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BRIAN IN THE KITCHEN  brought to you by Stittsworth Meats

October 10 2011

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 bulb celery root, peeled and finely diced
1 turnip, peeled and finely diced
1 rutabaga, peeled and finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 bulb fennel, finely diced
Kosher salt
4 cups white wine
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 2 1/2-pound organic chicken
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken fat (sold fresh or frozen in tubs at gourmet stores)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter in a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, carrots, celery root, turnip, rutabaga, onion, diced fennel and a large pinch of salt; cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine, 6 cups water, fennel seeds, thyme and bay leaves; bring to a simmer. Add the chicken and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the chicken and let cool. Pick off the meat in shreds; set aside.

About 15 minutes before the chicken has finished simmering, prepare the dumplings: Combine the milk, chicken fat, 1 tablespoon tarragon, the nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; add the flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, to make a thick dough.

Bring the soup to a boil. Form the dough into eight dumplings (an ice cream scoop is perfect for this); drop into the soup. Cover and cook until the dumplings float to the surface, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken meat, parsley and the remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon to the soup; stir carefully and divide among warm bowls.