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Soup Almost As Good As Grandma’s

It seems like most of us have something that can bring you right back to grandma’s house.  For me, it’s chicken dumpling soup.  Every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, it’s soup at 6 and Santa at 8.  Chili, oyster soup and chicken dumpling....every year.  Honestly, I don’t know if I ever had the chili and definitely never had the oyster!  

Chicken dumpling is still a favorite but when at the Heiden ranch, it’s likely beef.  Beef dumpling soup makes for a hearty meal, perfect on a cold winter night.  What makes this soup even more flavorful is when the broth can be made ahead of time and cooled.  When the luxury of time isn’t available, it can be tailored to fit your limited schedule and still taste wonderful.

Start with a package or two of ox tail, soup bones, shanks or any meaty bone-in cut, such as a small chuck or arm roast.  Place in stock pot and fill with water.  Throw in some salt, pepper, a bay leaf and simmer on low all afternoon.  When meat is fall off the bone tender, set aside to cool before refrigerating.  

When ready to make the soup, grab the pot out of the refrigerator.  I prefer to spoon the top layer off (fat), remove the meat and pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer.   Remove the meat from the bone.  In a clean pot, add the strained broth, meat, and additional water.  Add cubed potatoes, vegetables of your choice, desired seasonings and let simmer.  When vegetables and potatoes are tender, it's time for the dumplings. 

Grandma's Dumplings:
Beat 8 eggs with a fork. Add salt, pepper and enough flour to make a thick dough (like cookie dough).  Drop by small teaspoon into hot boiling broth.  Do not stir.  Boil 10 minutes with cover over half of pot. 

Welcome to Grandma's house.  Enjoy!

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