I don't know if chicken soup has any healing powers but it sure has comforting powers. Whenever I show the first signs of getting a cold, I make a big pot of this warm-the-soul soup.
My mother made this soup for as long as I can remember but she always made it with beef for my dad.
If your body decides to accept some unwanted cold germs this season, try my favorite chicken soup and dumplings.
4 quarts water
1 large cut-up chicken or 3 lbs thighs, skin removed, some pieces cut through to expose the marrow
1 large boneless chicken breast, poached separately (because I hate overcooked white meat)
4 large onions – 2 chopped and 1 whole onion left unpeeled
4 stalks celery chopped and 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
4 large carrots, peeled & diced
1/4 cup chopped dried or fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dried or fresh dill
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1 small bay leaf
Optional additions are parsnips, turnips or rutabagas.
1. Put the water and the chicken in a large pot and bring the water to a boil. Skim off the froth.
2. Add 2 chopped onions, the whole unpeeled onion, 2 stalks chopped celery, celery leaves, 2 of the chopped carrots, the parsley, dill, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, adjusting the seasonings to taste.
3. Remove the chicken and vegetables and strain the broth several times, discarding vegetables. (If possible, chill the stock overnight, so the hardened fat can be removed). Reheat the broth and add additional reserved vegetables (diced onion, carrot, celery, etc) and simmer until just fork tender – about 30 minutes. Shred the breast and any of the thigh meat you wish to use and add to the stock.
4. Cook potato dumplings separately and add to finished soup or you can use egg noodles or rice.
2 cups potatoes, preferably Russets, cooked and passed through a ricer or mashed. Note: After draining water from potatoes, put them back on the hot stove and shake the potatoes in the pan over the heat until all of the excess water is removed.
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup whole milk
3 cups flour
Blend ingredients one-at-a-time in the order given and drop by tablespoon-fulls into simmering water and cook for 30 minutes. Add to soup.
These dumplings would also taste wonderful with beef or other meat stews.