So there are these nights when I have usually had the day to myself and things are going pretty well. I've gotten dinner out before everyone has turned into hungry monsters and usually there are candles. And my husband gets water for everyone and beams at me across the table. And these are the nights where the kids put the napkins out when I ask them to, and when they say (get ready for this) Thank you mom for this beautiful dinner. Yes, it's rare, but these nights come around every so often. And usually they coincide with the presence of chicken soup and dumplings. Because if there is one thing that you can be sure of, it is that kids+dumplings=happy.
So I know that we've all got our chicken soup recipes, but I find that chicken soup is all too often missing dumplings, so here's my very own chicken soup:
1 chicken of any size, washed
quite a bit of water
1 large onion, diced
8 cloves of garlic, diced
3 ribs of celery, cut in 1/2 inch slices
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks
2 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and diced tiny
the juice of two lemons
lots of salt
a little bit of fresh pepper
And for the dumplings, from The Joy of Cooking
1/4 c soft butter
1 c all purpose flour
6 T milk
1/2 t salt
Put the chicken in a large pot and just cover with water. Bring to a boil, skim off the scuzz, turn down the heat, and cover. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or whenever the chicken is close to looking like it is going to fall apart. Carefully remove the chicken with a couple of large utensils and let it cool a bit in a mixing bowl.
Add all of the chopped vegetables to the broth. Let them cook at a bubbling simmer for at lease twenty minutes.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and egg until fairly smooth. Stir in the flour and the salt. Slowly add the milk, and stir to combine. The mixture will be wet and lumpy.
Bring the soup up to a low boil. Using a teaspoon, drop scoops of the batter into the boiling soup.
Remove all of the meat from the chicken in bite sized pieces. When all of the dumplings are floating at the top of the soup, lower the heat. Add the chicken. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Light candles.