Soup for the Soul

October 25, 2010

Firstly, I just want to say thank you for all your beautiful words about my recent post. Your love and support is very special. I am overwhelmed with your kindness, this community is so lovely. It helped a little to make those cookies for David on Saturday. Iโ€™m glad I got to share them with you too. He would have liked that. And the cookies would probably all be gone by now if he were here to have them ๐Ÿ™‚

Ben and I spent the weekend at Red Hill with my parents and brother, with nothing planned but for all of us to just be around each other. Mum and dad worked on and off in the garden. The vegetable patch is looking incredible, covered with a sea of vibrant, turgid greens simply screaming to be picked and enjoyed. Ben and I read and talked and planned – saving money, houses, travel, the wedding. We slept for 11 hours each night, and went for gorgeous walks in the apprehensive October sun. It was nice. There were tears but it was ok.

On Saturday night Ben, Jackson and I played Monopoly. Upon my request, dad made some mulled wine, which had gorgeous hints of apple and cinnamon – just lovely. We sipped as we played. We all have very different playing styles, which allowed for a fun game. Ben is quite the competitive and ambitious proprietor, Jackson is the cunning strategist, and I simply pick the properties I like the name or colour of. More often than not, this strategy of mine (or lack-there-of), leads me to victory. Go figure. We didnโ€™t get to finish the game, but I had all the pretty yellow properties and I think I looked pretty good for the win ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunday morning I was flicking through โ€˜Cuisineโ€™, a New Zealand magazine that mum had recently acquired. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of the recipes. I love it when a magazine leaves me inspired and itching to cook. As I completed my ritual of marking the recipes that sing out to me for dad to scan and email, I came across one that caused Benโ€™s eyes to open wide. He insisted we make it for lunch. So we didโ€ฆ

Chicken Dumpling Soup with Orecchiette and Peas

By Kathy Snowball
Recipe link

We all really enjoyed this. The dumplings were surprisingly spongy and firm โ€“ kind of like the texture of Asian Fish Balls (donโ€™t let that put you off though!). Not overly strong on the chicken flavour, so next time we may increase the ratio of mince to breadcrumbs. No doubt this will alter the texture, yet they should still hold together ok.

The broth was subtle, as I find all homemade chicken stocks to be, yet it was really delicious. I liked the result of using chicken wings to make the stock, as opposed to a whole chicken. I found the flavour to be a little more intense, which was nice. It does mean that you cannot use the chicken meat in the same way if using a whole chicken, yet chicken wings are very cheap so I donโ€™t mind. I was really happy with the flavour, and will use wings in the future to make my stocks!

The orecchiette was a lovely addition. We used a really good quality pasta and I suggest you do the same if you wish to take the dish to an extra special place. Be sure to add the peas at an appropriate time so as to not overcook them, you really want to retain the gorgeous green colour to make the soup pop aesthetically.

This dish was savoured by everyone. Ben and I will definitely be making it again. Good soup for the soul. Interestingly, it felt as though the dish was influenced by a mixture of cultures. It had an underling Italian feel due to the orecchiette and the stock, the texture of the dumplings gave it an Asian twist, and it also had a bit of a Russian feel courtesy of the dumplings, which were flavoured with dill. Yet it was inherently homely. Not your average soup! We doubled the recipe, and mum and dad now have leftovers for when they work late during the week. Iโ€™m now wishing we took some home too.

It was a lovely lunch, which warmed our souls and made us feel a little lighter.

Heidi xo

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  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Monopoly and mulled wine sound like such a winning combination to me too!

  • Angela (the diet book junkie) October 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    what kind of vino did you use for your mulled wine? just curious, i'm always up for good suggestions ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heidi October 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Dad used a local clean skin shiraz cab blend – sorry, not a lot of help! I will take more notes next time he makes it. I prefer it with a lighter red, actually.
    Heidi xo

  • grace October 25, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    so perfect. i've never seen such unique and appealing dumplings–this is definitely the epitome of comfort food for me.

  • The InTolerant Chef October 25, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    I love the addition of dill! Yumm…

  • Jenny October 25, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    This looks yummy! Perfect for a rainy cold day like today:)

  • hbobier October 26, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Between Monopoly and soup, it sounds like you had a pretty comforting weekend! And I'm with the InTolerant Chef, dill's always a good idea.

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums October 26, 2010 at 3:33 am

    So soul-uplifting and warming! A gorgeous soup. Yummy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Kath October 26, 2010 at 6:04 am

    I love you have a playing tradition with your family. I have that with my Mom – we always play when I visit my parents. My Dad not so much, though.

  • Michelle Chin October 26, 2010 at 9:00 am

    It's quite funny how Western dumplings are "open" instead of wrapped.

  • Heidi October 26, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Lisa – I should make this a monopoly and mulled wine tradition ๐Ÿ™‚
    Grace – Yes, such good comfort food!
    InTolerant Chef – Dill is amazing, it did add a lovely flavour.
    Jenny – Perfect rainy day soup!
    Heidi – It was a lovely weekend, thanks ๐Ÿ™‚
    Rosa – Very soul-uplifting ๐Ÿ™‚
    Kath – Monopoly is the best, isn't it!? Such a fun, old-school game.
    Michelle – I love how each culture has their own version of dumplings ๐Ÿ™‚
    Heidi xo

  • Hannah October 26, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I love the idea of poaching meatball-type thingies in soup! Must keep them so tender and moist.

    Except now you've made me want spongey Asian fish balls ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous October 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Heidi We have just come back from spending the weekend at Tarra Valley Saturday it was raining a little and we spent the time remembering the holidays when all the Thorntons were there with us and the fun we shared with you David and Jackson coming down the hill on your bikes and trikes,It was very special way of remembering David on his Birthday and our thoughts were with you all as we recalled all the times we shared with him Love you Rooand Nana

  • Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear October 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Love the soup! it reminds me of a soup my German grandmum makes.. yummy.

  • Indie.Tea October 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    That looks super-delicious. A really great take on chicken soup…

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella October 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Heidi that soup is just my kind of comfort food. It reminds me of matzo ball soup which I also love ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heidi October 26, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Hannah – Asian fish balls are the bomb ๐Ÿ™‚
    Nana and Roo – That's so nice. I miss you two. I wish I could have been there, it's such a lovely place xo
    Anne – Oh, a touch of German too! See, very multicultural ๐Ÿ™‚
    Indie-Tea – thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ it was delicious!
    Lorraine – I have never tried matzo ball soup, but I said the same thing to my mum as we were eating it. I really want to try it!
    Heidi xo

  • Honey @ honeyandsoy October 27, 2010 at 11:18 am

    What a good choice for comfort food, sounds like it was exactly what you and your family needed while remembering David. Lots of love and hugs.

  • petite carousel October 27, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I have to try that this weekend. I've gone just far enough as to making my own beef meatballs, will have to try fish the next time =)

    Read your previous post, I'm sorry about your brother, the good ones always go first ๐Ÿ™ I'm sure he would enjoy the lovely cookies very much and is smiling on you every day =)