Chicken soup for the soul with gram dumplings

08 November 2017

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Jasmine Hemsley shares a warming recipe from her new cookbook East by West 

All over the world, chicken soup is known for its healing properties. The anti-inflammatory
properties of a good bone broth are excellent for the gut and packed with immune-supporting minerals. Both restorative and therapeutic, this one-pot meal with aromatic vegetables and herbs is slow-cooked so that it can deliver the nutrients in a super easy-to-absorb form. And then, of course, there’s that comforting taste of nostalgia..
 

Chicken soup for the soul with gram dumplings

Serves 6
 

Ingredients for the soup

1 x 1.8kg chicken
2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled, but left whole
4 bay leaves
A few sprigs of thyme
2 handfuls of Jewish fine egg noodles or spaghetti, broken into bits (You can also use quinoa, corn and rice spaghetti)
Small bunch each of flat-leaf parsley and dill, roughly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 

Ingredients for the gram dumplings

90g (¾ cup) gram flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
freshly ground black or white pepper
2 medium eggs
1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, ghee or chicken fat
2 tbsp chopped dill
 

Method

1. Rinse the chicken and place in a very large saucepan. Cover with water until it reaches at least 8cm (3in) above the surface of the chicken. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any froth that comes to the surface.
 
2.  Add the rest of the soup ingredients (apart from the parsley, dill and noodles, if using) and bring everything back to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 1 hour. If you want to make your gram dumplings with chicken fat, then reserve 1 ½ tablespoons of the fat by skimming the surface regularly into a bowl — the fat will start to solidify at the top as it cools.
 
3. Meanwhile, to make your gram dumplings, whisk together the gram flour and baking powder in a bowl. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with the olive oil or ghee (or your reserved cooked chicken fat), dill and the salt and pepper. Slowly stir in your gram flour until well blended to make a thick, sticky batter. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes, covered with cling film, then wet your hands with cold water and roll the dough into about twelve small balls (roughly 1 teaspoonful each) — or make them slightly bigger, if you like. Don’t roll them too large, though, because they double in size when cooked!
 
4. Carefully remove the chicken to a large dish and leave to cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the chicken from the bones and set asid. You can reserve the skin and bones to make another stock.
 
5. Bring the soup back to the boil and gently drop in the dumplings. When they rise to the surface, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook for 20—25 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through and the centres are light. Cut one open to check — if the centre is hard and dark, cook for another 3—5 minutes, until cooked through.
 
6. About halfway through the dumpling cooking time, add in the noodles, if using, to the pan and cook gently for the final 10 minutes.
 
7. Add all your shredded chicken meat to the soup, along with the parsley, and warm through for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the dill and serve.
 

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