What a week of terrible weather it has been.
No seriously – this weather has been miserable. Normally, I enjoy rainy days…when I’m at home. If I can sit inside and curl up on the couch with a book and a blanket and enjoy the sound of it, then I’m content. What I don’t like is when I have to be out wandering around in it. Now, don’t get me wrong, a little rain is okay. But when it’s dumping buckets when you’re walking across campus, or showering you horizontally as you are on foot, going to work, it becomes an incredibly miserable experience. By the end of the day, you are wet, cold, and downright cranky.
So what’s the cure to all this? Soup, you say?
This weekend I made two kinds of soup. Last night, it was an Irish Potato Chowder, which I had been craving throughout the day. Today, I made Chicken and Dumpling soup for my partner, T, who specifically requested it. And who can say no to a pair of big puppy boyfriend eyes?
So today, I am going to share two recipes with you. First – the Irish Chowder which is absurdly delicious. I will also be posting my favourite dumpling recipe – which can be paired with any chicken soup, really. My particular crock-pot chicken soup recipe is relatively mediocre, so I won’t waste your time with that. If you see a * this is my own adjustment to the recipe.
Ready? Here we go.
Irish Potato, Cheddar, and Broccoli Chowder
2 TB Butter*
1 Large Leek, Sliced (Pale & White)
1.5 lbs yellow potatoes – peeled, cubed**
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 c coarsely chopped broccoli flourettes
1 c half & half
1 pk Kerrygold Irish Cheddar, shredded***
*I usually use salted butter for extra flavour
**I never peel the potatoes – I think it tastes better when they are left on, and it doesn’t hurt nutritionally speaking
***I don’t think it matters what kind of Irish Cheddar…I bought the cheaper brand, but it was still just as good. As long as it’s a good, WHITE Irish Cheddar, that sharp flavour will still shine through.
1. Melt butter, add leeks, cook for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and stock, bring to a boil, then simmer 15 minutes.
2. Cool slightly. *here the recipe tells you to pour the contents into a food processor and blend until smooth – I skip this step, I like the chunks of potato*
3. Return to heat. Add the broccoli+half&half, stirring constantly for five minutes. (If you don’t stir, it WILL scorch)
4. Stir in the cheese over low heat until the cheese is melted and smooth.
Serve with soda-biscuits and you’ll have a lovely meal.
In addition to the ingredients above, I added a few dashes of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and finely granulated black pepper. Not too much, but it definitely brings the dish to life for us Americans who aren’t used to the blandness of British food. 😉 We gobbled this soup down last night, and it gave us the warm fuzzies inside. I paired it with a glass of Chardonay, and it was lovely.
Tonight our dinner featured a recipe from a very useful book, which I picked up over the summer at Logos for about $2. I’ve found it handy a few times.
While it may not look like much this little book is full of bread making tips and absolutely lovely, foolproof recipes. It’s small so there’s lot of room to create and explore, using the recipes simply as foundations. However, this evening I kept it simple – taking the dumpling recipe from this book verbatium. I’d like to share it with you because I feel it’s an absolutely lovely and simple way to make your chicken soup even better.
Fluffs as light as thistledown
2 c sifted, all purpose flour*
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 c shortening
1 c milk**
*Using half wheat/half white flour is healthier, and tastes just as good, if not better.
**If you are a vegetarian/vegan, any milk substitute will work fine with this recipe. I personally recommend plain hemp milk, which will give it a slightly but not overpowering nutty flavour.
1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
2. Cut shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal or crumbs.
3. Lightly mix in milk with fork to make soft dough. Stir as little as possible. (I usually use my fingertips instead of a fork)
4. Drop tablespoons full of dough on top of chicken pieces or meat/vegetables in stew. Simmer 10 minutes uncovered, and then 10 more with the cover tightly on the pot. This should make about 12 dumplings.
*I only made 6 dumplings this evening, but I made them twice as large – which is how I like them. If you choose to do it this way, simmer for 15 minutes, then steam for 15, and they will come out nicely.
The book also reminds the reader NOT to drop the dumplings into the broth. If you are making a soup with a lot of broth, like I was this evening – remove broth from the pan until the vegetables/chicken do not float, and set it aside. Dumplings are fragile, and need to sit on something while they cook or they become soggy and fall apart. Once they are done – if you are not going to eat them right away, remove them from the pot and place them on a warm plate. Pour the broth back into your pot of soup. Serve whenever you are read. The dumplings will reheat in the bowl of soup when you serve them. 🙂
Hopefully you will enjoy this post and try the ideas here, in order to stay warm and cosy in such terribly wet and cold weather!