I could could always count on my mother making chicken and dumplings when I came down with a cold. Her chicken stock was always rich and golden because she used chicken wings - which made the stock packed with collagen. She'd first simmer the whole wings for a while, then remove the meat and simmer the bones even longer. I swear this elixir had an antibiotic effect and I always felt better by the next day.
I use my mother's method of making stock but have pumped up the flavor with loads of garlic, ginger, turmeric, and one of my favorite ingredients - lime leaves. For the dumplings I used sweet potatoes for their antioxidants and sweetness. This is a soulful and delicious soup to soothe whatever ails you. Serve hot in soup bowls with lime wedges and fresh cilantro.
Yield: 5-6 servings. Prep: Stock: 4 hours. Dumplings: 30 minutes. Total time: 5 hours
For the chicken stock:
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
2 whole cloves
1 head of garlic
4 pounds chicken wings
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and smashed
2-inch piece fresh turmeric root, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon of whole black pepper
1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
Small handful of fresh lime leaves
7-8 cups water
1. Stick the cloves into the onion. Peel the excess 'paper' from the outside of the head of garlic and slice off the top 1/4 of the head so that the garlic cloves are exposed.
2. Add the studded onion, head of garlic, chicken wings, garlic, turmeric root, ginger root, lime leaves, black pepper, and coriander to a large stock pot and cover with water with two extra inches at the top. Bring to a boil, lower to a slow simmer, partially cover and cook, for 1 hour.
3. Remove the chicken from the stock with tongs and place on a platter. Let the stock continue to simmer while the chicken cools. Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, remove the meat from the bones, place in a storage container, cover, and set aside. Return the chicken bones to the stock and simmer for another 2 hours.
4. Remove the stock pot from the heat. Strain the stock into a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot using a wire strainer, pressing down on the solids. Cover and let cool to room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour. Place the chicken in the refrigerator as well.
5. Once the stock is cooled the fat will have floated to the top. Skim off the fat and discard. Your stock is now ready to use.
For the Dumplings:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons fine kosher salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
1. Place the sweet potato chunks in a pot and cover with one inch of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to simmer. Cook until very soft, about 7-8 minutes. Drain in a colander and let cool for about 15 minutes.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mash and whip the sweet potatoes until they are light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the ginger, lime zest, and salt.
3. In a small bowl beat the egg until frothy. Pour into the sweet potatoes and beat to combine. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
4. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time to the sweet potatoes and mix in to fully incorporate. When all of the flour has been fully combined into the dough and it is still slightly wet and sticky, flour your hands and gather the dough into a ball. Place 1/3 of the dough onto a surface that has been well floured and roll the dough into a snake, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the dough into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal, and place side by side on baking sheet lined with parchment. Continue this process with the rest of the dough until you have a full sheet of dumplings. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator until you are ready to use the dumplings.
Finish the soup:
2 large ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
All of the chicken stock
All of the chicken meat
2 garlic cloves, pressed
All of the sweet potato dumplings
Juice of two limes
Fine kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
Lime wedges and fresh cilantro leaves to serve
1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Taste for seasoning, and add salt to taste, in 1 tablespoon increments. Do not over salt.
2. Add the chicken meat, corn, and pressed garlic cloves. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Drop in the dumplings, one by one, and stir gently. Once the dumplings have floated to the top of the soup, simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice.
4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges.