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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Wilkinson

Soup Weather > Sweater Weather

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

For me, soup season is year-round. I've been ridiculed by my friends for asking what kind of soup a restaurant has, while sitting on a patio in 85 degree heat. It's filling, there are a thousand different kinds, and its one of the only foods that intrinsically forces me to eat it slowly (I've always eaten quickly-I can't help it!). So once the temperature drops below 70, I open the flood gates, and soup is on our weekly menu at least once or twice.

This week, I went with chicken & dumplings. I have this beautiful, fragrant sourdough starter that I feed every week, and I've been struggling to find uses for the discard, besides more bread items. Sourdough discard just adds flavor, so why not stir some into a traditional dumpling dough? Let me tell you, it was a good choice! The result were big, puffy dough balls with a wonderful added tang. I went with sage and black pepper to season them, giving the stew a tiny hint of Thanksgiving flavor (PS I"m SO excited for Thanksgiving!).

This is definitely one of the easier soup recipes you'll make (please make this!), and it can be thrown together pretty quickly with pantry staples. Perfect for a chilly October night when you don't really feel like cooking, but you have to put something on the table. This actually reminds me of something my mom would make for after Trick-Or-Treating (are we doing that this year?). We would stuff ourselves with candy, and actually crave a bowl of vegetables afterward. So pair down the dumplings, and amp up the vegetables if making for little goblins.




-1 T olive oil

-1 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced

-2 stalks celery, diced

-2-3 large carrots, sliced (equal to ~1.5 cups)

-2 cloves garlic, finely diced

-6 cups chicken broth or homemade stock (I really like this Roasted Chicken Base if using bullion)

-1 large or 2 small chicken breasts, cut into chunks*

-1 large bay leaf


-1 cup all-purpose flour

-2 tsp baking powder

-1/4 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp ground sage

-1/2-1 cup sourdough starter**

-2 T olive oil

-1 raw egg, scrambled

-1/2 tsp each fresh ground black pepper and salt***

-1/4 cup+ water

(***See NOTES at bottom of page)


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large dutch oven or deep stock pot, and add diced onions, celery and carrots. Saute on high until just browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the chicken stock and bay leaf, and bring to a simmer.

If using rotisserie chicken or no chicken, skip this paragraph completely, and go right to making the dumplings.) Once simmering, drop in the cubed chicken, and turn heat down to low. You can let this simmer on the stove for up to 45 minutes, or just long enough for the chicken to cook through. The longer you let it simmer, the softer the chicken will be. While the soup base is cooking, work on the dumplings.

For the dumplings, add all ingredients through the salt and pepper to a medium sized bowl. Add as much water as needed to combine all ingredients into a homogeneous mixture. Use about a tablespoon at a time to avoid over-watering, as the amount needed will depend on how much starter you used at the beginning. If you don't have starter, you will need more water. The completed mixture will resemble a very thick & stretchy cookie dough consistency.

Once the dumpling dough is combined, and soup base vegetables & chicken are cooked through, bring mixture to a rolling boil. Drop ping-pong ball sized balls of dough into boiling soup. Stir periodically as you drop them in, so they don't stick together. Give the soup one big stir, and let the dumplings simmer for about 10 minutes. They will puff up and get denser as they cook. The dumplings will also shed some of their starches, leaving you with a nice, thick broth. If it's too thick for your liking, add a little water or milk (if you have leftovers, you'll almost certainly need to add a little liquid when re-heating).

After about 10 minutes, use a clean spoon and cut into a dumpling off the side of the pot to check for done-ness, and resist the urge to eat them all stove-side. Your burnt tongue and hungry family won't thank you.

An uncomplicated Pinot Grigio or crisp cider will perfectly round out this warming stew. I like Arsenal's Fighting Elleck.


Chicken Soup with Sage Sourdough Dumplings


*Chicken: This soup is perfectly filling sans protein, and I've made it as such many times. Just double the vegetables. If vegetarian, use vegetable broth.

You can also choose to use chicken thighs or pre-cooked rotisserie chicken

**Sourdough starter: Not everyone has this, and it's totally fine to omit. But next time someone offers you starter or discard, take it with this recipe in mind! It really adds a great flavor.

***If you have a pepper grinder, please use it for this recipe. The bite of fresh ground adds a lot to these dumplings. Of course, if you only have pre-ground pepper, that will do. But add a pepper grinder to your Christmas list! I received this set as a gift, and adore them.

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