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Last updated 17.06.2019Guest AuthorGuest Author
TEXT Benedikt Roth | STYLING Sven Christ

You get nice round knees from eating soup,” is the somewhat peculiar Tirolean saying. It probably refers to the fact that soup was a staple food product until only a few decades ago. Not a starter like today, but a main course. One that was frequently eaten early in the morning. And again in the evening. The Tiroleans went to great effort in preparing their soups, because they had to eat them so very often. Fabulous recipes were the result. And many of them. The mountains were high, with little contact between the various villages. Everyone, however, cooked their own variation of soup: The people of Zillertal are rightly proud of their “Grey Cheese Soup” and the residents of Oberland (Tirolean Highlands) wax lyrical about their “Krapfl Soup”. Those who take the current trends in regional cuisine seriously, will have to sample many a soup in Tirol. And cook a lot: The recipes we have put together take you on a culinary, cultural and historical voyage of discovery. But you don’t have to go so far in your appreciation of local tradition to eat soup in the same way as the Tiroleans of yesteryear: they, namely, all ate from the same large pot, as they didn’t have any plates.

Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 250 g shoulder of pork
  • 1.3 litres of water
  • salt
  • pepper corns
  • root vegetables
  • 50 g butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 50 g flour
  • 350 g potatoes
  • tarragon
  • chives

Method

Cook the meat with the spices until soft. Melt the butter, fry with chopped onion and flour. Add water to the meat stock and boil with diced potatoes for 25 minutes. Cut the meat into pieces, add to the soup, serve with tarragon and chives.

Unterland - Lowlands

Those from the Tirolean Lowlands often used a pig’s head instead of the pork shoulder. One of the great advantages of soups of any kind was that you could also use less popular cuts of meat to make them.

Brezler – Pretzel Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 pretzels
  • hot water
  • 150 g Graukäse (grey cheese) or Zieger (well-matured, parmesan-like grey cheese)
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 white onions
  • ground red pepper
  • flour
  • chives
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

Brown the butter and flour lightly, add water, cheese and cook for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add pretzel. Serve as soon as the pretzel has swelled with cooking. Slice the onion thinly, mix flour with paprika powder, roll onions in it, fry and use with chives as garnish.

Wildschönau

Because the soup is vegetarian but very nutritious, it was also a popular fasting dish during Lent. It is still eaten in many places today as a main meal on Ash Wednesday.

Barley Soup

Ingredients

  • 120g belly of pork
  • 1 onion
  • 75 g barley
  • 250 g vegetables (carrots, celeriac)
  • 1.5 litres of water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley

Method

Chop the bacon finely and fry it together with the onion. Add the barley and fry together briefly, add the water and cook for one hour. After 40 minutes, add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, add the parsley just before serving. You could also garnish the soup with red-veined dock leaves and deep-fried celeriac.

Tirol

Barley soup is popular throughout Tirol: barley is a robust grain, which grows at up to 1,500 metres above sea level. Instead of expensive bacon, people used to boil a bone in the soup. The cooked bone was then occasionally passed on to poorer families for them to make their own barley soup.

Graukäsesuppe – Grey Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 50 g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 250 g Graukäse – grey cheese
  • 4 desert spoons white wine
  • 1 litre meat broth
  • 1 potato
  • salt
  • pepper
  • caraway seeds
  • 1/8 litre cream
  • rye bread croutons
  • dill

Method

Heat the butter, fry the onions and garlic, melt the grey cheese, pour in the wine and meat broth, add the potato, season and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, fold in the cream, garnish with roasted rye bread croutons and dill.

Zillertal Valley

Grey cheese used to be a poor man’s food. The ingredient on which it is based was available in abundance: skimmed milk that had been drained of all its cream. Grey cheese is eaten in a variety of ways: marinated in vinegar, as a cheese dumpling, or the classic Tirolean meal of cheese dumpling served in beef broth.

Krapfl Soup

Ingredients for the soup

  • 1 litre beef broth
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 carrot
  • leek
  • parsley

Ingredients for the “krapfl”

  • 40 g butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 dessertspoon milk
  • 40 g flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • salt

Method

Whisk the butter (at room temperature) in a bowl until light and frothy, then add the egg yolks slowly. Add the lukewarm milk and flour. Whisk the egg whites with salt until they are stiff, then fold into the butter mix. Spread the mixture finger-deep into a flat, rectangular form coated with butter and dusted with flour. Bake in a preheated oven (220 °C fan assisted) for 8 to 10 minutes, turn out onto baking paper. Allow to cool and cut into diamond shaped “Krapfl”. Cook the parsnip, carrot and leek in the beef stock until al dente, serve with the “Krapfl” and parsley.

Oberland - Highlands

Soups had to be nutritious, because they were usually eaten as a main course. For this reason, Tirolean cuisine features a whole range of “soup fillers.” These include, of course, many different types of dumplings. And “Krapfl”, which unlike our recipe, were often deep fried in fat.

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2 comments

Mrs Pauline Watson

Was looking longingly for recipe for Garlic Soup. 25yrs in Austria love the Garlic Soup.

Karen

Funny you would say that Pauline. That is what I washop hoping for too.. garlic soup.. any chance?

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