The weather has been so crappy here in Columbus that I’ve been all about the soups and stews this week. Just something tasty and hearty that warms you through and through – because if your house is like mine, certain rooms are nice and toasty while other ones are so nippy that you have to keep typing just to keep icicles from forming on your fingertips. So when I work in my living room, I drink lots of cocoa and eat lots of soup. A girl has to survive the long cold winter somehow, right?
Rachael’s recipe, prepared according to the original recipe, was about as bland as bland could get. I jazzed it up a bit by adding some additional ingredients (like Dijon, herbs, more robust poultry flavor, etc) that I thought would go well. According to my husband, it went from being “meh” to being one of his favorites in the course of like 5 minutes, so the changes must have worked. I also think that it could go for the incorporation of peas and/or carrots into the mix. Maybe next time?
Also, from the recipe, it wasn’t clear what she meant by “chicken tenders” – did she mean already grilled chicken strips? raw chicken tenderloins? chicken nuggets? After reading the recipe and seeing that it wouldn’t cook for long after the addition of them, we decided that she meant chicken nuggets of some sort. I didn’t want to use chopped and formed nuggets, but we did want to use the breaded kind (we figured it would thicken the stew), so we ended up using Trader Joe’s panko-crusted chicken tenders (from their refrigerated section). If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s close to you, try to find something similar in your local grocery.
Leeky, Creamy Chicken and Dumpling Stoup
adapted from Rachael Ray
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3 leeks, white and tender green parts split lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
5 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
4 c. chicken broth
2 cups heavy cream
1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into small chunks
2 packages fresh gnocchi (about 24 ounces)
1/3 c. chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp. dry sherry
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tbsp. turkey base
1 tbsp. Dijon mustardd
Penzey’s Parisien Bonnes Herbs seasoning to taste*
In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the EVOO two turns of the pan, over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream, lower the heat and simmer until the soup bubbles at the edges. Add the chicken and the gnocchi and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Add the sherry and paprika and stir. Add turkey base by tempering with a little of the hot liquid in a separate bowl and then returning the mixture back to the pot. Add mustard, and enough Bonnes Herbes to suit your taste. Add parsley and serve hot.
*Penzey’s seasoning is a blend of chives, dill weed, French basil, French tarragon, chervil and white pepper. If you don’t have access to Penzey’s, just use a blend of the seasonings above to suit your tastes.