Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

You know when its coming... the scratch in the back of your throat, the subtle ache in your forehead that lurches further and further back and the feeling of complete exhaustion when you climb the three flights of stairs to your apartment. You have the flu. Its useless to blame your co-worker or the sneezing man on public transit, you're just sick. And as you may have heard, this year's a rough one.

Luckily I've not been plagued yet this year (I pray this post isn't a bad omen), but the Husband was struck the week after Christmas. What to do for a poor sickling? I'm no doctor, but my best recommendation for the flu is simple... chicken and dumpling soup.

Sure the soup is comforting a mild enough to tolerate with an upset tummy, but there is scientific evidence that suggests it may actually help. For realsies. 

On the less scientific side, I think dumplings are yummier in soup that noodles. I mean, why would you want a boxed noodle when you could have a pillow-soft, dough-y bite? This recipe hails from my Stepmother and is always on hand if one of us is sick. Being that the Husband was a few hundred miles away from her, I took it upon myself to prepare it.

Did it immediately heal the Husband? No, but I'd like to think it made him feel loved and warm and fuzzy inside. Sigh...

Chicken and Dumpling Soup
For stock
4 bone-in chicken breasts
3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped with leaves
1 onion, roughly chopped
10 cups water

For soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 carrots, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For dumplings
1 cup flour
1 egg
3-4 tablespoons milk

In a large stock pot, combine chicken, carrots, celery and onion; cover with 10 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour. Remove chicken to a plate and allow to cool slightly before removing and discarding skin. Strain stock to remove carrots, onions and celery; discard.

In a clean pot heat olive oil, then add finely chopped carrots, celery and onion. Cook until softened; about 15-20 minutes. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, roughly chop and pull chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add strained stock back to pot, along with chicken, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, egg and milk. The mixture will be quite lumpy and gooey. Add dumplings by hand to simmering stock. Continue cooking until dumplings float; about 5 minutes.

Serve warm.

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