When your refrigerator and freezer are getting cluttered with bits and pieces, it is time to make Stone Soup. This is not entirely in the spirit of the story, but Stone Soup sounds so much better and classier than; “What is in the refrigerator soup?”
Note: Entertaining Idea—Host a Stone Soup Party. Five or six friends get together and everyone bring something to throw into the common pot.
I have already discussed that I usually buy a whole chicken and cut it up myself. Even having the butcher hack a bird into 4 pieces usually adds a dollar a pound to the price. However after a few weeks my freezer gets clogged with little bags of backs, necks, wing tips and scraps. I usually boil these down to make a stock for a chicken soup of some kind. This is the one I came up with today.
I also tend to collect heels of bread, the last bits of French or sourdough loaves that have gotten to the point of being un-chewable. These I break up into bread crumbs that I keep in a bag in the freezer for eventual use in meat loafs, etc. Jan tends to like Bisquick dumplings. Eilene, however, does not like these and I find them too salty. I saw a recipe for Jewish matzo dumplings, which got me to thinking about my bag of bread crumbs. Although I had never made them I found plenty of ideas on the internet on how to make them and what should go into them.
After Dinner Note: These dumplings had a very meaty texture, more like a substitute meat ball rather than a dumpling. Eilene and I really liked them, but Jan still prefers her fluffy Bisquick dumplings.
Note: I got my Cook’s Illustrate the day after I made this soup and wrote this recipe up. Imagine my surprise at the article about Chicken soup with Bread Dumplings. As well as an article on turning stale bread in to bread crumbs. There were also articles on bundt cakes and raw honey, two things that Jan has been on about this month. I am reminded of the time I invented TiVo, one week before it went on the market.
Eilene does not like mushrooms. The truth is it is not the flavor, but the texture she doesn’t like. If I make the pieces small enough that she doesn’t know she will quite happily eat something with mushroom flavor. I had a container with about a ¼ cup of dried wild mushrooms that has been cluttering up my cabinet for months. Normally, I would reconstitute these with hot water and them chop them very fine to be added to a soup. I have been grinding a lot of spices lately, so I just threw them in and pulverized them into a power. If this works, I may have a new addition to my spice rack for whenever I want a little umami in a dish.
If you have not read my previous rants on this, I do not throw away the solids from my stock! Every scrap of meat and vegetable that can be recovered goes back into the pot. If you are not going to eat the solids left over from making stock, put them in a bowl and hand them to the next homeless person you meet.
Karl’s Stone Soup with Bread Dumplings
1 Tbs. butter
Backs, necks and scraps of 6 chickens
16 cloves garlic, whole
1 medium onion, chopped into eight pieces
2 stalks celery, chopped into 3 inch pieces
3 Tbs. wild mushrooms, powered
1 bay leaf
½ lemon, separate uses
1 cup breadcrumbs, French/sourdough/mixed
2 Tbs. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 Tbs. chives
1 Tbs. flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
2 + Tbs. sparkling water
½ tsp. black pepper, divided (to taste)
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3 large eggs, lightly beaten and divided
1 cup cabbage, shredded
½ cup baby carrots
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. dried dill
1. Melt the butter in your soup pot and brown the chicken pieces well on all sides in batches over a medium high heat. Remove individual pieces to a bowl as they are done. The chicken bits will render quite a bit of chicken fat into the pot as you are cooking the chicken, but do not remove any of the grease at this time.
2. When all of the chicken is browned, add the cloves of garlic and toss until they are well browned, about 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon to the bowl.
3. Add the onions and celery and cook until they are soft and picking up some color, two to three minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to the bowl.
4. Drain all except two tablespoon of the grease into a cup and return the pot to the heat.
5. Add the powered mushroom to the pot and heat for 30 seconds.
6. Return the contents of the bowl to the pot and rinse out the bowl with hot water and add it to the pot.
7. Squeeze the lemon juice into a cup and add the rind to the pot.
8. Add 6 – 8 cups of water and the bay leaf to the soup pot. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
9. Remove the solids to the cleaned bowl and let them cool to the point you can handle them. Discard the skin, lemon rind, and bay leaf.
10. Strip the majority of meat off the bones and return the bones to the pot. Reserve the meat in the refrigerator.
11. Remove the strings from the celery. Blend the vegetables into a paste and return them to the pot. Continue simmering the stock for one hour.
12. Strain the stock and let it settle for 20 minutes. Use a fat separator to remove most of the excess fat. Return the stock to the pot.
Tip: You can do everything up to this point the day before. If you do this you can let the stock congeal and skim off most of the fat before continuing.
13. While you are waiting for the meat to cool you can make your dumplings. Put the breadcrumbs, flour, baking powder, chives, parsley, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
14. Make a well in the dry mix and pour in two slightly beaten eggs. Mix thoroughly, if the mix is too dry, add the sparkling water.
15. Refrigerate the mix for half an hour, so that the bread crumbs soak up the liquid and the dough becomes stiff.
16. Separate the meat from the bones. Reserve the meat in a bowl.
17. Separate out any bits of garlic, onions and celery as you are processing the chicken. Remove the strings from the celery and process the vegetables into a paste (you can use a food mill, mortar and pestle, or blender to do this). Reserve the vegetable paste in a bowl.
18. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
19. Take about 1 Tbs. of the bread dough and roll it into a ball. Lay the dumplings out onto a Pam-ed baking sheet.
Note: I made mine with 2 tablespoons of dough and Jan and Eilene thought they were too large and unmanageable. Make each ball with one tablespoon of dough.
10. Bake the dumplings for about 10 minutes, to set them and brown them slightly.
19. Bring the stock to a boil and add the chicken, cabbage, carrots, and dumplings. Cook for ten minutes, stirring gently, until the dumplings have started to float.
20. Remove one cup of stock and add the lemon juice and dill to the pot.
21. Put the last egg into a bowl and slowly whisk in the hot soup a bit at a time.
22. Stir the tempered egg into the pot to thicken the soup. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.