As the temperature tumbled the last few nights (24 degrees this morning), my appetite zeroed in on a deeply-flavored, herby, non-vegetarian dinner. In this case, it was a double-rich chicken-vegetable soup, deep colors of butternut squash, the last green and red tomatoes, a few brussels sprouts, the dark meat of chicken thighs and legs, the sweetness of carrots, the flavor of my favorite herb, thyme - and a pinch or two of oregano and basil, along with a leaf of bay. I love the fall vegetables, and would have included parsnips if I'd had them. But not turnips:) Not a fan.
First I simmered a few bone-in chicken thighs or legs with an onion and herbs, then strained and gently simmered again with vegetables and pasta, and finally, poached parsley-flecked dumplings in the rich broth to make a delightfully satisfying meal. Heaven.
What a way to welcome Fall!
You'll be pleasantly surprised to find that skin on, bone-in chicken, especially the dark meat thighs and legs, are more economical than skinless and boneless chicken breasts, which always puzzles me, as they have so much more flavor.
First, make the stock:
3 chicken thighs or legs, bone-in, skin on
2 large carrots, trimmed and sliced into rounds
1 teaspoon thyme leaf
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, sliced
Place all into pot, cover with water, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Strain the stock into a large pot and let the chicken cool, then discard the skin, bones, and odds and ends of of rubbery bits, cutting up the meat into a dice.
In the stockpot place:
4-5 cups stock ( add water if needed)
1 cup sliced celery
the diced chicken meat
1 cup sliced, peeled carrots
1 cup kale or brussels sprouts, sliced
1 1/2 cups peeled, diced butternut squash
a handful of cherry tomatoes from the garden, sliced in half
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup bow tie pasta
1 T. butter
pinch of thyme, basil, and oregano
salt and pepper
Simmer the soup on medium low- it will smell heavenly!
While the soup is simmering, make the parsley dumplings:
In mixer bowl, place:
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
scant teaspoon of cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons minced parsley
3 tablespoons butter, diced
kosher salt and pepper
1 cup of milk
Mix well until the mixture forms a somewhat sticky ball. Either use your hands or use a small ice cream scoop to make balls.
Just as the vegetables seem tender in the soup, place the balls of dough on top of the soup. If the soup needs more liquid, add a cup or so so there is liquid just covering the soup. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes - fish out a dumpling to make sure it is completely cooked and tender. If not, cover and cook five minutes more.
Makes a generous 4 servings.