Czech Liver Dumpling Soup (Polevka z Jatrove Knedlicky)

Dish of two liver dumplings
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Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Czech liver dumpling soup or polevka z jatrove knedlicky is a favorite starter before a big of feast of roast duck or pork cutlets with bread dumplings and braised red cabbage.

The best liver to use for the dumplings is calf's liver because it is tender with a minimum of gristle.


  • For the Soup:
  • 2 pounds beef neck bones (or 1 pound beef chuck or other soup meat)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 large carrots (peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • For the Liver Dumplings:
  • 1 pound calf liver (gristle and veins removed, and ground twice)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (more or less)
  • Optional: splash milk (if too thick)

Steps to Make It

Make the Soup 

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large saucepan, place beef neck bones, onion, whole carrots, tomato paste, whole rib of celery, and 6 cups water.

  3. Cook until meat is tender. Strain, reserving the broth. Return broth to the saucepan and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Make the Dumplings 

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large bowl, combine ground liver, egg, garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and breadcrumbs, adjusting with milk if too thick.

  3. Shape into walnut-sized balls. Bring broth to a boil and drop dumplings in. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered for 15 minutes.

  4. While dumplings are cooking, cut meat from bones into bite-sized pieces and cut the carrots and celery into bite-sized pieces.

  5. When dumplings are cooked, return meat and vegetables to soup, if desired, but most Czech liver dumpling soups feature a clear broth.

  6. Serve and enjoy!