This time of year when the tips of our noses are drippy and cold, and we’re tired, achy, and chilled to the bone, who doesn’t crave chicken soup? It’s brothy and light, satisfyingly simple, and innocently good. It’s the global go-to for those wintery blues, and just about every cuisine has its own version. Here’s my favorite recipe with variations for spicing things up.
Chicken & Dumpling Soup
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds chicken, preferably dark meat
3 carrots, scrubbed clean
3 stalks celery, leaves included
1 large onion
4 to 5 cups homemade or good quality chicken stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup cooked spaetzle or broken egg noodles
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put the chicken, 1 carrot, 1 stalk celery, and 1/2 of the onion into a large pot and add enough stock to cover. Set over high heat and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Skim off any of the foam with a shallow spoon. Cook the chicken for about 10 minutes until it’s firm. Remove and transfer to a plate. Remove the bones, return them to the pot, and continue simmering for about 45 minutes. Remove the bones and vegetables with a slotted spoon and discard. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pot.
Cut the remaining carrots, celery, and onions into bite-sized chunks and add to the pot along with the thyme and parsley. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Then shred the chicken and add to the pot along with the cooked spaetzle (or egg noodles) and peas and continue cooking for another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.
Optional seasonings – try these seasonings alone or in combination:
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Several shakes soy sauce
Shake or two of dark sesame oil
Shake or two of hot sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
Substitute 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro for the thyme
Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons cream to enrich the soup