Before bread became affordable for anyone in Germany, a thick soup made from grains was commonly served as breakfast. This rice soup is a very noble version because rice is no indigenous German crop. Peasant versions of this soup have most likely been made from barley, oats, farro, or millet.
However, rice really gives you the best texture and taste for this kind of soup. In Germany, thick soups like this one are classified as ‘Schleimsuppe’ which literally translates to ‘slime soup’. The slimy texture of overcooked grains used to be very popular in Germany but nowadays these soups have lost a lot of their popularity.
Oatmeal used to be also called oat slime (‘Haferschleim’) in Germany. However, the food industry has rebranded this dish to the English term oatmeal which sounds a little fancier to customers.
I still love this soup because of its simplicity and surprisingly deep and subtle flavor. The beef ribs melt in your mouth like butter once they’ve been simmered in the soup. The rice is mushy and gives the soup just the right amount of substance.
Some people might claim that you need to use chicken broth or else this soup will come out plain and boring. That is not true. Rice soup is all about subtlety. In fact, a chicken broth makes the end result tasty but it alters the flavor profile of the soup drastically taking away from its purity of flavor.
It’s a kind of comfort food that many people might know from their grandma’s kitchen. It might’ve fallen out of favor with many Germans but I think there’s hardly anything better than rice soup on a cold and rainy day.