Thursday, January 14, 2010

For Your Soul

Thank you to everyone who made my mouth water with recipes for The Great Heavenly Soup Swap of 2010! I can't wait to try some of them out. I think I'll need to load up on potatoes, because it seems like you all love potato soup. Which means, you are a smart bunch.

I got a few requests for my Chicken Noodle Soup/Chicken & Dumplings recipe, and I DO apologize for taking so long. It's just that...I don't really have a recipe for those things. Not in their entirety, anyway. I have too much of my mom in me, and we don't like to follow recipes once we know what we're doing. And sometimes even when we have no clue, we still fly by the seats of our pants. But for you, FOR YOU, I'm writing down a recipe...more like a method, really. It's neither fancy nor special, just simple and delicious.

Chicken Noodle Soup

4 cups Chicken Broth (Homemade, all the way. I use a variation of Pioneer Woman's recipe.*)
1/4 onion, finely diced **
2 cloves garlic, super-finely diced**
1 Tbsp butter
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 Tbsp (more or less to taste) chicken base***
2 cups cooked chicken, pulled into bite-sized pieces
Salt & Pepper to taste
Your favorite egg noodles (I love the homemade kind, but if I can't manage, I buy frozen. And I usually can't manage. Dried noodles from the pasta aisle are perfect too. Whatever you prefer.)

* For the broth and cooked chicken, I only stray from PW's recipe slightly. I add 3 or so cloves of garlic, whole, and skip the seasoning salts. Sometimes I leave out the celery and carrots, too, since I always add them in my soup later anyway.

** My lactation consultant once told me, during a particularly awful wintertime bug, that the best thing I could do for relief was to eat homemade chicken noodle soup -- with LOTS of onions and garlic. They boost your immune system and the steamy soup just feels good going down. So, for any nursing moms who can't take decongestants, load up on the soup. It's not just a cliche!

*** Do you use Chicken base? It's like bouillon, but in a paste form. I don't know a thing about it, other than (a) Both my local small-town grocery store and Wal-mart carry it and (b) It's transformed my chicken soup. LOVE IT. You could substitute regular bouillon, but...I would furrow my brows and be sad for your soup.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Set aside until the rest of the soup is ready.

In a large soup pot, saute onion and garlic in butter until soft. Add celery, carrots, broth, and chicken base. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes, until veggies are tender. Taste the broth, and add salt & pepper as desired. If it's too rich (or salty), add as much water as needed to tame it down. If it's too bland, add more chicken base. Turn the heat down to low, and add the chicken pieces to be warmed. This can stay on low for awhile, or be eaten immediately with the addition of the cooked noodles.

See? Lauren loves it. She ate 3 bowls last night. Minus the bright, obvious carrots, of course.

Now. For Chicken and Dumplings, I start out the exact same way, omitting the noodles. You could put noodles in and then top it all with dumplings, but that seems awfully carb-alicious, no? Not that I have any thing against carbs. Au contraire. Carbs love me I and love Carbs. I've just never tried noodles and dumplings before. Anybody care to experiment and let me know how it goes?

Chicken and Dumplings

Basic Chicken Soup (same as above, minus noodles)
1/2 cup broth (skimmed from soup)
1 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Bisquick (or other baking mix)
2 cups Bisquick (or other baking mix)
2/3 cup milk

When soup is well-seasoned and perfect, steal 1/2 cup broth from it into a small bowl. Add 1 Tbsp butter and stir until melted. Add 1/2 cup baking mix (making a cheap roux, I think) and stir until smooth. Pour this into the waiting soup (which should be on low), thickening and smoothing it into a more stew-like mixture.

In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups baking mix and 2/3 cup milk just until combined to form a wet dough. Think: drop biscuits, but wetter. Scoop spoonfuls (maybe 1/4 cup per scoop?) of the dough directly on top of the (still simmering) chicken soup, dotting the entire surface. The dough will sink slightly into the soup, but not be completely submerged. Turn heat up just a tiny bit to medium-low, and let soup & dumplings cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Then cover, turn heat back down to low, and cook for 10 more minutes.

When time's up, the dumplings will still look a tiny bit moist on the tops, but should be completely cooked through -- soft and steamy -- on the inside. You can tear the top off of one if you're doubtful, but 10 minutes uncovered, followed by 10 minutes covered, should be perfect.

If you don't have baking mix, you could just substitute a few tablespoons of plain flour to the 1/2 cup broth and butter to make the thickener. I imagine it would work perfectly. And for the dumplings, I found this recipe (which I've never used, but I think looks easy enough):

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate small bowl, combine milk and oil. Add wet to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened, forming a wet dough. Drop by spoonfuls onto soup mixture (same as above) and cook (same as above.)

Whew! Do you see why I'm not a food blogger? I can't shut up long enough to let you go cook anything.

Nevertheless, I am finally finished.

Enjoy your soup!


  1. Ah, I have to make that soup now! :

  2. Lenae - I was hoping this would redeem me from the terrible email recipe of last week. Mission accomplished?

  3. Yuuummm... I want some chicken noodle now!! I'll have to dig up some energy for cooking!

  4. Ha ha! Actually, I liked the email recipe. It was like... a story, but with food measurements and stuff! It will be like an adventure every time I make it! ... But I'll probably print this version out too ;)

  5. Thanks for giving me the sudden urge to eat... even though I just ate a big meal like 2 hours ago!!!

    Both of these recipes sound scrumptious! I'll have to give them a whirl. And no, I've never used chicken base, so thanks for clueing me in on what it is. I wouldn't want you turning your nose up at my soup.

  6. I can smell that wonderful soup all the way down here!! I have to make it right away!! Thanks for sharing the secret!

    I have always been a cube girl myself, but I don't want your sad face here either, so maybe I'll try with paste next time!

  7. Thank you so much! I can't wait to make that soup, this weekend hopefully. I'll have to remember your tip about nursing moms. Thanks again!

  8. Thank you so yummy! You should re post this. . .


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?