I apologize for the lack of posts the past few weeks. I’ve been sick, and that means no energy for anything other than what’s necessary. Blogging might not have been, but cooking soup certainly has, so I thought you might enjoy one of the recipes I’ve been working on. Being a Southern gal, I’ve heard about chicken and dumplings being a “comfort food” all my life… but we never had the dish growing up because my dad wasn’t a fan. A few years ago I finally tried it and was surprised how delicious the flavors were! I wasn’t particularly keen on the consistency, so instead I’ve made a “soupy” version of my own. (Since I can eat soup any day of the week, especially when I’m feeling under the weather and need a little exta comfort!)
Chicken & Dumpling Soup
For the stock:
1/2 white onion
2 stalks celery
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, peeled
1 thyme sprig
3 garlic cloves
1 T. peppercorns
1 t. kosher salt
**I had leftover juice from baking a chicken, so that’s what I used as my stock base. If you don’t have that, you can add 6 cups of water and a) chicken breast b) chicken neck/leftover bones c) a little store-bought chicken stock for flavor
For the dumplings:
1 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
2-3 T. chopped chives
1/2 c. buttermilk (I didn’t have any, so I substituted 2% milk with the juice from half a lemon, plus a pinch of salt – it works about the same)
For the sauce:
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped into crescent moons
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. butter
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
1/4 c. flour
1 c. frozen peas
chicken meat, chopped (I used a whole chicken but you could just do 4 breasts)
1/2 c. half and half (or heavy cream if you’re so inclined)
chopped chives for garnish
salt and pepper
If you’re making the stock from scratch, fill a large stockpot with the liquid and ingredients listed above. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes.
While your stock is simmering, make the dumpling batter. Start with flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg, chopped chives and buttermilk. (As I mentioned before, if you don’t have buttermilk you can create the same taste with regular milk + lemon juice and a pinch of salt.) Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. It will look a little thick, like pancake batter.
When the stock is done, the veggies should be soft (and the liquid will smell delicious). Strain the stock to remove the large chunks of veggies and herbs. Set aside.
In a large pot over med-high heat, heat the butter and oil for the sauce. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute (until fragrant), add the other veggies – carrots, celery, onion – and the bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft (about 5 or 6 minutes). Add the 1/4 c. flour, stirring frequently to combine. Cook for about a minute after the flour is absorbed, stirring (don’t let it stick to the bottom of the pan).
Add all of the strained (or store-bought) chicken stock, a little at a time, constantly stirring and scraping up flour from the bottom of the pan. Add the frozen peas and turn to medium-low heat, cook for 20 minutes, then add the half and half (or cream) and chopped chicken. In small spoonfuls, drop the dumpling mixture to the pot, careful they do not touch (keep in mind they will expand). Cook for an additional 15 minutes or so, or until the dumplings are soft and puffy (but cooked through). Add salt and pepper to taste.
At the end, if you want to add some flour and whisk to make the sauce thicker, you certainly can. I did that the first time I made this dish, but discovered that the leftovers were just too mushy for my liking. Since then I’ve left it more liquid, which I like because it’s more “soupy” anyway. Garnish with chopped chives and serve. It’s so delicious – just like chicken pot pie in a bowl!
What is your favorite “comfort food”?
(Please note this recipe is adapted from Tyler Florence’s on Food Network)