We have had very strange weather here in New England this year. Here it is, December 23, and the only snow we have had was back in late October. This week we have had loads of rain with thunder and lightening. The kind of weather that screams out for comfort food. To us, comfort food usually involves something with roasted chicken. To me, comfort food means coming in the back door and having the house smell of yummy dinner that has been well thought out and prepared by my personal chef… aka my husband. When he is out of town I need to fend for myself and often resort to childhood comfort food recipes.
This was one of my favorites as a little girl. My grandmother on my father’s side was an amazing cook. Her apartment always smelled of soups that she would be making as we walked up the flight of stairs to see her. She loved to feed people and she was quite good at it. Lately, we have all been reminiscing about her chicken and dumplings. No one can seem to recreate those dumplings. I think we all gave up and have learned to make dumplings our own way. This is our recipe, an updated classic with the use of lemon and cilantro.
Begin by roasting a chicken. We like to insert butter and rosemary sprigs under the skin and stuff the cavity with lemons and some additional rosemary. When the chicken is done set it aside. Allow it to rest and then remove the skin (or if you are like me…eat it!) and then shred some of the breast for the soup.
We always have chicken stock on hand in the freezer. Make a simple soup by adding the stock with some water, diced carrots, diced celery and diced onions. Bring it to a boil and add in the shredded chicken.
In the meantime create the dumplings.
Begin by combining the dry ingredients.
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 cup of corn meal
1 T of sugar
1 t kosher salt
1 3/4 cup of whole milk or heavy cream
Now here is a tip. We did not have any corn meal on hand. The corn meal tends to make the dumplings less gummy in that floury sort of way. We did, however, have a box (and I hope my traveling husband does not fall off of his chair reading this over in England) of Jiffy Corn Bread Mix (we tend to not use pre-mixed anything in our house but I cheat on this rule sometimes when he is away). So I substituted the corn meal with the corn bread mixture and it was a great replacement.
When the dry ingredients have been combined add in the milk or heavy cream. I used cream.
Using your cookie dough scoop, scoop out the dumpling mixture and drop it into the boiling soup. Allow the dumplings to rest in the liquid for about 10-12 minutes. The broth will become creamy.
At the very last minute add the zest of one lemon, the juice of one lemon and some freshly chopped cilantro.
This soup was creamy, yet because of the lemon and cilantro, tasted light at the same time. It was a
great dinner for a rainy, cold night.