An Adaptation of Thomas Keller’s Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Happy holidays to everyone! This break from work has gotten me in the mood to do some serious cooking. The unseasonably cool weather (thanks El Niño) has also made me crave comfort food- including a ton of soups.

I came across this recipe in my Ad Hoc at Home cookbook from Thomas Keller. It seemed perfect. I made some adjustments for time (and out of laziness, let’s be honest), but I don’t think the final product suffered because I found it delicious. I omitted the steps of tossing the vegetables from the first broth round and making a second broth. Frankly, I only had a few carrots and didn’t want to run to the store so just used the original broth. Below is the original Thomas Keller recipe with some of my lazy-girl tweaks.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

1 cup coarsely chopped celery

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 cup coarsely chopped leeks

Kosher salt

Dumplings:

1/2 cup water

4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced chives

4 quarts Chicken Stock

1 teaspoon honey

1 bay leaf

2 thyme sprigs

1 large garlic clove, crushed, skin left on

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) Roux (melted butter and flour mixture)

2 cups cooked shredded chicken (dark or white meat)

1/4 cup minced chives

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

Flat-leaf parsley leaves

 

Melt the butter in an 8- to 10-quart stockpot over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and leeks, season with salt, and cover with a parchment lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook very slowly, stirring occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Remove and discard the parchment lid.

Make the dumplings: Fill a wide deep pot with salted water and bring to a simmer. Set up a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Combine the water, butter, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the fl our all at once, and stir rapidly with a stiff heatproof or wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean. The dough should be glossy and smooth but still moist; enough moisture must evaporate from the dough to allow it to absorb more fat when the eggs are added. Continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the dough from coloring; a thin coating of dough will form on the bottom and sides of the pan. When enough moisture has evaporated, steam will rise from the dough and the nutty aroma of cooked flour will be noticeable.

Immediately transfer the dough to the mixer bowl. Add the mustard and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix for a few seconds to incorporate the ingredients and release some of the heat. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first egg is completely incorporated before adding the second and incorporating it. Then add the chives and incorporate. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the dumplings using two soup spoons to make a quenelle shape (see note), dropping them into the simmering water. Cook the dumplings in batches of about 6 to avoid crowding the pot and allow them to cook evenly. Once the dumplings rise to the surface, it will take about 5 minutes for them to cook; remove one and break it open to make sure it is cooked. With a slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to the baking sheet, and cook the remaining dumplings. (You will have about 18 dumplings.)

Once the dumplings have cooled, trim any uneven edges with scissors.

Finish the soup: Add the chicken stock to the vegetables and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, then strain the soup base into another pot and set  the vegetables aside in another bowl for later.

Add the honey, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the stock.  Bring the soup base to a simmer and whisk in the roux a little at a time until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; you may not use all the roux. Simmer for 30 minutes, skimming often—this is necessary to remove all impurities from the roux. (The soup will continue to thicken as it simmers.)

Plate the vegetables and dumplings in a bowl. Serve by pouring the soup broth around them. Sprinkle with parsley leaves.

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