Showing posts with label Soepballetjes (Dutch Soup Meatballs). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soepballetjes (Dutch Soup Meatballs). Show all posts


"Geef mij maar soep, soep, soep met balletjes
" sang Rita Corita already in the 50's, and for those of you who listen to the Groeten Uit Het Zuiden podcast from Jordy Graat and Rob Kemps, may remember that last season's soup component started with the "Soep met Ballen" song by Leo van Helmond. 

Even the sheep Veronica, a fantastic poem by Annie M.G. Schmidt, brings up "soep met ballen", soup with meatballs, as a delightful, delicious, start of a dinner. It is truly an engrained and traditional addition to our kitchen, to our many soups, and delights many, young and old. 

So what are these soepballetjes? That's an easy answer: small meatballs that are added to traditionally tomato or vegetable soup, but they can also be added to other soups. Beyond that there is a vast choice of flavors, combinations, and options.  Commercially, soepballetjes can be bought pre-made and blanched in jars with bouillon, in cans with salted water, and in the meat section at the grocery store or at the butchers you can also buy them pre-seasoned and raw. 

We have soepballetjes made with beef, with half-om-half (half beef, half pork), made with chicken, turkey, or vegan. They come with different seasonings and in different variations. I've seen people use, outside of salt and white or black pepper, any combination of onion powder, nutmeg, coriander, ginger, mace, cardamom, chili powder, paprika, bay leaf, and a whole host of dried spices: parsley, thyme, oregano....

And then of course there are the soepballetjes made at home, where those who do make them, have their own family recipe or preferences. Some make them fresh while making the soup, others make a big batch every now and then (a fun family affair!), blanch and freeze them, still others fry them first so that they get some color. Some make them small, others make them bigger. Some only use meat, others add breadcrumbs or egg. All this to say that there is no "official", one way to make soepballetjes. But if you've never made them before and would like to give it a try, here's a very basic recipe. 

I make mine ahead of time by cooking them in bouillon and storing them in a container in the freezer. That way, when I make soup, I just grab a handful and add them last minute. The following recipe makes about 90 soepballetjes (I portion mine out at 5 grams, 0.2 oz). 


8 oz (225 grams) ground beef
8 oz (225 grams) ground pork
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
Optional: nutmeg
1 bouillon cube of choice

Mix the two meats together with the breadcrumbs, and season with salt and pepper. Put a pot on the stove with 4 - 6 cups (1 - 1.5 liter) of water, add the bouillon cube (I use vegetable bouillon), and bring up to a low simmer (do not boil). Use a small ice cream scoop (mine is 1 teaspoon sized) to portion the meat and roll one or two mini marbles, as a tester. Add to the simmering bouillon. They will sink to the bottom first, and as they cook, float to the top. Remove the tester and taste. Adjust the seasonings to your liking, but remember that the flavor should not overpower the soup they're going to be in. 

Continue to portion out the meatballs. I make them fairly small, at 5 grams each (0.2 oz) but that is purely a personal preference, so go with what you feel is the right size for you. Simmer them in the bouillon, and remove them a few minutes after they float. Spread out on a baking sheet, cool, and then freeze them. Once frozen they can be kept in a container in the freezer. 

The bouillon can be used as a base for soup, so if you are doing that today, keep some of the soepballetjes behind - about four or five per person. As pork has quite a bit of fat, you may want to degrease it first, but again: that's a personal preference.