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Tuesday's Letters Eat 39: 'X' is for Xavier Soup

Best laid plans... There was going to be another 'W' last week, and then there just wasn't. And so to 'X': Zuppa di Xavier or Xavier Soup. Named for Francis Xavier. I am not certain if the soup is eaten on a special day, but you'd certainly need some time to make the proper version. Mine is not the proper version. I cheated and used some nice, prepared chicken stock. I enhanced it with some extra flavours. I only made one third of the dumpling mixture and I stopped at 80 pea-sized dumplings. I think the whole mixture might run to 400 or 500.

Xavier Soup   serves 4

  • 1 litre of good chicken stock
  • optional extras: chopped onion, celery, carrot, garlic
  • 2 tspn cornflour
  • 2 tbspn cold water
  • chopped parsley


  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 80g butter
  • 100ml cream
  • 1/2 tspn ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tspn grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk extra

To make the dumplings, put the cheese, flour and butter in a saucepan over a low heat and mix until the butter melts and a dough is formed. Remove from the heat.

Starting dumplings
Add the cream a tablespoon at a time, aiming for a thick custard consistency. Add the egg, extra yolk, pepper and nutmeg and whisk well.

Almost dumplings
Place in a piping bag, or a ziplock bag with the end snipped off, and pipe pea-sized dumplings onto baking paper. Leave to set for 30 minutes or so.

Ta da-umplings
While the dumplings are standing, you may enhanced the chicken stock by adding the chopped onion, carrot, garlic and celery and simmering for 30 minutes.

Enhancing stock
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Add extra water, if needed, to bring it back to the 1 litre mark and return to the heat. Mix the cornflour and cold water so it is smooth, add to the stock, bring back to the boil and mix for one minute. Set aside.

Thickening the soup
Bring another saucepan of salted water to the boil and then add the dumplings. Mine 'set' , but I did roll them to a nice pea shape. It didn't really seem to matter. Boil for 5 minute and then remove.

Dumplings done
Pour the hot soup into the dish, add the dumplings and some finely chopped parsley. It is a delicately flavoured soup, a bit posh really. Not something for a hearty meal, but I think if you added some diced chicken it would be more substantial.

Xavier souppe



Wow, that is a lot of dumplings! I would probably have made them bigger! Or is that against the rules of Xavier soup?


Very impressive, that you came up with a recipe for "X".

Laurie (Moo!)

I'd probably have stopped at less dumplings. It's a brilliant idea - to use a pastry bag. I agree with you, on the addition of chicken. Everything is better with a bit of chicken...and corn. ;-)


Sounds delicious! I might have to try this one cold weekend night when I have time to pipe out the dumplings.


That does look and sound delicious!


Looks delicious. I have never tried dumplings soup before.


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The dumplings remind me of what German's call "spaetzle." Yummy!


what a delicious, tasty sounding soup - a nice lightish meal too I think!

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