Fred's Diner "famous" chicken dumpling soup!
A little off the beaten path, not too far from my house, is a small, unpretentious diner, almost hidden among the machine shops and construction companies. Walking into the tiny white brick building, which is cozily decorated inside with flowered wall paper and lace curtains, is like taking a step back in time. Open 7 days a week from 6am to 3 pm, the fare is typical diner food like hot roast beef or turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes, country fried steak topped with sausage gravy and breakfast, anytime......there is even an old-fashioned lunch counter with wobbly stools (in my opinion, the best seat in the house).
Now, I have eaten at my fair share of four star restaurants and been know to whip up a few "gourmet" meals, but there are times when I would swap Lobster Thermidor and a mess of mussels marinieres for one of Fred's burgers, I am especially partial to the Freddy, which has Swiss cheese, mushrooms and grilled onions...... served by a smiling waitress who dotes on you like you you were a favorite relative come to visit. If the burgers don't cure your fresh-saffron-pasta-with-organic-chicken-breast-morel-mushrooms-goat-cheese-blues, order yourself up a bowl of Fred's famous chicken dumpling soup! Maybe not world famous, but it's famously satisfying at any rate. Full of tender chicken chunks and falling-apart dumplings, this soup wraps around your tummy like a warm, fluffy blanket!
Fred's Famous Chicken Dumpling Soup
(he got the recipe from June Smith)
1 whole chicken
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 cups flour
2 tsp chicken soup base
2 cups milk
1 cup corn starch
3 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
In a large uncovered Dutch oven, cook chicken in 5 quarts of water along with celery, carrots and onion for 1 hour until chicken is cooked.
A few minutes before the hour is up, prepare dumpling batter; In a bowl, mix eggs, baking powder, pepper and flour until a thick batter is formed.
After the hour is up, remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.
Add chicken base to stock. Bring to a boil.
Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling batter into the boiling stock. Let soup boil uncovered for five more minutes, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to warm then add milk. Mix corn starch with one cup of water and then slowly stir mixture into soup. Add food coloring if desired.
Remove cooled chicken from carcass, discarding skin. Cut meat into chunks or strips and add to soup.
This recipe yields about 5 quarts.
Note: The large amount of corn starch called for contributes to the soups ultra thick consistency.