Smells of home, so comforting. Remembering my mother making this Beef Klusky Soup. The scent wafting through the apartment all day the other day I made it, of the beef cooking in salted water making the broth – well I was in a little bit of heaven. Lovely childhood memories were floating back. Mom standing at the stove, in her tie-around-the waist apron with 2 pockets in front, stirring this huge aluminum pot that was her mother’s. My dad clearing his throat and then proclaiming with absolute pleasure, “Mother, delicious as always!”
We were six kids and he often called my mother “Mother” in front of us.
I remember some grease circles moving around on the top of the soup, not really knowing what they were, but I too, loved the soup and particularly the klusky! Klusky are Polish dumplings. And, when they are made correctly, they are divine. A Mother’s hug in your mouth and tummy, so warm and nourishing.
More recent memories
I had only made this Beef Klusky Soup one other time before, when I first went away to college and wanted a little bit of home. I was with Steve (my now late husband) but we were far from being married, just starting to date.
It was terrible.
The klusky were like rocks – definitely made of cement.
Steve, who was always gentle in his criticism of my cooking, even then couldn’t hold back.
So I never attempted to make it again, until just now.
You see, my mother grew up during the Great Depression so she was always very careful with food, never wasting any and using only just enough. She really was a master at managing money, yet feeding all of us fine food.
But, I always thought this trait was cheap. And perhaps indicated that we didn’t have much money? (We had a perfectly fine amount of money growing up, particularly with all eight of us living at home.) So in my younger days, every recipe I made from her, I generously upped all the ingredients. Including in this soup recipe, I upped the amount of meat but I’m not sure that played out right as the soup was thicker with all that meat and it was not really needed.
Follow Mom’s directions
What I do most definitely know, is that this time, I followed her klusky instructions to a T, using only a half of a teaspoon of raw dough to make the dumplings, rather than a tablespoon or more as I had done in the past, thinking more is better and THIS was the key! Just a tiny bit of dough plumps up into the most beautiful light dumpling – just like Mom’s! NOT like concrete.
So do play close attention to that and be sure to use a very thin edged spoon to measure them out. The thin edge allows you to take just a little bit of dough – that proper one-half teaspoon.
I did use local beef soup meat from one of the farms upstate – Fat Apple Farm on Hill Hollow Road and it was divine, so do try to find some local meat. Always. So much better for you and tastier, being grass fed.
This does take nearly a day to make with all the hours of simmering but with many of us still working from home, it’s easy as it only requires time and not much attention. I wasn’t going to write about this, but when I showed the picture to my friend Marie at lunch on Monday, she was like, “OMG, THAT looks so delicious!”
While winter is still here, make this Beef Klusky Soup to soothe your soul, make your own memory and spread some LOVE… and think of my wonderful Mom.
BEEF KLUSKY SOUP – serves 6 – 8
1-3 small beef soup bones with some meat on them – or Mom said, 1 small soup bone and 2 pieces of marrow soup meat.
12 cups of cold water
½ Tbs. coarse sea salt
1 bay leaf
12 whole black peppercorns
4 tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion coarsely chopped
5 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
3 ribs of celery, cut into 2” pieces
Some celery leaves
5 sprigs of parsley
THE KLUSKY (Egg Dumplings)
¼ tsp salt – fine sea salt
½ cup milk
1 egg beaten
1¼ cups of all purpose flour
Rinse the meat bones with cold water and place in a large soup pot with the 12 cups of cold water and ½ tablespoon of salt. Let stand for about 30 minutes to draw out the juices.
Then put on high heat and bring to a boil. Skim the surface to remove the dirty foam and simmer.
Add 1 bay leaf, tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and onion and simmer uncovered for 2 hours.
Then add the carrots, fat pieces cut in half lengthwise, celery, celery leaves and parsley and let this all simmer for another 1½ hours. In the last ½ hour of cooking, add the klusky.
MAKING THE KLUSKY
Add salt and milk to the beaten egg. Stir flour in to make a smooth batter.
Bring the soup a boil and add the klusky by scooping out just ½ teaspoon of batter and then dipping the spoon in the boiling soup and the batter will fall off and make the dumpling.
Stir every once in a while.
Let them cook for about 20 minutes or so.
Then Mom wrote:
Any questions call me. Love, Mom
(Mom passed in 1995)