Quail eggs add an interesting touch to any soup. Even the simplest and plainest-looking soup is perked up with the addition of quail eggs. They are usually added to the Chinese birds’ nest soup but quail eggs can go into a lot of other soups, including a simple cabbage soup.
This recipe starts by boiling beef bones to make a rich broth. If you already have broth (see homemade broth how-to), you can skip the broth-making part, go directly to the next steps and just add bits of cooked beef, pork, chicken or turkey* to the soup.
- beef bones, about 500 g. (or ham bones, they’re especially good)
a whole onion
a whole garlic
1 tsp. of peppercorns
400 to 600 g. of white cabbage, cored and cut into thin strips
4 to 5 tomatoes, diced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
12 to 24 quail eggs, hard boiled and shelled
fresh cilantro or sweet basil, to garnish
- Place the beef bones in a pot, pour cold water to cover and bring to the boil. Skim off scum that rises to the surface. Add a whole onion, whole garlic and a teaspoonful of peppercorns. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half.
Lift out the bones and, if there is any meat attached, pull it off and cut into small cubes. Discard the bones.
Take out the garlic and onion from the broth.
Pull off the skins of the onion and garlic and discard. With the garlic, it is easier if you cut off the root end and just press the garlic meat out of the skin.
Chop the garlic and onion. Or mash if you want them to be indiscernible in the soup.
Strain the broth. Reheat. Add the diced tomatoes and shredded cabbage. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Just before serving, add the quail eggs. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh herbs like sweet basil or cilantro, or both.
For a no-meat version of this cabbage and quail eggs soup, ditch the meat or poultry. Or substitute tofu or mushrooms.
Cooking time (duration): about 2 hours
Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6