Saturday, December 10, 2005

Warm Bowl of Love

As winter has arrived, it's time for soup. Last night I made my Chicken Dumpling Soup. I know it was my grandmother's recipe and one of the few things that my mother made well. Whenever my grandmother made it, the soup was a full days affair.

Although the soup can be a full days affair, I do take a few liberties to quicken the recipe up. Last night I made it faster than ever only took about an hour, maybe an hour and a half...and the funny thing is, I didn't even use some of the 'shortcuts' I've done in the past.

A while back, Giant had chicken thighs on sale, so I bought and extra pack and thought I'd save them for the "Tagine Chicken." No, I used those last night. When they thawed out, I put them in a large kettle and covered with water, allowing about and extra inch of water, to accommodate the veg.

I used 1/2 a head of celery, including the leaves, roughly chopped. About 1/2 lb of baby carrots, roughly chopped. And 1 onion, cut into eight pieces. Threw in 2 bay leaves and a few peppercorns. A tsp of salt. And because I thought why not, a shake or two of 'poultry' seasoning.

I allowed the pot to simmer for about 1/2 hour. This cooks the chicken and extracts all the flavors from the veg.

I removed from the heat and scooped out the chicken. I strained the stock and discarded the veg.

While the chicken cooled, I prepared the final veg. The carrots, onion, celery. When cool to touch, I removed the chicken meat from the bones, taking care not to get any extra fat, skin and other unpleasant by products of meat-gristly stuff. I added the chicken meat back to the pot.

Again, simmer until the veg are tender.

Dumpling. Last night was the easiest time I've had with the dumplings...don't know why. I used two eggs, and about 2 cups of flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, Mrs. Dash and some more poultry seasoning. Drop bite size pieces of the dough into the soup. They float almost immediately, but based on size can take sometime too cook. I usually allow at least ten minutes before serving.

The soup was great. Using the chicken thighs brought a whole extra layer of flavor via the perfect flavor vehicle...FAT! I did have to skim off about two-thirds of the fat, otherwise it would have been too much....but chicken fat provides this amazing mouth feel and flavor that a homemade soup needs!

I hope you have an opportunity to try this soup....I'm sure my grandmother would love to know more people are enjoying her soup.

As I think the original recipe post says, use boneless/skinless breasts for a healthy version of the soup. When I do that, I do add some boullion cubes for extra 'chicken' flavor. If you want an inbetween version, use chicken pieces and just remove the skin. You'll get some of the flavor, but less of the fat.


Dancer in DC said...

Love, love, love. This soup is one of the reasons that we've been together for 6 years!

I should also remind everyone that it actually gets better the longer it sits. The second day it's divine, the third day it's unreal.

Stef said...

ooooh, it sounds so good. I have to get my crock pot fired up and make some good chicken dishes soon.

DC Food Blog said...

That sounds like a big bowl of love. I make my own version with leftover roast chicken and homemade chicken stock. I love the fact that this soup gets better with age.

Anonymous said...

Yummy! I too have used roast chicken in the past. Nothing like Chiken Dumplings to warm the soul during cold weather. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Stef said...

btw, Ray Ray just made "mint chocolate chip cookies" by making a boxed mix of choc chip cookies, adding mint extract, and then adding GREEN FOOD COLORING. Choc Chip Cookies should NOT be another color!

ScottE. said...

I know, I watched her...1) I've never seen dried prepacked cookie dough...and 2) once they browned on the edge, they looked like crap.

I'm sure the mint would have been fine, but that's it...ray ray, sometimes you just drive me crazy.

Brunette said...

Sigh. "Mint" does NOT equal "green."

And the soup sounds wonderful. Chicken soup is awesome on its own, but I'm such a sucker for dumplings!

ScottE. said...

Hey all...

Just a chicken dumpling soup has dumplings that are more like a matzo ball, unlike the 'dumplings' you'll get in a more southern dish. Make sense? They are firm and float in the very brothy soup.

I had my bowl that has been sitting in the fridge since Friday night...divine!!!

Chilefire said...

Just wanted to let you know that I think we are going to smoke a couple of chickens this coming weekend and try your recipe with the left over smoked chicken. I can't wait.

ScottE. said...

Chilefire: That's great, you'll have to let us know how things turn out...if you have any questions, let me know....!!!!

JON said...

nothing to do with dumpling soup here (although it sounds spectacular), but I'm thinking about makling the sweet potatoes you had for Thanksgiving for our Christmas Eve dinner. Anythying you'd do differently? It's just a dinner for two, so obvioulsy I'll cut the recipe down.

ScottE. said...

JON: I wouldn't change a thing this year with the sweet potatoes...the recipe, as written had enough sweet potatoes for 10 people, with no leftovers! And I was sad there were no leftovers!!! Good luck.