I love to ski. Growing up in northern Minnesota, I spent many hours at the local ski hill swooshing down the slopes and figuring out ways to ski outside the runs in the trees. It was a happy day when all three of our kids were able to join my husband and me on the slopes.
Six years ago a friend invited me to join a group of women and go west to ski in the mountains. Now an annual tradition, we count the days to our long weekend away from home where we ski, cook, watch movies, and laugh nonstop for 5 days.
A week or two before our trip we plan out our dinner menus. We have some amazing cooks on this trip and the food is so good we’ve been known to photograph it for our scrapbook! This year, I suggested we try making Chicken Soup & Dumplings. This recipe is one my family loves. It’s easy, flavorful, and hot – all good things after a full day outside on the slopes or when living in wintery climates, like Minnesota.
This recipe begins by making the chicken stock for the soup. You may think this is lots of work, but it really isn’t hard at at all. Since skiing is done by 4 pm we have lots of time for relaxing and cooking. Also, we never know if the local store will have the exact items we need. (We’ve been known to pack an obscure ingredient or two in our suitcase just to be sure.) At home on work nights, I ‘ve been known to take short cuts and I’ll talk about those later.
To begin, assemble the ingredients.
Rinse the chicken and put it into a large saucepan. Add the water, bay leaf and part of the chopped onion (1/2 cup).
Season with the garlic salt, salt and pepper. The nice thing when making your own soup stock is that you can adjust the salt to a level that is best for your family or even add other spices if you are adventuresome.
Cook the chicken wings for about an hour and then remove them from the broth. Give the chicken about 15 minutes or so to cool.
While the chicken is cooling, strain the broth into a bowl.
Return the broth to the saucepan. Chop and add the carrots, celery, and rest of the onion to the broth. No need to turn on the heat just yet.
Remove the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones.
Add the chicken meat to the broth. You’ll probably get about 2-3 cups depending on the amount of meat on the wings.
Return the chicken to the broth and cook on High for about 15 minutes so the veggies get cooked. While that is happening, assemble the dumpling ingredients and snip some parsley. I like using my kitchen shears, but cutting the parsley with a knife on a cutting board works great, too.
By the way, adding parsley to the dumplings is optional. My 11-year old doesn’t like parsley so I often leave it out. Cut the butter into the flour & baking powder. A pastry blender works well or you can just use two table knives to cut the butter into little pieces.
(Cooking at high altitude is always a bit of an adventure for me. When I make soup in the mountains, I have to lengthen the cooking time since water boils at a lower temperature. Also, when preparing the dumplings, I had to adjust the baking powder, reducing the amount by ¼ teaspoon. This helps improve the flavor of the dumpling.) Stir in the milk and parsley.
Carefully drop dumplings by heaping teaspoonfuls into the soup.
Here’s what it looks like once you’ve put the dumplings into the saucepan.
Cook covered for 10 minutes and then uncovered 10 minutes. You’ll notice that the dumplings puff up as they cook. My kids have always enjoyed watching this change and my ski friends did too!
At the end of the 20 minutes (a bit longer in the mountains), ladle the soup and fluffy dumplings into bowls and serve. This soup really is comfort food at its finest!
I have a secret to share. I don’t often make the broth from scratch. Instead, here’s the speed version. Buy a carton or some cans of chicken broth (enough to get about 8 cups or 64 ounces of broth). If the broth doesn’t measure out to exactly 8 cups, don’t sweat it, just add some water to make up the difference. Then, instead of cooking chicken, use the chicken meat from a rotisserie chicken you buy in the deli department at the store. (Here’s a way to use the leftovers from my last blog on Creamy Alfredo Chicken Casserole.)
Combine the broth, a couple cups of chicken meat, and add the chopped vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook about 10 minutes. Make and add the dumplings following the same cooking instructions and this soup is on the table in no time! The flavor is nearly the same and the process takes much less time.
This recipe makes about 6 main dish servings. For the ski trip, we doubled the recipe to be sure to have plenty for all. Also, don’t feel limited to use only the vegetables in this recipe. Soup’s a great way to use up fresh or leftover vegetables and meat, creating a new meal with the ingredients.
Here’s a photo of me (in the red & white jacket and white helmet in the back row) and my friends on our recent ski trip. It was a great trip and the soup was a hit!
I hope you will try Chicken Soup & Dumplings and let me know what you think.
Come back in a few days when Alex will share a snack idea great for serving during the game.
Vicky is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.