Hamburger eel soup

This Hamburg eel soup is a very special North German speciality. In Low German one said to this soup “Aal’s drin”. Because “everything came in” what is so there: vegetables, herbs, ham meat and baked fruit. It is tasted sweet and sour. Non-Hamburgers were disappointed with the soup, expecting fish in the soup. And so there are said to have been innkeepers who put eel in the soup for the sake of tourists and newcomers.

So now there are 2 soups: The soup without eel is a “fresh soup” or “sour soup”. The other is eel soup as in the recipe below.

Hamburger eel soup with pear compote

Recipe Hamburger eel soup

A North German speciality
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Course: main dish, soup
Cuisine: Hamburg, Northern Germany
Keyword: savoury
Difficulty: Experienced
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients & Shopping list

  • 400 g eel fillet
  • 1 ham bone, preferably from the Holsteiner Katenschinken (best to order in advance from the butcher)
  • 3 ltr water
  • 250 g peas (also frozen peas)
  • 250 g parsnips
  • 2 leeks
  • 1/2 cup mixture of finely chopped thyme, marjoram,tarragon, dill, parsley and chervil (finely chopped).
  • 1/2 celeriac
  • 200 g prunes
  • 125 g dried apple rings 
  • 500 g waxy pears
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt, pepper


  • Boil the ham bone in a large pot with 3 liters of water.
  • Dice the parsnips, cut the leek into rings and dice the celery.
  • Put the prunes and apple rings in a large bowl and pour hot water over them until everything is just covered and let soak.
  • After 1 hour, add the prepared vegetables and reduce the heat. After another 30 minutes, take out the ham bone and remove the meat from the bone. Add everything back into the soup, as well as the dried fruit along with the soaking water. Allow everything to simmer until lightly bubbly, about 3 hours. Take out the bone.
  • Knead the softened butter with flour and use it to stir the soup until creamy. Then boil strongly for 3 minutes so that the flour taste is lost. If you don't like the soup tied, omit this step.
  • Season with vinegar, sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  • Cut the eel fillets into wide pieces and add them to the soup together with the chopped herbs. Leave to infuse over a low heat for 15 minutes.

Pear garnish

  • Peel, quarter and core the pears.
  • Cook pears in lightly sugared water over medium heat until tender, 10 – 15 minutes. Then drain and leave to cool.

Tips & Hints

If desired, add flour dumplings. Recipe flour d umplings can be found here.
The soup is served together with the cooled pears.
Recipe Mehlmus dumplings
A simple soup garnish to make.
Open recipe



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