This is not a cooking blog. I do like to write about food though. Not in a “Look at me and how amazing I am at this” kind of way. More like you’re a dear friend and I want to talk dirty about something that I tried and loved. I could talk about food and cooking endlessly. In fact, when I sit to write and nothing is happening, I start by writing about food, making lists of food, writing out how-to’s.
One of my favorite pieces of writing I’ve done over the years (non-blog) is an Ode to making soup, inspired by Jane Hirshfield’s poem “Da Capo”. It’s a scene where I’m making soup with my first child. He’s three or so. I’m pregnant with his brother. Part recipe, part memoir, it’s about the abundance of everything in that moment. So much love, so much tiredness, tenderness. It makes me ache to even think about it. My tiny kitchen, six floors up, with West End Avenue humming below. Cold and dark outside, but my kitchen balmy, the window blurred with steam. Stirring soup with a wooden spoon. It’s so simple, really. Nourishing, gracious, one dish. Using what you have on hand to make something satisfying. Food may not be love, but a warm bowl of soup comes close.
This is a new one I tried this fall and it’s been a regular ever since.
Adapted from “Mad Hungry” by Lucinda Scala Quinn
FOR THE SOUP:
- 1 3-4 lb chicken
- a few swirls of olive oil (I’ve also used grapeseed and canola)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 4 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
- 8-10 cups low sodium chicken broth (or enough to barely cover chicken, you can use some water)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Fresh pepper
FOR THE DUMPLINGS
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk (you may need more)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill (or parsley) Please use fresh dill if you can get it as it really makes the dish!
- Sauté onions in oil until translucent (8-10 minutes)
- Add garlic and cook for a minute or two.
- Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes (it should be sizzling, but don’t burn).
- Place chicken on top, add broth to almost cover.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer for 50 minutes.
- Lift out the chicken and let cool.
- Add the salt and pepper to broth to taste.
- When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred into large pieces (You may not need all of it for soup).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir in the milk and dill or parsley to combine. (Batter should be thicker than pancake batter, but thinner than biscuit batter)
- Drop the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time onto the simmering broth. (Very low simmer)
- Cover and cook until the dumplings have cooked through 3 to 4 minutes.
- Return the shredded chicken to the pot.
- Add fresh chopped parsley
- Reheat on low heat for 1 minute.
- Serve in wide bowls with big spoons.