My first July post. It’s the second week of Wimbledon and the first week in July, but of course, it feels like October! Welcome to the British Isles!
Normally at this time of year I’d be craving delicious salads that I could dress with interesting concoctions, I’d be enjoying the best of the summer fruit and the long summer nights outside. Unfortunately, I don’t feel the slightest inclination to make a salad or even enjoy a simple bowl of strawberries today.
After an extremely long weekend of labour, my plans for this week were dashed unexpectedly and the summer sun has hardly offered a glimmer of warmth to compensate, therefore my answer to this is soup.
I’ve talked about the magic of soup in my previous posts and today called for some of the special pick-me-up kind. I was trying to decide what kind to make when I remember an episode of Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen. The one where she makes that delicious, quick and easy looking Chicken Dumpling soup. That was it. My heart made up my mind.
Trying to remember the episode, I looked it up on YouTube and found the clip which was barely 3 minutes and so after a quick watch of the clip I set about gathering ingredients to make my own version. I had a quick walk outside to see what I could gather from the garden and after an armful of delicious produce( carrots, bay, thyme, kale and chives ) from my ever expanding kitchen garden (at least the plants are enjoying the rain in July!) I set about making my own rustic & hearty variation of Rachel’s recipe.
My Chicken, Chive & Garlic Quenelle Style Dumpling Soup
For the Dumplings:
This recipe yields enough quenelles for 2 lots of the soup recipe below. (About 32-36) I’d estimate this dumpling recipe serves 6-8 people well, but be sure to adjust the broth quantity accordingly. I made this recipe larger as I wanted to try freezing half the mixture for a super quick soup fix for next time or try poaching and then baking the quenelles in a Gratin de Quenelles de Volaille of sorts. I will keep you posted when I come around to it. If you just want to make enough for the broth below, half this recipe.
400g skinless, boneless chicken meat. I used a mix of thigh and breast, but either alone would also work well. Ensure that tendons and gristly bits are removed.
200g stale white bread. The white bread adds to the fluffiness.
200ml cream- whatever you have to hand (single, double, whipping). I had double
2 eggs and 2 yolks or 3 eggs will work too. More yolk adds a richness. If you’re halving the recipe 1 egg and 1 yolk would work best.
2 cloves of garlic crushed
4-5 tbsp finely chopped chives.
salt and pepper
- Take all the ingredients above apart from the chives and put in a food processor. Blend until a whipped paste consistency in acheieved.
- Remove mixture from food processor bowl or if your food processor bowl fits in your fridge, then just take the blade out and stir in the chives well.
- Refrigerate the mixture while you prepare the broth.
- Once the broth is ready, make quenelle shapes of the chicken mixture by shaping with 2 tablespoons and drop into the broth.
- The dumplings are done when the float to the surface, about 5 minutes.
4 l homemade chicken stock (4 1/2l water, chicken bones of 1 or 2 chickens -I keep some bones in the freezer after a roast or when I am de-boning a chicken for something else, a bay leaf, small onion halved, 1 carrot in chunks. Simmer for an hr.) or if you’re in a rush an equal measure of good quality ready made stock or as a last resort 2-4 good quality organic chicken stock cubes/chicken boullion, quantity used dependent on the salt content. Try Kallo and taste for seasoning after the second cube. Add a bay leaf to the two alternatives for flavour.
1 medium onion finely chopped
2 carrots finely cubed
2 sticks of celery finely cubed
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
a few springs of fresh thyme or parsley (optional)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
8 or so large leaves of kale or greens of your choice finely shredded to add at the end (optional)
- Heat a pan and add the oil and butter. I like to use some butter for the flavour, but some oil too as it doesn’t create a film on a broth soup as much as butter does.
- Sweat the onions for 5 mins on a medium heat ensuring that they don’t brown.
- Add the celery and carrot and sweat for a further 5-8 mins or until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so, until the raw smell disappears
- Now pour in the stock and bring to the boil before adjusting the seasoning.
- Finally add the optional apple cider vinegar. This really lifts the dish and cuts through the richness of the quenelles.
- Now follow the instructions above for cooking the quenelles.
- Once floating to the surface, switch off the heat and stir in the shredded kale and sprigs of thyme/parsley if using and serve immediately with some hearty sourdough.