Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hearty Pennsylvania Dutch Rivel Soup

My hubby was raised in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and comes from family that split from the Amish community generations ago.  Thus it comes as no surprise that this recipe is a major comfort food for Karl.

Personally coming from a background of both my parents being full-fledged Irish, this recipe had escaped me until marrying Karl.  It was discovered when my mother-in-law had made some and served it to Karl when he had gone over to their place to fetch something.  He came back all happy and sharing with me how great it was to have that particular soup again.

"Ribble soup?"

"No, RiVel soup."

"Oh....what's that?"

"You don't know?  It's chicken and corn and dough balls."

"Sounds good.  How do you make it?"

"I dunno."

I should have expected that answer.

Seeing how much he was smiling as he tried to describe what it was to me, I decided to ask his mom for the recipe and make it GF.  My first attempt got rave reviews from Karl, so it's been a keeper ever since!  I was also a quick convert to loving the soup, not to mention how wonderfully frugal and easy it is to make!

You'll Need:

- chicken thighs (about a 12-16 thighs for a family of four)
- optional: chicken legs, skin still on (adds a nice extra boost of flavor to the broth when you leave the skin on)
- corn (about a cup)
- carrots (if prefer- they aren't traditional for this recipe, but I like to add them sometimes)
- 2-3 stalks of celery
- 1 bayleaf
- salt and pepper
- celery salt
- 3 tbsp parsley
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp olive oil

If preferred, you can also add 1/2 cup chicken broth, but it's not really necessary. 

For the dough:
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup water

Note: When I cook, I rarely measure because I like to go on instinctual creativity and just have fun with the process.  I cook by 'feeling' out what goes with what, eyeing things up, or personal taste, so feel free to tweak this recipe to make it your own as well.  Have fun experimenting!  :)

To Start:

- place all of the chicken into a pot and get the water boiling.  Let it boil for about 10 mins or until the foamy white fat comes to the surface (you can skim the fat off if you prefer), then bring it down to a simmer.
- add the salt & pepper, bayleaf, parsley, celery, olive oil, celery salt, corn, and carrots to the soup.
- put a lid over the pot and let it keep simmering for about 45 mins.
- test the chicken to make sure it is cooked through.  Letting the pot still simmer, take the chicken out of the pot and cut/shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then add back into the pot.
- in bowl, mix the flour and eggs (with your hands is best) until mixture turns into small crumbly balls, sizes ranging from pea-sized to cherry tomatoes.
- bring the pot of soup back up to a boil and drop handful after handful of the dough balls into the water until all the dough is in the pot.  Wait 1-2 more mins for dough to cook, then turn off stove and serve!

(thanks simpysugarandglutenfree, vegetarianmama, wholeintentions, onecreativemommy and glutenfreehomemaker for the feature!)

Update: Huge thanks to Amy at simplysugarandglutenfree for featuring this recipe in her top picks from last week's "Slightly Indulgent Tuesday" recipe share!  That's awesome, I'm thrilled by your mention and am glad you liked it! 


  1. Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) See you next Friday! Next Friday one lucky blogger will be randomly selected to win a case of Sprouted Planet Rice! Its yummy! Cindy from vegetarianmamma.com

  2. I've never tried anything like this. It sounds yummy. I would love it if you visited my new Gluten-Free Monday party at OneCreativeMommy.com and linked up this and any other idea you would like to share. I hope to see you there.

    1. Hello Heidi, good to meet you. Hope you get to try the recipe out some time! Thanks for the invite to your link-up - I'll look into it straight away. :)

  3. Been looking for a gluten-free RIVEL recipe. Thanks!
    One question: How much water do you use?

    1. Glad to help! Water: I usually add 2-3 inches more water above the chicken in the pot.


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