Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest Post: Grandma’s Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Post by: Regina

[Regina and I work together, and got to know each other because there was a printer right outside of my cube.  Every time she came to pick up a printout we would chat for a while, and somehow managed to still chat even after we both had our cubes moved.  Well, technically the cubes are still in the same place but we were moved.  When work is slow we can easily spend the better part of the day looking for and emailing recipes to each other.]

I’m not actually sure of the provenance of this recipe.  It could in fact be a recipe from one of my own grandmothers.  At any rate, it’s a really tasty soup if you don’t mind that it takes the better part of a day to make. 
I have swapped out 2 cans of cream soup with a homemade version.  It adds another pot and a bit of time, but it is such an improvement.  I’m lactose intolerant, but with this substitution I was able to recreate the original soup, only tastier.   All of the veggie amounts below are rough.  I tend to use more than the amounts listed in the recipe so my husband and I don’t develop scurvy.  You can also use a slightly larger chicken, but increase the cooking time accordingly.  

Grandma’s Chicken and Dumpling Soup
Chicken broth: 
3-4 pound fryer chicken, cut up
6 cups cold water
3 chicken bouillon cubes (or 1 heaping Tbsp of chicken soup base from Penzeys)
6 peppercorns
3 whole cloves

Soup base:
Homemade condensed mushroom soup (recipe below; equal to 2 cans of creamed soup)
10 3/4 oz chicken broth
1 cup diced celery
1.5 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 large chopped onion
1 cup diced potatoes
1 bay leaf
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tsp season salt

Condensed mushroom soup:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter (or margarine)
8 small mushrooms, minced (or run through food processor)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk (soy works fine)
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg, well beaten
2 Tbsp melted butter (or margarine)
2/3 cup milk (soy works fine)

Place fryer, water, bouillon, peppercorns, and cloves in a 5 quart dutch oven.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is just cooked through.  (Chicken will cook again later so don’t get too paranoid). 

Remove chicken from the pot and let cool. 

Add soup base ingredients to pot. 

The condensed soup can be made at this time.

  • Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-high seat. 
  • Add minced mushrooms and cook until softened.  Season with salt and pepper. 
  •  Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and whisk to combine.  Cook this mixture for about 5 minutes, whisking often. 
  • Add milk and broth to the mixture and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. 
  • Once everything has thickened to a creamy consistency, remove from heat and add to the soup base. 
Simmer all soup base ingredients for 2-3 hours over medium-low heat.  During that time, remove chicken from the bones and add the shredded chicken to the pot.  To avoid overcooking the chicken I tend to add it during the last hour of simmering.

30 minutes before you want to eat, make the dumplings.  Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and pepper together. Add egg, butter, and milk to the dry ingredients.  You may need to add a bit more milk to make a moist, stiff batter.

Make sure the soup is at a low boil.  Drop teaspoons of batter into the soup.  The dumplings should be in a single layer and cover the entire pot.  Put the lid on immediately after dropping the last teaspoon.  Cook for 18 minutes without lifting the lid.  When you do open the lid, give the dumplings a poke.  If they seem solid they are done.

Eat. In my family whoever gets the whole peppercorns or cloves has to wash dishes that night.  My parents still don’t own a dishwasher. 

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