Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's that time again...

Soup season has arrived. So I thought I would share two favorite soup recipes.

First is a light but filling potato soup. It is soup at its comfort food best. Plus, at only 194 calories per cup, you could put it in a bread bowl and not worry about pigging out on the bread bowl. With this soup, you'll be able to eat the bread bowl without any guilt.

Second is a recipe for chicken and dumplings. My youngest brother served an LDS mission in Mississippi (he was actually there during Hurricane Katrina). When he returned home he had picked up a love of and a craving for southern cooking. The race was on to find a chicken and dumplings recipe that could hold a candle to the authentic version he had eaten in the south. I made this recipe for a small gathering (only two of my brothers and one of my sisters was there). According to Sean, it tasted the closest to what he had eaten on his mission. He did chide me, however, for going overboard on the rosemary in the dumplings. At the time, I had a rosemary plant and I put well over the 1 tablespoon called for in the recipe. It was a tad overpowering. This time, I meant to use fresh rosemary, but I waited too long to make it and my rosemary withered and wasn't fresh enough to use. So, I used dried rosemary. And Sean was right. Follow the recipe exactly as written in regards to the amounts of herbs used. The dumplings were perfect this time around.

The only drawback? As with any good chicken and dumplings, it takes a little longer to make. So, you'll want to save this recipe for the weekend so you can take a little extra time on it. I made the mistake of making it on a weeknight and it just happened to be an evening where both of my boys had meltdowns while I was making dinner. I was quite worried that I wouldn't actually get to enjoy dinner (that I'd have to wolf it down as quickly as possible), but luckily, my boys calmed down as soon as dinner was finished and I got to enjoy it in all its glory. It really is a great recipe. The thyme adds so much flavor to the broth. The use of chicken legs gives it a "from scratch" feel, but mixing it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts makes it lighter than it would be if you used a whole chicken (which is how it is made in its authentic form).

So, enjoy a bowl of soup the next time there is rain in the forecast!

Homestyle Potato Soup


4 cups cubed peeled baking potato
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced celery
3/4 cup thinly sliced carrot
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
7 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)


Place first 9 ingredients in a 4 1/2 quart electric slow cooker; stir well. Cover and cook on low 6-7 hours or until vegetables are tender. Increase heat to high.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a bowl; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Stir into soup. Cook uncovered, 25 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Ladle soup into individual bowls, and sprinkle with cheese and additional pepper, if desired.

Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 cup soup and 1 tablespoon cheese).

Nutrition information: 194 calories, 7.6 g fat, 5.9 g protein, 26.8 g carb, 2.2 g fiber, 22 mg chol, 0.7 mg iron, 801 mg sodium, 151 mg calc.

Source: Cooking Light Slow Cooker cookbook, ISBN 0-8487-3068-2

Notes: I usually double this because the leftovers are great.

Chicken and Rosemary Dumplings



4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1 pound chicken drumsticks, skinned
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced carrot
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Remaining Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To prepare soup, combine first 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove pan from heat. Remove chicken pieces from broth; cool slightly. Strain broth through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Remove chicken from bones. Discard bones; chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set chicken aside.

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery, onion, and garlic; saute 6 minutes or until onion is tender. Add reserved broth mixture and 1/2 teaspoon salt, simmer 10 minutes. Keep warm.

To prepare dumplings, lightly spoon 1 1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1 1/4 cups flour, rosemary, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Combine buttermilk and egg, stirring with a whisk. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

Add chicken to broth mixture; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lightly spoon 1/4 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1/4 cup water, stirring with a whisk until well blended to form a slurry. Add slurry to pan; simmer 3 minutes. Drop dumpling dough, 1 tablespoon per dumpling, into chicken mixture to form 12 dumplings. Cover and cook 7 minutes (do not let broth boil). Sprinkle with pepper.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: 2 dumplings and 1 1/3 cups soup)

Nutrition information: 366 calories, 9.7 g fat, 32.5 g protein, 35.1 g carb, 2.9 g fiber, 115 mg chol, 3.3 mg iron, 936 mg sodium, 169 mg calc.

Source: Cooking Light Chicken cookbook, ISBN 0-8487-3063-1

Notes: While the chicken was cooking, I went to the next step and prepared the onions, carrots, and celery in a separate skillet. I removed the chicken from the broth and spooned out the thyme sprigs and chicken solids. I then put the onions, carrots, and celery directly into the broth (rather than putting the broth into a bowl and cooking the onions, carrots, and celery in that pan and then putting the broth back in that pan. I figured that if I was going to get two things dirty, I'd rather get two pans dirty and leave the broth where it was. I just didn't have time to bother with straining the broth and setting it aside while I let the vegetables cook). I then cut up the chicken and added it back to the broth/vegetable mixture.

My broth reduced a TON while my chicken was cooking. So, I would suggest either adding more broth (which I did) or cooking the chicken covered to avoid too much evaporation. Otherwise, you're not going to have enough soup to feed 6 people because there won't be very much broth left by the time you've finished cooking your meal. Plus, you need the broth to cook the dumplings.

1 comment:

  1. Looks good. Niel would really like both of these recipes. If he ever comes home, maybe I'll cook them. :)