Favorite Fall Soups (Part 1. Chicken & Dumplings)

Posted on November 02 2016

I feel a little cheated living in Florida during the cold-weather months, because it's in the mid-80's and yet I've still managed to catch a cold. Nothing beats homemade comfort food when you're sick, especially soup. Growing up, one of my favorite dishes my mother would make was chicken and dumplings. While that's not exactly a soup, it's close enough that we're going to count it anyways. 

Since becoming an adult and moving out of my mother's house, I've only had her chicken and dumplings a few times during visits over the years. I've always wanted to try my hand at making it so that my family can enjoy it as much as I did, but I didn't want to run the risk of it turning out differently and tarnishing the memory for myself. Tonight, that changes. I braved the grocery store earlier with arms full of children and face full of congestion to get everything I needed to finally introduce this delicious meal to my boys.

I have a pretty high opinion of this dish, and because food is something that ought to be shared, I've included my mother's recipe below. As many times as I've watched her make it, I can attest that it is not as complex as it may seem. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I have. Happy cooking!

-Maddie Rose

 

Chicken and Dumplings


Ingredients:
The Chicken Part:
1 rotisserie chicken
1 large onion
4 stalks celery
2 carrots
3 medium potatoes
Parsley – about 1 T
Basil – about 1 T
Garlic – at least 1 t powdered
3 chicken bullion cubes
2 bay leaves
Butter
3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
The Dumplings Part:
1 C flour
2 t baking powder
½ t salt
1 egg
Milk

Tools:
Bowl for chicken
Non-latex gloves (trust me, you want these)
Knife and cutting board
Pan to sauté in
Large pot with lid
Bowl to mix dumplings

Process:

  • Put on the non-latex gloves and pull all the meat you can off the chicken and set aside
  • Chop the onion and celery:
    • In a pan on medium heat, sauté the onion and celery in about 1 T of butter until the onion goes opaque  
    • Remove from heat and set aside
  • Throw into the large pot:
    • The potatoes (chopped into ¾ inch cubes – or thereabouts)
    • The carrots (sliced)
    • And everything else on the Chicken Part list, including the bowl of chicken meat you peeled off the chicken and the sautéed onion and celery
  • Bring everything in the pot to a boil and then put the lid on it and simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until the potatoes and carrots are soft but not falling apart
  • At this point, take the lid off and keep simmering to reduce the stock a little.  WHILE THIS IS HAPPENING, YOU CAN MIX UP THE DUMPLINGS!!!!
Here is the process for the dumplings.  I use the recipe from the Joy of Cooking.  I have tried other methods and recipes and this one is the best.  Sometimes you have to cook them longer than 10 minutes, though.
The 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking (Canada, UK) offers this as the basic dumpling recipe: mix together a cup of cake flour, 2 teaspoons of double-acting baking powder, and 1/2-teaspoon of salt. In a measuring cup, break one egg and add enough milk to bring the volume up to 1/2 cup and blend. Stir the liquid into the dry ingredients; add more milk if necessary, but you want to keep a stiff batter. You can add a little chopped parsley, herbs, or onion, if you like, before mixing. Bring several cups of stock to a boil in a sauce pan, reduce to a simmer, and drop the batter by the spoonful into the stock. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve at once.

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