appetizers / chicken / comfort food / recipes with wine pairings / soups

Chicken & Ricotta Herb Dumpling Soup

Chicken & Ricotta Herb Dumpling Soup

I was a little stumped the other day on what I wanted to make for dinner. The weather was pretty cold and crappy so I knew I wanted something stomach, heart and soul warming… So I inquired with our Facebook faithful to see if there were any recipes in particular they were looking for, and longtime follower Jennifer S. request Chicken & Dumplings. Well Jen, here you go… I hope you like the recipe!

Serves 4-6 as an entree, 6-8 as an appetizer.

Ingredients (Roasting Chicken):
5-6lb Chicken (if desired you can include giblets, but don’t use the liver)
2tsp Kosher Salt
2tsp Ground Black Pepper
2tsp Garlic Powder

Ingredients (Broth):
2tbsp Olive Oil
6 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 1/2 White Onions, sliced
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
2 Parsnips, diced
3 Large Carrots, diced
2tsp Kosher Salt + more to season to taste near the end
2tsp Ground Black Pepper + more to season to taste near the end
2c Dry White Wine
4c Chicken Stock
6c Water
2c Fresh Parsley, chopped + additional Fresh Parsley sprigs for garnish
1tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Ingredients (Dumplings):
1 1/2lb Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
2 Large Eggs
1/3c Italian Breadcrumbs
1/2c Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4c Fresh Parsley, chopped
1tsp Ground Black Pepper
1c All Purpose Flour (for coating the dumplings)

Heat your oven to 400F.

Ok, let’s get rolling. The first thing to do is to get the chicken in the oven to roast. Wash it off then pat it dry, and season it with the salt, black pepper and garlic powder. If you are using the neck and organs that’s fine, just dispose of the liver. Roast uncovered in the oven for 45 minutes.

Once the chicken is in the oven it’s time to get started on the broth. In an 8QT sauce pot heat the olive oil at medium-high heat, then add the garlic, onion, celery, parsnip, carrot, salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables start to sweat, about 5 minutes, stirring periodically. Increase the heat to high and add the white wine, simmer until reduced by half. Then add the chicken stock and water, cover and bring to a boil. Remove the chicken from the oven and add it to the pot (skin on), along with any drippings from the roasting pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes, stirring periodically. Then reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer uncovered for an additional 1 hour, stirring periodically. Towards the end as you stir you can start to break up the chicken with your spoon to make stirring easier.

While the chicken is simmering you can make the dumplings. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the flour. Then put the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so it can firm up and is easier to handle. Remove the dumpling mixture from the fridge. One at a time form a 2″ ball with your hands then thoroughly coat the ball in the flour (you should get 8 dumplings). Put the floured dumplings back in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.

Once the hour is up use tongs to remove the bones from the soup (and giblets if used), and shred the chicken. Stir in the chopped parsley and Worcestershire Sauce, then gently add the dumplings. Cook uncovered for an additional 15 minutes at medium heat. The dumplings should rise to the top of the soup after 5-6 minutes. If they do not use a spoon to gently stir and make sure they’re not stuck to the bottom of the pot.

That’s it, you’re all set. Carefully spoon your dumplings into your serving bowls, ladle the soup over them and then garnish with fresh parsley sprigs!

Now let’s talk wine pairing… You have to either go with a medium-to-full bodied white, or a lighter bodied red. If you go with a big red wine here it’s only going to mask the subtle flavors of the soup and dumplings. Think California Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, maybe a Soave with some age on it, or even a Pinot Gris/Grigio that’s seen some oak or lees aging. If you’re looking at reds I’d stick with Gamay, Pinot Noir, or maybe even a stainless aged Loire Cabernet Franc. Here are a few that I would recommend.

Filippi Castelcerino Soave Classico 2012, Veneto, IT –  Normally I’m not the biggest fan of Soave’s. They’re typically very aromatic and are very fat in the mouth with overt honeyed notes and little-to-no balancing minerality or acidity. The Soave’s of Filippo Filippi (yes, that’s his real name), however, are anything but typical. Filippi’s estate and vineyards are located in Castelcerino, which is the highest elevation region in the Soave DOC. The family has been making wine from these estates since the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until 2003 that they started bottling under their own name. On the nose the Classico is very typical Soave, being super aromatic, but the palate is a completely different story. The wine is medium bodied, and while there are honeyed notes evident, there are also beautiful hints of grapefruit pith, white peach and lemon zest, framed by crunchy minerality and subtle acidity. This is easily the most complex, yet well balanced, Soave I’ve ever had, and at the price it’s an absolute steal. PP Score: 90 (Retail $13-16) *Certified Organic

Johan Vineyards Pinot Gris 2014, Willamette Valley, Oregon – Johan is the brain-child of Dag Johan Sundby, quite possibly one of my favorite people in the wine world. I’ve written about his wines before, and trust me I will again, and again, and again… His 2014 Pinot Gris is absolutely stunning, and quite different from its contemporaries. In the glass is a golden wine of medium body with the faintest pink hue from partial skin contact. On the nose you’ll find subtle aromas of citrus pith, white peach, crushed white flowers, sage and granite. The palate reflects the bouquet’s notes, with each flavor beautifully nuanced and accentuated by moderate acidity, yet with uncommon depth and roundness brought on by lees contact and neutral barrel aging. This is a Pinot Gris that, while still suited to be an aperitif, is meant to be consumed with food and is ideal for drinking year round, not just during the warmer months. PP Score: 91 (Retail $21-24) *Certified Biodynamic

Calera Chardonnay 2013, Central Coast, California – Calera is the winery of Josh Jensen, one of California’s true icons. He founded the winery in 1975, starting with 24 acres of vineyard in what is now known as the Mount Harlan AVA, which was named specifically for Josh, dedicated solely to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Viognier. Until recently all wines under the Calera label were from Jensen’s estates and were priced where you would expect a historic winery’s bottles to be priced, i.e. not your every day wines. However Josh decided that he would like to offer consumers wines that are slightly more wallet friendly, and he created his Central Coast line. The Calera Central Coast wines are not from the Mount Harlan estates, instead they are made with fruit sourced from a number of quality growers in the Central Coast AVA. The Central Coast Chardonnay is a beautiful representation of the varietal and region. In the glass is a full bodied wine of golden hue. On the nose are aromas of green apple, white peach skin and honeysuckle. The palate is vibrant and expressive with notes of ripe apple, poached pear, melon, brioche, vanilla and subtle oak, with a creamy mouthfeel balanced by moderate acidity, leading into a relatively long finish with a hint of warmth. PP Score: 90 (Retail $18-21)*Certified Organic *Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2015

Chais St. Laurent Chinon 2013, Loire, FR – The Chais St. Laurent wines are made by Maison Foucher-Lebrun, a “Petit Négociant” specializing in wines from the Loire Valley. While many times négociants are frowned upon in France (although readily accepted everywhere else in the world), no one dares to speak ill of Foucher-Lebrun. They have been producing wines since 1921, and over the last 90+ years have developed relationship with some of the top growers in the region, from whom they source their grapes from. The Cabernet Franc for their Chinon is sourced from the villages of Rivière, Beaumont-en-Véron and Savigny-en-Véron. The wine is extremely bright and friendly, aged entirely in stainless steel letting the fruit shine rather than fight for attention. On the palate you’ll find notes of bright cherry, tart raspberry, dried herbs and green bell pepper with subtle acidity and chewy tannins in the finish. They only make roughly 3,500 cases of the Chinon, so it’s not the easiest to find, but there are retailers online who you could purchase from if it’s not readily available in your area. PP Score: 87 (Retail $9-12)

So there you have it, my Chicken & Ricotta Herb Dumpling Soup recipe and some wines I recommend to pair with it. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. More new articles are en route soon, in the meantime crack open some Johan Pinot Gris, sit back, and relax. Life is short, you deserve to enjoy it!

Bon Appetit!!!

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