For the chicken broth (makes about 2-3 litres after reducing):
1 whole chicken
300 gr celeriac
100 gr parsley roots
For the dumplings (makes about 16 dumplings):
7-8 tablespoons semolina flour130 gr
1 teaspoon Oil
A couple of pinches Salt
Salt and pepper
for garnish Parsley
This is something you will regularly find in every Romanian home – good old chicken soup. It is the start to most meals. Chicken soup is a worldwide cure-all for cold days, stuffy noses, and general under-the-weather moments.
For the chicken stock, you can use any part of the chicken. I used an entire chicken, but you could just as easily use 2 marylands and then shred the meat into the soup. If you don’t fancy making such a huge quantity of stock, you can cut down on the ingredients listed below and make a smaller batch using a couple of chicken legs, about 150 g of celeriac, 50 g of parsley root, 1 carrot, 1 teaspoon of salt, and about 2 liters of water.
The stock won’t be quite as rich as it would be if you used the entire carcass, but it’ll do very well. These quantities will result in enough soup for 2 as a lunch-sized portion, or maybe 3 bowls for a smaller starter-sized portion. You might want to cut down on the dumpling mix too if making it for two.
If you can’t find parsley root where you are, then you can substitute it with a parsnip or even some celery.
Servings: 4-6 portions (depending on size)
Time: 30 minutes (plus 3 hours for homemade broth)
How to Make Chicken Broth:
- Wash the chicken inside and out and put it, whole, into a deep stock pot and cover with water, probably about 4-5 liters. Put the pot on a low heat.
- Peel and roughly chop the celeriac, parsley root, and carrots and add to the broth along with two teaspoons of salt. Leave in on a low heat until the broth starts to simmer. The theory is that if you bring it rapidly to the boil, you won’t end up with a nice clear broth.
- Skim the top of the broth with a slotted spoon to remove the froth and scum that rises. Do this regularly until it produces no more froth (maybe an hour) and then wipe any scum off the inside edge of the pot with a damp piece of kitchen roll.
- Once it has finished producing scum, pop the lid on to stop it reducing too much and leave for about another two hours.
- When it is finished, strain the soup through a fine sieve into a clean pot.
For the chicken dumpling soup we only need the broth, but obviously it would be wasteful not to make use of the lovely tender chicken meat. The whole chicken can be stripped of its meat, which can then be added to a salad or reserved to be put into a stew or a soup. I use mine to make Boef’s salad.
If you make this broth using a whole chicken, you should end up with about 2-3 liters of liquid. For the dumpling soup, you might only want half of that (depending how many you’re cooking for) so any leftover broth can be reserved for a couple of days in the fridge to be used as stock for other recipes, or frozen in a plastic tub and stored in the freezer for a couple of months.
The vegetables used in the stock can also be eaten, put into a soup (perhaps with the remaining stock and chicken pieces to make a basic chicken soup), or even mashed up as a side dish for something else.
How to Make the Dumplings:
- Beat the eggs in a bowl with the oil and the salt.
- Sprinkle in the semolina flour one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly, until you reach the desired consistency. After adding each tablespoon, drag a fork through the mixture: it’s good to go when the fork marks remain visible. Too soft, and the dumplings will fall apart when added to the soup, too thick, and they’ll end up like cannonballs. It should be thicker than pancake batter, but not quite as thick as a dough. Leave to sit for 30 minutes.
- Put the broth on a low heat – don’t allow it to boil or it’ll break the dumplings up when you add them.
- Once the broth is up to temperature (hot, but not boiling), you can start to making the dumplings.
- Put a teaspoon into the hot broth for a few seconds to moisten it and make it hot, then take a spoonful of the dumpling mixture and lower it into the broth (don’t drop it from a height), allowing it to slide off. Repeat this until you have used up all the dumpling mixture.
- Put the lid on the pot and leave it on a low heat for another 5-10 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through and have expanded (they’ll double in size).
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, give it a twist of pepper, and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.