Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Caraway Gnocchi

It’s soup weather here! There is nothing I know that warms you better than a big, hot bowl of soup. In addition, eating soup is known to help to drop those holiday pounds. See this article.

I haven't made chicken soup in a long while and, usually, I always turn to my tried-and-true chicken soup recipe with my mother's potato dumplings. When I saw this recipe in Stir by Barbara Lynch,  I felt I needed to depart from tradition. So far, I have loved everything I've made from this cookbook!

The three things that intrigued me the most about this recipe was the initial searing of the chicken in the soup pot to create those delicious browned bits to flavor the broth. Also, this chicken and vegetable soup starts out with the usual vegetable trio of celery, carrot and onion but those are strained out and then broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are added and cooked in the stock. Third, and most unusual, is the caraway gnocchi.

I know caraway is one of those 'love it' or 'hate it' herbs, but if you love rye bread with caraway or cheese with caraway, you'll love these gnocchi!  Caraway is similar in taste to anise, fennel and cumin. The caraway seeds are first toasted and then pulverized. If you don't like caraway, you could start with half the recommended amount or even omit it all together.  The soup would still be wonderful with plain gnocchi which you could buy already made in the pasta section of your grocery store.

The soup has a sort of Old World taste to it with the cruciferous vegetables and boldly flavored gnocchi. These types of vegetables are vitamin-packed!

Top with some chopped parsley or celery leaves, add a sprinkle of coarse Fleur de Sel and freshly ground pepper and enjoy!

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Caraway Gnocchi

Adapted from Stir by Barbara Lynch
Printable Recipe

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, about 2 pounds (I prefer thighs because they don’t get dry but you can use bone-in breasts if you prefer – just cut them into thigh-sized pieces)
2 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 fresh thyme sprigs
4 fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups no-sodium chicken stock
4 cups cold water

1-1/2 cups finely shredded green cabbage (I used Savoy)
1 cup tiny broccoli florets (about ½ inch wide)
1 cup tiny cauliflower florets (about ½ inch wide)

Caraway Gnocchi, freshly made or frozen (recipe follows)
Celery or Parsley leaves for Garnish
Fleur de sel

Do ahead tips: While the chicken is cooking in the soup (paragraph two), prepare the gnocchi but do not boil them. You could also make the gnocchi the day or even week ahead and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. The soup can be prepared up to the point of adding the cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, a day ahead.

In a large, heavy pot big enough to hold the chicken with some room around the pieces, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the chicken and sear on one side, until it’s quite brown. Turn the chicken and continue to brown it all over. This will take about 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pot and put it on a rimmed baking sheet to catch the juices. Add the celery, carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, 1 tablespoon salt and pepper to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Return the chicken and collected juices to the pot and add the stock and water. Cook over medium-low heat until the meat pulls easily off the bone, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a clean baking sheet. Pass the soup through a strainer into a large saucepan, using a ladle to press the juice out of the solids. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones. Remove all of the meat and shred it with your fingers into bite-sized pieces.

If possible, chill the stock first so you can skim off the fat from the surface.

Heat the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Add the cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower and cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken pieces.

Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil. Add the gnocchi and cook until they float to the top and are tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi and place into the pot of soup or divide among serving bowls and ladle the soup over the top.

Caraway Gnocchi

Makes about 100

1 pound starchy potatoes, such as russet, whole and unpeeled
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 large egg
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Toast the caraway seeds over medium heat in a small, dry skillet until fragrant, about 3 minutes or toast them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 3 minutes. Let cool and crush in a coffee/seed grinder, with a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a heavy skillet.

Bring the potatoes to a boil in salted cold water and cook until very tender, about 30 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and allow to cool just until you’re able to handle them. Peel while still very warm. Put them through a ricer into a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.

Have a parchment-lined, lightly floured baking sheet ready that will fit into your refrigerator or freezer.

Dump the cooled potatoes onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle with ¾ cup of flour over the potatoes and gently mix it into them using your fingers. Carefully gather the potatoes into a mound and create a well in the center. Whisk the egg and salt in a small bowl and pour into the well. Mix by kneading the dough and sprinkle with more flour, if necessary (up to ¼ cup), just until it forms a ball and feels delicate and still a little bit sticky. Sprinkle the crushed caraway seeds over the dough and knead them in, adding a little more flour, if necessary. It should feel soft and pliable. Gather the dough and place back in the bowl while you clean off the work surface of any sticky bits.

Sprinkle the work surface lightly with flour and roll the dough out with a rolling until to about ½-inch thick. Use a bench scraper or knife and cut the dough into strips about ½ to ¾-inch wide. Roll each strip into a log and then cut the logs into ¾-inch pieces. Place the gnocchi on the prepared baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch. If you are not boiling them right away, either freeze or refrigerate covered with parchment paper until ready to use. If freezing, after they are hard, place in airtight bags or containers.


  1. Sounds absolutely delicious! I only wish I had thought to go to the grocery today.

  2. I love little dumplings in my chicken soup Susan. Think I'll pass on the caraway seeds though and just make them plain. My mother always made little dumplings with flour and egg and clumped it into her chicken stock. I made it for my kids too. Very comforting when you have a cold!

