German eelsoup 1845

German eelsoup 1845

This German eelsoup from 1845 comes from a cookbook with a long name like usual in that era; “Praktisches Kochbuch. Zuverlässige und selbstgeprüfte Recepte der gewöhnlichen und feineren Küche. Practische Anweisung zur Bereitung von verschiedenartigen Speisen, kalten und warmen Getränken, Gelees, Gefrornem, Backwerken, sowie zum Einmachen und Trocknen von Früchten, mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Anfängerinnen und angehenden Hausfrauen” written by Henriette Davidis. Or just “Praktisches Kochbuch” (practical cookbook) for short. She wrote it while living and working in Prussia; now Germany.

Links to the book are at the end of the post.

She became Germany’s most famous cookbook author; and she even has her own museum. The “Praktisches Kochbuch” became a standard in German households during the late 19th century and the ealry 20th century.

Smoked eel is a traditional dish where I live (the Netherlands) and I’m a big fan. I never had cooked and baked fresh eel though! And I love it. What a nice firm texture. It is also has little to no “fishy” taste or smell. I think a lot of people that do not like fish; will like eel.

In this German eelsoup recipe the European eel is used. I think it probably will work with American, Japanese, Southern African and New Zealand longfin eel too. If they are not on the “critical endangered” list.

Édouard Manet, 1864.

I used small eels; max a fat thumb thick. You leave the bones in them and chew the flesh of the spine and bones. If you have a big fat eel you can cut the spine and bones out before using it (filleting). Although in this cookbook they often skin eels; in this recipe the skin is left on.

The soup can be served with a chunk of bread or a slice of bread toasted in a pan with butter. If you want to eat it like they did in 1845. The soup already has quite some butter in it; so you could also toast your bread in a toaster or oven. You can also put a bit of mustard on your toast or bread.

Eelsoup 1845

Recipe by (Stef Bruurs)Course: DinnerCuisine: German


Prep time


Cooking time



A German eelsoup with carrots and peas from the year 1845.


  • 500 gr/17 oz fresh or frozen peas

  • 1 kilo/34 oz carrots

  • 1 kilo/35 oz eel

  • 5,5 tablespoons of butter

  • Breading/panko

  • 8 tablespoons of flower

  • 2 teaspoons of grounded white pepper

  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg

  • 2 eggyolks

  • 1 tablespoon of cream


  • Put the diced/sliced carrots in a pan, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt and water untill they are all under water. Let the water cook for 5 minutes; add the peas and cook another 5 minutes or untill done.
  • In the meantime; chop the eels up in pieces as long as a half finger, put them in a pan with water until they are covered, add 1 teaspoon salt and cook untill half done; 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the eel from the water (save the water) and roll them through breading.
  • Take a pan, melt 5 tablespoons of butter and bake the eels brown. Remove the eels again.
  • Put the flour in the pan and let it brown a bit. Add the pepper, and nutmeg.
  • Now slowly, while stirring, add the water you cooked the eel in. Really slowly to prevent lumps.
  • Add the peas and carrots with their water and the eel. If you think the soup is too thick; add some more water.
  • Stir the eggyolks with 2 spoons of the soup-water.
  • Turn of the heat; add the yolks while stirring and a big tablespoon of cream.
  • Add salt to taste. I ended up adding an half tablespoon extra.

Books on the recipe of eelsoup:

German version of the book on Kindle, hardcover and paperback.

A Dutch Translation: Keukenboek (1868) by H. Davidis.