Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Chicken Dumpling Soup

Today I stayed home sick from work. I woke up with a swollen and sore throat. I probably could have made it in, but since it is slow this week between the holidays, I figured why push it? And, so I stayed home and cooked up a cure of chicken dumpling soup. I would have made chicken noodle, but I didn't have egg noodles on hand and dumlings came to mind since my brother mentioned while I was home for Christmas that he had eaten my mom's chicken dumpling soup recently.
Now you might not feel like cooking when you're sick, but making chicken soup is almost as good a cure as eating it. There's nothing that cleans out the sinuses like dicing an onion. Also, most of the time is spent simmering while I relax on the couch. I did have to walk down the street to get the chicken, but the fresh air energized me. I feel much better now after eating two bowls for dinner, so I think the effort was well worth it.

First make the broth:
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 pounds whole chicken legs (with thighs attached) each cut through the bone into 3 or 4 pieces
1 onion cut into chunks
1 stalk of celery with leaves, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 carrot cut into 1 inch pieces
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
2 bay leaves

Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat and brown the chicken pieces in two batches. Place the browned chicken in a bowl. Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot to the pan and saute vegetables. Add chicken back into the pan, cover, and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken juices release. Add water, salt, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the broth is flavorful and the vegetables are mushy. Reserve the chicken. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and reserve for the soup. Strain the broth and discard the vegetables. Allow the broth to cool and then remove the fat from the top by either spooning it off or using a fat separator. If you make this a day ahead, it is easier to wait and remove the fat after it is refrigerated.

For the Soup:

1 Tablespoon chicken fat (skimmed from top of broth)
1 onion, diced fine
1 carrot peeled and sliced
1 rib celery diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Chicken Broth

Heat the chicken fat in the cleaned dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute onion, carrot and celery until soft. Stir in the thyme, chicken, and the broth. Prepare the dumpling dough and wait for the soup to come to a simmer. Before adding dumplings, taste the broth for salt and pepper and add if necessary.

Dumpling Dough:

1 egg
2/3 cup milk
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence

Mix the wet ingredients together, then add all dry ingredients at once and stir to combine. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto simmering soup. Cover the pot, turn heat to a low simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley if you have it. Enjoy!

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