Warm Memories of Chicken Soup on Hot Summer Days

June 15, 2015

I blinked my eyes in March and now it's mid-June.

I blinked my eyes in March and now it's mid-June.

The days leading up to summer used to go by so slow. I would check off each day on my calendar and declare, "One day closer!" Now, I find myself confused that it’s already summertime.

My last blog entry in March might reflect the last time I cooked in my kitchen. With house hunting, moving, TV finales, work schedules, and finding out that my husband and I having our first baby this fall, life has taken me in various directions.

All-day nausea in the first trimester certainly didn't help my compounding in the kitchen effort. I found myself feeling miserable and convinced that somehow I was being punished for loving food so much. These past few months, my go-to food has been similar to what you would find in a preschooler’s lunch bag: juice boxes, graham crackers, and fruit snacks.

My nausea is now easing up a little and life seems to be getting back on track. I find myself having nostalgic cravings for food I simply cannot obtain, like:

  • My grandma's delicious chicken dumpling soup.
  • My other grandma's holiday cookie trays.
  • The chicken empanada I drooled over in Argentina.
  • The chocolate pudding in Istanbul.
  • Warm croissants in Paris.

The list goes on and on. My food memories torment me day and night. I think I even had a dream the other evening about eating coal fire pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge while listening to Billy Joel with my husband.

Is this what they mean by pregnancy cravings? Daydreaming about delicious food when all I have access to is a strawberry banana smoothie? Not fair!

Once my kitchen comes back to life and boxes become a distant memory, I am determined to eat delicious food again, starting with my grandma's soup. Although the recipe was only written down in her mind, I think this knock-off comes close.

If you get a chance to make this before I do, please enjoy. It shouldn’t be hard to think of warm memories on a hot, humid day!

Chicken Soup with Dumplings

Ingredients

Soup:

  • 1½ lb chicken, shredded
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, thinly sliced
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 64 oz chicken stock (can use low-sodium)
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings:

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, finely minced
  • ½ tsp fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • ¾ cup whole milk

Directions

In a large saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the bay leaf and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the ingredients for the dumplings in a medium bowl. Mix with a fork until a wet, doughy consistency is reached.

Once the soup base has cooked for 15 minutes, bring the temperature back up to a boil. Stir in the chicken and parsley. Then, use a spoon to drop scant ½-tsp lumps of dough into the soup.

Simmer for 5 minutes, until the chicken and dumplings are cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and serve warm.