Chicken and Dumpling Soup
A belly-filling and soul-satisfying meal
Despite the good looks of this soup, it’s quite easy to throw together on a weeknight if you keep frozen dumplings in the freezer at all times, like we do. When my husband, Steve, and I started tiptoeing back into the city after the first worst days of the pandemic, we always made a stop at the H Mart in our East Village neighborhood to stock up on fresh noodles and frozen dumplings (among other things). The fresh noodles, in their Cryovac packages, keep for months before opening, which was helpful during those dark days. Frozen dumplings keep forever too — but they never last that long around here. They are so handy for a quick meal, or to make a soup substantial enough for dinner (including the Chicken and Dumpling Soup recipe I’m sharing today).
Luckily just about every supermarket has some kind of Asian dumplings, and a small Asian grocery will have a good selection too. That said, if you get a chance to stock up at H Mart, the selection cannot be beat. We had just restocked on H Mart dumplings when I had the idea for this soup, which is pretty veggie-packed but easy on the knife work. It only takes a minute to prep the bok choy and mushrooms.
The one place I’ll ask you to do a tad more work is to make a quick chicken stock. You have to cook the chicken anyway, so why not make a fast and flavorful broth while you do? It’s easy to accomplish this step just before dinner, a few hours before, or even a few days before, depending on your schedule. You do you! The first time I made it, I made the broth just before dinner. When I made it again in order to write this recipe for you, I made the broth and chicken the day before, so there was very little to do to get the meal on the table.
But here’s the kicker: If you’re really in a hurry, or if you already have some good stock in the freezer, you don’t have to make the stock at all. Just use your favorite prepared stock or use the magic potion Better than Bouillon to mix up a flavorful broth, add some leftover chicken if you have it (or some shredded rotisserie chicken), and continue on at step 4. With those plump, juicy dumplings bobbing in the broth, you’ll have a belly-filling and soul-satisfying meal in minutes.
Last January, I wrote a guide on how to make your own vegetable soups based on whatever you have lingering in your fridge and pantry. It went to my paid subscribers and included a video tutorial as well. Soup is about all I crave in the middle of winter, and I’m sure I’m not alone. If you are looking to up your soup game this season, click below for the guide and/or to upgrade to a full-access subscription.
Chicken and Dumpling Soup
If you want to use white meat instead of dark, use two bone-in chicken breasts. Depending on their size, you may need to cook them a few minutes longer. If the meat is still a little pink, it’s OK, because it will cook again in step 4. Put it in after the first 4 minutes of cooking so it doesn’t dry out.
1 (3 ½-ounce) package shiitake mushrooms
4 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 pound)
2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 shallot, sliced
1 small onion, sliced
8 slices fresh ginger, divided
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
10 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken-flavored Better than Bouillon
4 heads baby bok choy
12 large frozen dumplings
4 scallions, sliced thin, whites and greens separated
Remove the stems from the shiitakes, wash them well, and toss them into a small stock pot or Dutch oven. Slice the caps and set them aside for later.
Add chicken thighs, celery, carrots, shallot, onion, 4-5 slices ginger, peppercorns, salt, and the water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
After 25 minutes, carefully transfer the chicken to a dinner plate and let cool until it can be handled. Once cooled, pull the meat from the bones and set aside. Return the skin and bones to the pot and simmer for an additional 20 to 40 minutes (depending on how much time you have). Strain the broth into a large bowl and discard the solids. Rinse the pot and return to the stove. Return the broth to the pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in Better than Bouillon to taste (a few teaspoons).
Slice the bok choy stems into 1-inch pieces and set aside the green leafy tops. Add the sliced stems to the pot along with the white parts of the scallions, the chicken, the sliced mushroom caps, and the remaining slices of ginger. Bring to a boil, add the dumplings, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked though (follow package directions).
Add the reserved bok choy greens, and stir in, just until wilted. Serve immediately with the scallion greens sprinkled on top.
Great recipes for these snowy days. Thank you Susan!
Seriously craving dumplings right now!