Anger Burger

Soup-cation

Posted by Sunday on Dec 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

As you may know, Mike the Viking doesn’t eat soup.  Soup is for invalids and babies — creatures that have no place in the Viking hierarchy.  Which is why when I traditionally flee his hut over the winter solstice (when he is busy communing with Ullr) I head to my mother’s and start making soup.

Chief amongst soups the Viking finds abominable is chicken and dumplings, so naturally I made it immediately.

Chicken thighs.  An ode:

o my chicken thighs
how very precious you are
gonna eat that bitch

The thing about chicken and dumplings is that for years now – YEARS – I have been trying to make “the perfect” dumpling, and I simply cannot.  I spoke of Niffles, and I assure you, Niffles are leaden balls of lead.  I mean dough.

I’ve tried rendering down my own chicken fat to make the dumplings from.  Nope.

I can tell you that leeks are also magical, particularly in soups.  All the magic of onions but without scaring off people that pretend to not like onions.

Oh!  I almost forgot: so, at one point while my mom and I were cooking this pot of chicken and dumplings, I said to her “Why don’t you get the herbs.”  After a few minutes I turned around and saw this, just as you see it:

My mother, for no reason at all and certainly without intentionally trying to be strange, formed some kind of herb-henge on the counter.  I don’t know what else to call it.  Perfect little piles of fresh herbs, laid out about 12 inches apart.  When I asked her what she was hoping to achieve she told me to mind my own damn business.  Now you know as much as I do.

Back to the dumplings.  The solution to my years of effort?  Bisquick.

Yep, Bisquick, that quick mix of biscuits we all know.  Made according to the instructions on the side of the box, with an addition of fresh herbs.  Of all the stupid damn things.  The outsides were creamy and soft and the insides were fluffy and cooked through, just like a baked biscuit.  As a wise man once said, you gotta know when to fold ‘em.

Chicken-n-Dumplings
makes about 4 servings – the dumplings don’t keep terribly well, so halve the the dumpling portion of the recipe if you’re planning on serving just to two people and keeping the leftovers. the next time you eat the soup, either make another batch of dumplings or do what my mom likes to do and boil down some fresh egg noodles in the soup and turn it into chicken noodle.

2 – 3 pounds of chicken thighs, bone-in and with skin still on
1 box of chicken broth (about 4 or 5 cups) plus 1 cup of water
2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 large white onion, diced small
2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup frozen peas or freshly chopped carrots (optional)
salt and pepper to taste (lots of both!)
fresh rosemary, sage and parsley to taste – about 3 Tbsp. of total chopped volume

Bisquick dumplings, made according to directions on box, with 1 Tbsp of the fresh herbs added

  • First, pull the skin off the chicken thighs and throw it away.  I know: why buy it with the skin on and then remove it?  Because we want some chicken fat still on the thighs, but not all of it.  The pre-skinned thighs are always much too clean.  Place the chicken thighs in a large soup pot with the box of chicken broth and additional cup of water and the two bay leaves.  Turn heat to medium, bring to a low simmer, reduce heat to low and cook until chicken is done, about 20 – 30 minutes depending on the size of the thighs.  Don’t worry about it too much, the meat will be cooked one more time.
  • Remove the thighs from the broth, set aside to cool at room temperature, and reserve the entire pot with the broth, fat and all to a rear burner over low-low heat.  Fish the bay leaves out and throw them away.
  • While the thighs are cooling, clean (CLEAN!) the leeks and then chop them along with the onions and carrots, if using.  In a saute pan, cook the veggies over medium-high heat in the butter and olive oil until just beginning to color, about 7 – 10 minutes.  To this, add the flour and stir to evenly coat and wet through the veggies and fat.  Allow to cook another 3 minutes.
  • Doing one ladle at a time, add three ladles of warm chicken broth to the saute pan of veggies and flour, and stir quickly – you’ve made a roux, or thickener, and if you don’t stir it will turn to glue.  When you’ve got a nice thick but runny slurry, dump the slurry back into the pot of chicken broth on the back burner.  Put the saute pan in the sink, move the pot of broth and veggies to the front burner, and bring up to a low simmer over medium-low heat.
  • While it’s coming up to heat, tear the now-cool chicken thigh meat off the bones.  Toss it into the soup.
  • Simmer the soup for about 10 – 15 minutes to thicken and marry the flavors.  If using, add the frozen peas at some point during this process, along 2 tablespoons of the fresh herbs.
  • While the soup is simmering, prepare the dumplings according to the package’s instructions and add 1 tablespoon of the chopped fresh herbs.  Making sure the soup is at a good solid simmer — almost a boil — drop the dumplings in and cook according to the box, which is basically to cook uncovered for 10 minutes and then covered for an additional 10.
  • Eat and rejoice.
December 21st, 2010 | Make It So

10 Responses to Soup-cation

  1. Vita says:

    OMG I think I love your mother. Herb-henge is awesome! She’s an artiste, I see where you get it.
    I was also going to suggest Bisquick, as it makes The Perfect Dumplings, every time, dammit! I wish it wouldn’t. I wish there were some reliable recipe that we Renaissance women could use. But you know what intelligence is? Being able to apply the right tool to the task at hand. And that tool, in this case is Bisquick.
    Delish.

  2. Charis says:

    If you really wanna be lazy, you can also use those cans of biscuit dough for the dumplings. It’s what my mom does for her pea & dumpling dish :3

  3. KevinQ says:

    I’ve always had good luck with these dumplings.
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-and-Dumplings-240818

    Also, I am no longer capable of making chicken soup without tons of turmeric.

    K

  4. helen says:

    That soup looks well nice. What is it with men and soup? Mine refuses to eat it past 2pm and refuses to believe that it is a meal.

  5. Carrie Anne says:

    I think I’m going to start referring to my cat Zorro as “Niffles.”

  6. Misa says:

    I’m partial to my mom’s dumplings she makes with Korean flour. It’s simply the flour, water and egg, yet, I can never make them like her…it’s annoying! My favorite part is running back and forth to the kitchen after dinner and fishing the dumplings out after they’ve been siting for a while. They don’t get mushy like most dumplings but still absorb the soup. It’s a mind-boggling game I don’t know how to play.

  7. Vita says:

    Hey, so thanks for this. I’m having chicken and dumplings for Christmas Eve dinner.
    Merry festivus.

  8. alice says:

    i have a recipe for dumplings that uses heavy cream and it’s pretty fucking dope. if you want it.

  9. danielle says:

    Holy crap. Sunday, if I didn’t have a sore throat I would kiss you on the mouth for this chicken soup recipe. Maybe that’s too forward bc we don’t know each other, but the recipe is delicious and way easier than my grandma’s (bc apparently she has a lot of extra time on her hands to dilly-dally in the kitchen). In this post-nye crazy LA weather, this is exactly what my sore throat and I need. Thanks! Danielle

  10. Vita says:

    I can’t tell you how much I love this recipe. I make it all the time. It’s so easy, and has that ‘Chicken Soup’ flavor you wish your homemade soup would taste like, but it never did before. I love the absence of ‘poultry seasoning’ per se, and play with what I add to the dumplings- I like lots of black pepper.
    I come here when I want to make it, not really because I need to refer to the instructions anymore, but out of some kind of soup solidarity.

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