Kitchen garden cook
Melanie Johnson conjures with cranberries for cosy nights
This is the ultimate cold-weather warmer: chicken soup with cosier?’ cheese-and-cranberry dumplings. What could be
For the soup A splash of olive oil 1 onion, diced 2 large carrots, diced 3 stalks celery, diced 1 whole chicken 1tspn peppercorns 1 bayleaf 50ml double cream A handful fresh parsley
For the dumplings 200g self-raising flour 75ml buttermilk (or a little
more if needed) 40g Cheddar cheese, grated 25g Camembert, chopped 50g fresh (or frozen) cranberries, chopped
Add a splash of olive oil to a large casserole dish. Over a medium heat, briefly fry the diced onion, carrots and celery before adding the whole chicken to the pot. Pour in enough water to just cover the chicken, together with the peppercorns and bayleaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings. Put the flour in a large bowl, pour in the buttermilk and mix with your hands to form a dough, adding a little more buttermilk if necessary. The dough should feel quite sticky, but be able to hold its shape in a ball. Add both cheeses and the cranberries and then roll the dough into dumplings. Set them aside on a plate.
Lift the chicken out of the pot and remove the bayleaf. Cut away the meat and shred it using two forks. Set it aside.
With the chicken out of the pot, use a stick blender to half-purée the soup. Don’t purée it completely—you just want it to have a warm creaminess to it, but with texture. Add the cream and stir well. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and stir it through.
Warm the soup and bring to a simmer. Drop the dumplings onto the top, cover with a lid and cook the dumplings for about five minutes.
To serve, place a dumpling in each bowl and ladle the soup around it. Scatter with herbs and serve.