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 bone 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.
If you boil soup bones, there are times (if you’re lucky) when there’s a generous amount of meat attached to them. Get the meat before discarding the bones and add to the soup whatever you are able to salvage.
A whole onion and garlic are added to the soup bones to flavor the broth. Don’t throw them out. Their flavors might have been transferred to the broth but they still have valuable fiber. As mushy as they may be, they will still add texture to the soup.
So, just peel the onion and garlic…
… And chop them.
Cabbage is bulky before cooking and you may think that you have too much. But cabbage contains a lot of water and when heated, the leaves wilt and you end up with less than half of the original volume. So, even if your pot looks overflowing with cabbage, just wait until the leaves wilt.
- 500 grams beef bones (or ham bones, they’re especially good)
- whole onion
- whole garlic
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 400 to 600 grams white cabbage cored and cut into thin strips
- 4 to 5 tomatoes diced
- salt to taste
- 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. Peel and chop or mash.
Strain the broth. Reheat. Throw in the diced tomatoes and shredded cabbage, and any cooked meat that you want to add. 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 cabbage and quail eggs soup into bowls and top with fresh herbs like sweet basil or cilantro, or both.