It’s hard to beat a good bowl of soup. Some say ‘cup’ of soup, but I’ve never really sat down and had just a cup without going in for seconds (or wanting to) on that cup refill. Chicken and dumpling soup has a bit of nostalgia for me. I think, and I am pretty confident of remembering when my grandma was making this soup on her small stove top when I was pretty darn young. I remember her spooning the dumpling mixture into a pot of soup and that’s all I knew at that time of chicken and dumpling soup.
This soup, granted I make chicken soup all of the time (and variations of it) is one that I don’t make all that often, however the dumplings are such an easy add in and take no time at all to make. This is my take on chicken and dumplings, and however you form (or cut) your dumplings, this bowl of soup is not only sure to please, but it’s just a bowl of comfort that will take you down memory lane.
Let’s get started.
Ingredients for the chicken soup base:
- 1 whole chicken, neck, gizzard, etc removed
- 4 ribs celery, cleaned, roughly chopped
- 1 onion, skinned, quartered
- 2 whole carrots, cleaned, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
- 1 whole bay leaf
Ingredients for the chicken soup:
- 4 ribs celery, cleaned, diced
- 2 whole carrots, peeled, cut into thick coins
- 1/2 onion, diced
- salt, to taste
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
Ingredients for the dumplings:
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
Sounds like a lot, but it is not, trust me. Making the soup is essentially a two part process. First part, make a great stock, strain to reserve the liquid, discard the vegetables, and pick off the chicken meat. Next, cook the fresh veggies in the stock and chicken until your desired tenderness, and finish with the dumplings. It’s all worth it, and trust me, making your own stock or broth is the way to go for any great soup.
Start by getting a large enough stock pot to hold the chicken and have it submerged in water, and do just that. Add the chicken stock ingredients, let it come to a slow boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 2 hours. During this cook time, skim off any of the scum that settles on the top. You can do this with a spoon or ladle, and lightly submerging just below the scum and scooping it up, and discarding it. Continue to check for scum and discard.
Towards the end of the cook time, prepare your soup ingredients and have those ready.
Strain the stock, reserving all of the liquid. That’s the gold. I use a fine mesh sieve known as a chinois, but use a strainer of sorts to remove as many of the solids as possible. You want a nice, clean stock.
Remove the chicken from the strainer and place it on a plate to cool.
Clean out the stock pot and start fresh, or use another cooking vessel to hold all of the soup. Add in the stock, and fresh vegetables. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Once the chicken is cooled, begin shredding the white and dark meat and adding it to the stock. Give the soup a stir, cover, and continue cooking for about a hour. Season with salt and pepper.
During this time, make the batter for the dumplings. Add in the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix well to form a bit of a wet dough.
Take a couple of spoons, and with a spoon in one hand, add about one teaspoon (or greater) to the spoon, then slide off with the other spoon into the soup. Continue with however many dumplings you desire.
Let the dumplings cook for about 10 minutes, then ladle the soup into your serving bowls and dig in.
There is something about the dumpling that trumps a noodle. Don’t get me wrong, I like chicken noodle soup, but the dumpling has this old school attitude that is not only rustic, but just darn basic and delicious. The fresh rosemary and thyme really make the dumpling stand out and leave you with some curiosity. You get a different texture from the dumpling, and that may surprise you but then the flavor within the dumpling just elevates that curiosity.
This is a simple bowl of soup, and in all honesty brought back some memories of my grandma, someone who unfortunately escaped my thoughts up until now. So this is one is for her. Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy.