Lemon Chicken Soup with La Pluie Dumplings
Makes 10 cups.
We lightened up the dumplings in this play on a Midwestern grandma’s chicken soup. They're just as comforting as classic dumplings but have a more delicate bite — somewhere between dumplings and gnocchi. The soup itself stays true to the original but we added fennel and lemon juice to highlight the tarragon and lemon peel in La Pluie, which is used in both the soup and the dumplings.
Be sure to use a wide pot so the dumplings aren't crowded as they cook.
For the dumplings:
1 medium potato (10–12 ounces), peeled and cut into eighths
1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
2 tablespoons plus ¼ teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons La Pluie
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
For the soup:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced (plus any leaves, chopped)
2 medium carrots, diced
1 fennel bulb, cored and diced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon La Pluie
2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup chopped parsley
Make the dumpling dough Place the potatoes and parsnips into a medium pot and cover with water. Add 2 tablespoons of the salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Boil until the vegetables are very soft, 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Drain the vegetables in a colander and let them cool and dry out for about 12 minutes. Return the empty pot to the stove. Working over the pot, grate the potato pieces on the large holes of a box grater. Add the parsnip cubes to the grated potato and mash the vegetables using a fork.
Set the heat to medium-low and add the butter to the mashed vegetables. As soon as the butter melts, turn off the heat. Add the flour, baking powder, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, La Pluie, and cheese to the pot. Stir once or twice, then add the egg and stir until the ingredients are just barely combined. Transfer the pot to the refrigerator while you prepare the soup.
Make the soup Put the oil into a Dutch oven or wide, heavy pot set over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel, La Pluie, and salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add 6 cups of water to the pot and bring it to a simmer.
Add the chicken thighs to the pot and let the soup return to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, about 25 minutes.
Remove the chicken thighs from the soup and transfer them to a large bowl. When they are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones. Shred the meat with two forks and set it aside.
Cook the dumplings Adjust the burner so that the soup is simmering but not boiling. Pull the pot of dough out of the fridge and use a spoon or small cookie-scoop to drop tablespoon-sized dollops of the dough into the soup. Partially cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Be sure that you do not let the soup come to a boil while the dumplings cook.
Finish the soup Add the shredded chicken, lemon juice, and parsley to the soup. Stir gently once or twice and taste the soup. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.
Serve the soup immediately — or if you plan to serve it a few hours later, let it cool and reheat it very gently just before serving.