookbook to get access to all my recipes. If I ever figure out how to add a printer friendly gadget I will add it. In the meantime feel free to cut and paste. Happy cooking!

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