Chicken and dumplings make up everything that my father’s side of the family is all about: carbs, meat, and vegetable things that just taste like more meat.
The pot-pie soup in my last book has become such a kitchen staple for so many of you. It’s an amazing feeling, but it also told me that I wasn’t going to get away with writing this book without a great chicken soup in it. So here we are: You start with a whole chicken’s worth of chicken, which you sear and simmer until it gives all its flavour to the broth. The dumplings are fluffy and doughy and tender and just spongy enough to absorb the savoury soup, and along with the chunks of chicken, turn this into a legit main-course situation.
FOR THE SOUP
1.8kg bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 rosemary sprig, or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, cut into 1-cm dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1-cm dice
2 celery stalks, cut into 1-cm dice
30g plain flour
1 large potato, peeled and diced
60 ml double cream (optional)
FOR THE DUMPLINGS
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
125g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Something green, for garnish (optional)
1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large casserole dish, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over a medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown the chicken until golden, about 4 minutes per side. (If the pot is looking a little dark on the bottom, splash in some water and scrape up any browned bits between batches, and keep those juices with the chicken).
2. Return all the chicken to the pot and add 2 litres water, the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and 1 tablespoon salt.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to gentle simmer, and cook for 1 hour.
4. Strain the stock through a colander set over a large bowl (there should be about 2 litres liquid; skim off some of the fat if you want). Discard the bay lead and herb sprigs. Using two forks or a pair of tongs, pick the chicken meat off the bones (discard the bones and skin and set aside).
5. In the same casserole dish, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until the carrots begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until all the flour has been absorbed and darkens a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the strained stock, the chicken meat and the potato, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the stock thickens, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream, if using. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. While the stock simmers, make the dumpling dough. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir gently with a fork until just incorporated (the batter with be thick; don’t overmix, which could toughen the proceedings). Spoon up 1 tablespoon of the batter and use a second spoon to push it off into the simmering soup. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover and cook until the dumplings are fluffy and tender, about 15 minutes.
7. Divide the soup and dumplings among bowls. Garnish with something green, if you want.
Recipe from Cravings: Hungry For More, by Chrissy Teigen, published by Michael Joseph, price £16.99.