Saturday's Kitchen: Chicken and Dumpling Soup

I have to admit that I'm not usually a fan of soup. Well, perhaps I should rephrase, I do like soup, but generally only if it's a puree...

What I don't like is broth with stuff floating around in it. Everything gets all mushy and grey - it's mostly a textural issue, I would guess.

So when my husband found and offered to make this recipe from Bon Appetit, I wasn't exactly thrilled.

But the good news is, I really liked it. It had the cooked all day flavour that I enjoy without the mushy textured veggies! The reason being, the veggies used to make the broth/stock are discarded and new vegetables are added at the end. Genius!

7 1/2 pounds chicken wings

6 1/2 quarts low-salt chicken broth (preferably organic)
8 large carrots, thickly sliced, plus 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes
3 large onions, peeled, quartered
6 large celery stalks, thickly sliced, plus 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 large parsnips, thickly sliced, plus 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes
2 whole medium leeks, halved lengthwise, rinsed, thickly sliced crosswise, plus 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices of white and pale green parts
1 1/2 cups plus 2/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons chopped thyme, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

8 large whole allspice
3 fresh bay leaves
3 1/2 to 3 3/4 pounds large chicken breast halves with skin and bones (4 to 5)
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
Fresh-Herb Dumplings (recipe below)
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Combine chicken wings, broth, sliced carrots, onions, thickly sliced celery, sliced parsnips, thickly sliced leeks, 1 1/2 cups parsley, 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme, peppercorns, allspice, and bay leaves in 14- to 16-quart pot. Bring to simmer over high heat. Add chicken breast halves, skin side down, and push to submerge. Simmer until chicken breasts are just cooked through, turning once and adjusting heat to maintain gentle simmer, 20 to 25 minutes.

Transfer chicken breasts to rimmed baking sheet; continue to simmer broth. Cool chicken 20 minutes. Remove skin and pull all meat from bones (reserve skin and bones). Tear meat into bite-size pieces. Transfer meat to large bowl; cover and chill.

Add skin and bones from breast halves to simmering broth. Increase heat and cook broth at active simmer 1 hour 15 minutes. Strain broth into another large pot. If necessary, boil until reduced to 19 to 20 cups richly flavored broth. Discard chicken and vegetable mixture strained from broth. Cool broth 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.

Spoon fat from top of broth into saucepan. Heat just until melted. Pour fat into small bowl; return 6 tablespoons to pan. Add flour; blend until roux is smooth.

Bring broth in pot to simmer. Whisk 4 cups broth into roux and whisk over medium heat until mixture is smooth and comes to boil, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Add cubed carrots and parsnips to remaining broth in pot; add thinly sliced celery and leeks. Cover pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Whisk in roux mixture. Add chicken pieces and dumplings, then 2/3 cup parsley, 11/2 tablespoons thyme, and chives. Simmer to heat through; season with salt and pepper.

Fresh Herb Dumplings

3 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons chopped celery leaves
1 teaspoon plus 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Whisk first 7 ingredients, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and pepper in large bowl until blended. Whisk in flour (batter will be soft).

Bring large pot of water to boil. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt. Working with half of batter at a time, quickly add dumpling batter to pot by teaspoonfuls, submerging teaspoon with batter into boiling water each time and shaking spoon to dislodge batter. Cook dumplings at gentle boil until just tender (do not overcook), about 8 minutes per batch. Using large skimmer, transfer dumplings to large rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill.

Cook's Note: we used a whole chicken only; substituted carrots, celery and onion for the parsnips and leeks added at the end; and added a lot more flour to the dumpling recipe.

As you can probably tell, this recipe is not for the faint of heart - it's time consuming, but worth it in the end for a very rich, full bodied, soul warming soup!

As always, if you try it and like it, do let me know. Happy eats!

Saturday's Kitchen
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