german chicken soup

I wrote this a couple months ago and didn’t post it because it was one of those times in life where even pressing Publish felt like one task too many. I’m posting it now because this soup really was amazing, and if you happen to be where there’s still a chill in the air (or if you happen to be in need of some comfort yourself), you’ve still got time to make it!

If you looked at our meals last week, you’d get a picture of how I’m feeling lately:

Caramelizing onions for French onion soup helps me pretend my life’s pace is slower that it is. My favorite panzanella helps me feel good about my body, loaded broccoli cheese quinoa soup is unadulterated comfort food, so was the roast chicken. And, ok, so was this chicken soup with dumplings. Looking at it now, it was a culinary cry for help.

I’m ok with that. Let food be thy medicine, right?

All of it helped, but it was this soup that blew me away. This soup, you guys. It’s like a hug. Buttery broth that’s light enough to drink gallons, soft potatoes, chewy dumplings. It is the Meryl Streep of soups. So perfect.

By the way, I grew up with dumplings being pillowy biscuits with wonderfully damp bottoms that steamed on top of soup. These are more like dumpling chunks (wow, that sounds terrible). Is that what makes this German? Are you a chunk dumpling or pillow dumpling person? Regardless, eat this.

german chicken soup with dumplings 
lightly adapted from Food and Wine

I took the time to finely dice everything into even 1/2-inch chunks. It made the final result perfectly balanced–a veggie on every spoon and room for the dumplings, too.

for the dumplings:
1 cup einkorn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of nutmeg

for the soup:
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
7 cups chicken stock (I used half homemade stock and half water)
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 lbs. red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup organic heavy cream

Make the dumplings: Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of water and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth (about 3 minutes). Transfer the dough to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rope, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer the dumplings to the prepared pan and cover with a damp kitchen towel.

Make the soup: In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the stock/water, bay leaves, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Add the dumplings, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dumplings are puffed and cooked through, about 3o minutes. (Note: Mine didn’t puff enormously, just a little. And I tasted one to see if it was cooked through enough to a pleasant texture.) Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Discard the bay leaves and serve.

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