Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Creamy Turkey Soup with Herb Drop Dumplings

From the kitchen of Once Upon a Plate

Many times when I'm cooking I don't use a recipe, that's what makes cooking a fun and creative outlet for me. I think many of us home cooks do the same thing. But it can be aggravating if you are one who must have a recipe to follow, so I apologize in advance. This is another one which I'll describe rather than give an exact recipe.

But it's okay! Just follow your instincts adjust to the thickness you're looking for, and taste and season until you're satisfied.

I'll admit, I'm not a fan of shredded poultry in my chicken or turkey salads, ditto with my chicken or turkey soups; so I usually always make the chunky kind.

No "mystery" shreds; I like to see and taste the chunks, and they fit on the fork or soup spoon much more neatly, too but if you like shreds, by all means!

Creamy Turkey Soup with Herb Drop Dumplings

Use any vegetables you happen to like, or have on hand. My favs for this soup are onions, celery, carrots and (frozen) peas. Add the peas just before serving long enough to heat through, so they remain a bright green.

First, prepare the Beurre Manie (see below), and set aside. I like chunky chicken or turkey soups, not shredded so I cube the cooked meat.

In the soup pot heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil, add the chopped onions & stir occasionally until just translucent. Add the sliced carrots, stir for a minute or two then add the celery.

Add chicken stock or broth to the pot, (add as much in volume as soup you would like to make). Add a sprig of thyme and/or a bay leaf if you like.

Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer until carrots are tender.

While vegetables are simmering make the Beurre Manie (recipe follows).
When veggies are tender, remove the thyme sprig & discard. I add about a cup of non-fat or low-fat milk until hot, then proceed ~

Blend in as much Beurre Manié , a bit at a time allowing the soup to simmer and thicken until it is to your liking, adding more Beurre Manie to achieve consistency you prefer.

Gently stir in the cooked turkey chunks and heat through; then stir in the frozen peas, they take no time to thaw and warm through.

Black Pepper and Herb Drop Dumplings

This is essentially a quick mix (like Bisquick), but with no hydrogenated fats.
Can mix these ingredients (omit herbs and pepper) and use in place of bisquick in any recipe.

1 1/8 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 to 1 teaspoon teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Mix together dry ingredients.
Add oil and combine using pastry cutter or 2 knives or pulse in food processor until blended

To make the dumplings ~

To the above dry mix, add about 1/2 cup of milk (I use non or low fat), may need a little more. Add enough to make a slightly soft dough
Herbs: Your choice, and as much as you like of fresh, minced herbs (can substitute dry herbs) I always add finely chopped fresh parsley, too.
Freshly ground black pepper (we like a generous amount)
Before serving soup, drop dough by spoonfuls onto boiling soup (or stew), Reduce heat, cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover pot, cook additional 10 minutes.
Makes about 6 dumplings (depending upon size.)

* Beurre Manié: Literally; "hand butter".

In this magical French thickener equal amounts of butter and all-purpose flour are blended together to form a smooth paste, to be added to hot liquid, then simmered acting as a thickening agent. I double the amount, and store any unused portion in the refrigerator for later use.
Surprisingly, even though the flour is not cooked ahead of time, there is no raw flour taste when using this thickener.

I just mix it up as I need it (equal amount of soft butter and all- purpose flour, blended until smooth) no need to form into balls. Or you can make it in advance & shape it into convenient to use balls, to have on hand to thicken gravies, stews, soups and such.

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter

Blend butter and flour well; shape into 4 to 6 balls. Refrigerate if not using right away.

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