Saturday, March 27, 2004

I need some comfort

The events of this week have essentially sapped me into a noodle-headed twit. Between the house hunting, the story board presentation, a new roommate moving, yotta-yotta, I don't have much strength or wit. I decided that I needed a dose of chicken soup (and not for my soul, which is probably located somewhere between my spleen and upper intestine). Here's what we're making as I write:

You need:
A cut up fryer (chicken that is)
1 large onion
4 stalks of celery cut in half
3-4 carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 bunch of parsley
12 pepper corns
a cheese cloth bag containing the following items (12 pepper corns, 2 bay leaves, 1 sprig of thyme)
sea salt (about 1 1/2 tsp)

Put all of the above in a large pot. Make sure that you have at least 3-4 inches of space to the top edge of the pot and fill the pot until the the contents are just covered with water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low heat for at least 1 hour. Remove the contents and strain the broth. Reserve in a large pot. You can serve the vegetables with the soup or discard them. Leave the chicken pieces out to cool. Then remove the meat from the bone and cut into chunks. This is my basic chicken soup recipe. It's a staple I've returned back to over and over again.

Feather Dumplings (from the Fanny Farmer Cookbook). These are by far some of the best I've had. They hold their shape in the broth and don't sink to the bottom of your stomach like stones.
1 c. flour
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, well beaten
2 tbsp. butter melted
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. finely minced parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste.

Combine the flour, bread crumbs, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, and stir to mix in. In another bowl lightly beat the egg, melted butter, onion, and milk together. Stir into the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Stir in the parsley and pepper. When the chicken has simmered for 20 minutes. (Actually, we dropped the dumplings, pre-shaped into walnut-sized balls, into the strained broth as it was simmering on low heat) drop spponfuls of the dough on top of the bubbling broth. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.


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