A Guest Post by my Honey Girl
From the way my mom has taught me and talked to me about baking, I know each of her meals and after school treats for us were made with love. My mom’s cooking is one way that she cares for us everyday. She’s always said that you can taste the difference if you cook angrily, and that she believes her food tastes tired if she feels tired. And as corny as it sounds, I think she is right. Each dough she kneads and vegetable she chops is given what our family calls a “love infusion.” And ever since I was a little girl when we get sick we request chicken and dumpling soup. Years later, mom’s signal to start plucking a chicken and chopping up carrots is a sniffle. Just recently I woke up while I was home over break with a cold and mom made me her magic soup. After spending months away at college little things like showering without flip-flops and having socks magically appear clean and folded in my room are just few of the comforts of home I miss. But these daily comforts pale in comparison to the feeling of being cared for by your mom when sick. Finishing off a bowl of chicken and dumpling soup makes all the difference and is one such meal where the love in her food is almost palpable. My Norweigan great grandfather made this soup for my mother, she made it for me and for my brother, and some day I hope to make it for my little ones when they are sick.
Egg Dumpling Tips
This is a gosh-and-by-golly recipe and I have never measured the ingredients. Begin with beaten eggs. Sprinkle in a bit of flour and stir. Add a bit more. It will appear that it is going to be a hopelessly lumpy mess. Add a bit more flour. Adding a few tablespoons at a time and stirring just a bit to get a sense of whether or not you’re getting close, continue this process until the egg and flour begin to come together and have a little stretch. You’ll feel it. If the mixture is too loose, the dumplings will be too dense. If you add too much flour, they become fairly tasteless puffballs. You’re looking for cohesive batter with a little tug, a little stretch, as you mix it or lift the spoon. As soon as you get there, stop adding flour.
This recipe also falls into the gosh-and-by-golly category in that you can add whatever you like. In fact, when I have been quite ill, I have just brought some chicken stock to a simmer and made dumplings alone. Add whatever you have. A leek is nice, a bit of onion, carrots, celery or celery leaves, a little garlic, cubed roasted chicken, parsley. If you have a bunch of dill, waving the bunch through the broth adds nice flavor, too.
You can make these dumplings any size. We prefer to use a dinner teaspoon. You can make tiny dumplings or large ones, too. Just adjust your cooking time a bit.
The finished dumplings should be eggy and chewy.
Chicken Soup with Egg Dumplings
Yield: about four servings
4 c. chicken stock (preferably homemade)
some cubed roasted chicken, perhaps 1 c.
a small onion and/or a small leek, diced
a few carrots, peeled and cut into coins
a few stalks of celery and their leaves, diced
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
a handful of parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
- Warm a soup pot over medium low heat. When it is warm, drizzle in just a touch of olive oil and add the garlic. Saute for one minute, or until fragrant.
- Pour in the stock, the chicken, onion, leek, carrots, and celery and bring it to a simmer. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the dumplings. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and season them with salt and pepper fairly generously. Stir in flour bit by bit until the mixture comes together and there is a slight tug on the spoon.
- Remove the pot from the burner and wait for the simmering to cease.
- When the stock is still, using two teaspoons, scoop a mound of egg dumpling batter with one spoon and scrape it off and into the pot with the other spoon. Continue making dumplings and placing them into the stock, placing them with a bit of room between them. Allow them to rest in the hot broth for about two minutes or until they are beginning to set.
- Return the pot to the burner and bring the stock to a low simmer. Simmer the dumplings for about three minutes, or until they are pale and beginning to rise. Turn over the dumplings and simmer for another three minutes, or until they are cooked through.
- Scatter in the parsley. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.