This traditional Austrian soup is also known as Leberknödelsuppe
This recipe is more than just cooking for me; it serves as a time for me to reflect on the man that gave me my passion for the outdoors and for all facets of cooking.
My father was born in Golling, Austria, in 1940 and grew up very poor as many did during WWII. Meat was a luxury many could not afford or even locate due to the war effort. Most meat was kept for the higher class citizens, military, and government officials; this usually only left the organs and bones. My father used to tell me how resourceful his mother was and how she could create so much with so little, especially when making soups from scratch. This was a skill that my father learned by watching her and passed down to me. While he was a gourmet chef that could create the most elaborate dishes, most of his friends reminisce about his soups and how he could create them out of little to nothing. This dish is a perfect example of my family’s resourcefulness in the toughest of times with ingredients most leave in the woods. I hope you consider adding liver and leg bones to the list of important pieces to bring out of the woods!
John Francis Sunkler
Whitetail Deer Liver Dumpling SoupJohn Sunkler
- 1 lb whitetail deer liver I like to brine for 1-2 days in salt water prior to preparation
- 2 small onions
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 tbsp parsley chopped
- ½ tsp marjoram
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups bread crumbs plus a little extra to form dumplings
- 4 eggs
- 8 cups whitetail deer bone broth or beef broth
- Roughly chop the liver, onion, and parsley and place into a food processor with the butter and seasonings, and process until semi-smooth. Add the breadcrumbs and eggs and process until blended uniformly.
- Form dumplings (in between a golf ball and baseball size dumpling is ideal). Optional: Add more bread crumbs after processing allows the dumplings to hold together better.
- Bring broth to a boil. Add dumplings and reduce heat to a simmer. Dumplings will float to the top when they are done, about 20 minutes.
- Serve soup, garnished with parsley. I like to serve my soup as an appetizer with fresh brown bread. I do this since most folks I cook for are leery of trying liver, for those who have tried it; I serve a larger portion with a side salad and brown bread as an entrée.