We all have that one meal that was part of our life growing up that we LOVED. That one meal that would make you drool the moment you found out it was for dinner. My favorite was my mother’s homemade chicken dumpling soup. I remember my mother making this soup each fall when the weather turned chilly. When the summer turns to fall, squirrels start acting all weird looking for nuts and hiding them, sometimes in strange places. The hummingbirds sadly leave us and head south. The leaves start to fall. My Ugg boots get dusted off and I start to drool thinking about chicken dumpling soup.
It wasn’t until I went away to college that I learned to make this soup. I moved about three hours north to attend college, so it seemed like I spent a good part of the school year being cold. I called my mom one day and asked her to walk me through the recipe. It was really the first recipe that I tried to make on my own, and I did a pretty good job. My roommates loved it and appreciated the homemade soup to help warm their bellies after spending much of the day outside on campus walking from class to class.
It was so good, in fact, a couple of weeks later they asked me to make it again. I proudly went to the store and got all of the ingredients. When I got home, I cut up the chicken and chopped all the vegetables. I excitedly made the soup with a feeling of pride and I mixed all the ingredients up for the dumplings in anticipation of another delicious and satisfying meal. When the soup was finished I called my roommates down to the kitchen to dish up their bowls. We all sat down at our kitchen table, grated the cheese on top and buttered our bread.
As we took our first bite we all looked at each other in disgust. Something was wrong. Something tasted strange. In fact, it tasted like laundry soup. Imagine our level of bummer when we realized that my roommate had stored the melts for her potpourri warmer RIGHT NEXT TO THE FLOUR. We lived in a small apartment, and that was the only place that she could find room to store the melts. I couldn’t get mad at her, but man were we disappointed. So, the soup went down the drain and we went out for Mexican. Lesson learned as a young adult: flour will take on the scent of anything next to it if not properly stored.
I want to share this recipe with you because I know you will love it. My mother was taught by her mother and her mother was taught by her mother. This recipe goes back lots and lots of years. It’s definitely a staple for our family in the fall and winter months and is also a feel-good food, which is wonderful when you or someone you love is dealing with a case of the sniffles or a nasty cold. The best part is, I usually have left overs, so we eat off of it for a couple of days.
I hope you love it as much as I do.
Soul Warming Chicken Dumpling Soup
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Yield: 10-14 Servings
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I usually bake mine or boil mine)
64 ounces chicken broth (I use low sodium)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped carrots
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg (2 for fluffier dumplings)
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1. To start, melt butter in soup pot over medium heat. Once melted, stir in onions, carrots, and celery. Saute until soft. This step adds flavor and helps speed up the cook time for the vegetables. I also like to throw in the cooked, shredded chicken at this point. It takes on some of the flavor from the vegetables and soaks up a little of the butter. I think it makes the chicken extra yummy. If you don’t add the chicken at this point, feel free to add it after the dumplings are finished cooking, or, anytime you want!
2. Add chicken stock to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked. I find that sometimes the celery takes longer to cook – but not all the time, so check the firmness of your vegetables to make sure they are at a point where you like to eat them. Add any veggies you want. Sometimes I even add a can of chicken noodle soup or some chicken bullion to give it a little more chicken flavor. While the soup is simmering, it’s time to make the dumpling dough.
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour, egg, milk, salt and pepper.
4. Stir the dough until it is a sticky consistency. You want the dough wet, but not too runny. If it starts to look like bread dough, then you need to add more milk.
5. Bring the soup back to a rolling boil.
6. Drop dumplings into the boiling water by stainless steel teaspoon or a small silverware spoon. The dumpling will fall off the spoon by itself as you hold it underneath the boiling broth and will sink to the bottom of the pot. It can take anywhere from 5-10 seconds for the dumpling to fall into the soup, depending on the temperature of the soup. You can create any size dumpling you would like. I have found that teaspoon sized is best for normal sized bowls. Keep in mind that these expand while cooking.
7. Once you have added all the dumpling dough, cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. You will know the dumplings are cooked when they float to the top.
8. Serve soup with a sprinkle of parsley and some freshly grated swiss cheese.
Feel free to add any ingredients and experiment with this soup. I ususally stick with the tried and true method after my potpourii flour fiasco, but the possibilities are endless with this!
If you make this recipe, please tag #amamablessed on Instagram or Facebook. I’d love to see!