  3. This looks fantastic Susan! I just started adding cabbage to chicken veggie soup a couple months ago-it's great! Guess I'll take it one step further with the broc and cauli:@)

  4. This is perfect for this freezing weather. I will probably be snowed in tomorrow and will have plenty of time to make gnocchi. Thanks!

  5. You are calling my name with gnocchi. I adore it; I will sing for it! I have never thought of putting it in a soup -- yummy little pillows in a perfect soup. Susan, this soup looks like the perfect soup for a cold winter evening. Joni

  6. Beautiful. There is something about chicken soup that satisfies our souls. I love the addition of the gnocchi-nice. I like caraway too.

    Stay warm. Your temps are wicked cold.


  7. This sounds like a fresh new way to make chicken soup. I would like the caraway version but don't have the patience to make all those gnocchi so will probably use the frozen ones.

    We have those dangerous wind chills here too.

  8. Susan, what a great recipe. Must try those gnocchi!! Keep warm and safe. Our kids in Eau Claire are complaining about the cold also.

  9. I'm trying to think if I have ever experienced subzero temps - I think no. Soup would definitely be in order for the big freeze. I love tried and true recipes, it means it's really good!

    I like the comforting addition of the gnocchi. This may be the first time I've seen gnocchi called for in soup, with caraway to boot!

  10. Can you ever get enough wonderful soup recipes? This is fabulous and I would love those adorable gnocchis in my soup. Caraway sounds so exotic. Thanks for the wonderful idea and it is a great suggestion to use store bought if you don't have or don't want to take the time. Happy Foodie Fridays.

  11. Oh, this looks so tasty! Perfect for this time of year.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  12. Soup is the perfect meal for cold winter evenings, and this one looks fabulous. I love the gnocci- I've never made it before, but the caraway sounds so good I'll have to try it! :)

  13. This is a very unusual but delicious sounding soup, Susan. I never cooked gnocchi in soup and I imagine they become quite flavorful.

    We are expecting more snow tomorrow here in NYC. It is becoming a weekly event this winter!

  14. Sounds delicious Susan!"Gnocchi in brodo" is really a good idea,I'll try very soon, have a lovely weekend dear, a hug...

  15. Not only is it soup weather, it's parka weather! I can't even fathom minus double digit wind chills...BRRRR! Your soup looks & sounds delish & healthy! Stay warm!

  16. We don't have sub-zero temperatures, so complaining about the 30's probably won't fly with you...but to me it FEELS cold here! Fun twist on traditional chicken soup; love the gnocchi!

  17. What a comforting soup. I'm a caraway lover and even put it in slaw. Caraway is always on my spice shelf.

  18. I love caraway..and the soup looks so good..We're on the same bandwagon Susan..and we are expecting -16 Farenheit! Cold cold weekend..Trying different soups..


  19. I'm in the "love it" category when it comes to caraway and know I will love this tummy warming soup. We have many weeks of soup weather ahead and I'm looking forward to trying this.

  20. Your soup looks fabulous! Chicken soup are always so comforting. The addition of caraway gnocchi makes it even special. Thanks for sharing!

  21. This is such a special soup with gnocchi and caraway. Thanks, Susan, for sharing the recipe.

  22. I'd say you'd live forever (happily) if you ate this soup everyday!!!

  23. I love caraway - but you are right - it is a love it or hate it seed. Vanja hates hit. It makes me so sad. However, I could substitute with his favourite seasoning. Salt. Pepper. Paprika. Not too exciting when the bold caraway probably makes this dish stand up and say a proper "Hello!". I learned cruciferous!! I did not know that grouping of vegetables before and am SO happy to learn new things like this.
    I must get more nutrition into my blood! Thanks, Susan!

  24. You get me everytime you make gnocchi... this is no exception. I love caraway and although Dr Lostpast constantly complains that 1/2 the freezer is taken up with stock.. well... being able to make things like this on the spur of the moment is the reason why. Great recipe... on the menu this weekend!

  25. This soups looks like it fits the bill to warm you on a cold winter night. I am anxious to try this soup.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  26. wow Susan che piatto buonissimo!!!!!!!!baci!

  27. looks wonderful great to warm you up thanks for the congrats Susan your so kind


  28. What a great soup for such bitter cold weather! Looks really hearty! I could use a bowl of it, it's freezing here, too!

  29. I'm not that experienced with gnocchi...although I've made a few different kinds, but I love the idea of adding a spice or herb it the dough

  30. I am really enjoying summer.. but I also cannot wait to get back into cooking comforting soups such as this again!!

  31. What a lvely special soup.I've never cooked with gnocchi, but you are tempting me to try this. Looks fantastic.

  32. How delish!! I will be off to the store as we have more snow coming in!!

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  33. This is a great take on chicken soup, an old favourite. The dumplings are a great touch, making for a lovely texture! Nice recipe!!

  34. Caraway gnocchi? Awesome. So cool.

  35. Such an interesting combination of flavors in the soup. I love cabbage in soup and the additional vegetables make me want to try it too.

    Stay warm (I write just as my husband it walking in the front door saying, 'It's so cold!)

  36. Oh that looks good!
    I love home made gnocchi, don't know about the caraway, though I love it in rye bread and Irish soda bread.
    Sounds interesting though!

  37. I love, love, LOVE caraway seeds. Can't wait to make these gnocchi!


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