Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chicken & dumplings, sorta

I've been sick the past couple of days and have been craving a really good chicken soup. I finally felt well enough to cook and so decided to fix this unusual take on chicken & dumplings.

Tortellini is an extremely versatile base for many recipes. I particularly like the frozen cheese tortellini available in most supermarkets because it cooks fast. I use it in this chicken soup in place of a traditional flour dumpling, which makes for a really filling soup. My brother actually came up with the basic premise of this recipe (Go, Scott!) and I've adapted it with some mexican heat.

2 tsp oil, separated
1/4 lb bacon, chopped
3 chicken breasts
1 large red onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, whole
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 large can of chicken broth
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini
1/4-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lime, quartered

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add bacon and brown, removing to paper towels. Add chicken, browning 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken to plate. Pour off all but 2 T drippings. Add celery, 3/4 onion, 2 chopped carrots, ground cumin and ground coriander. Cook until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and chopped jalapeño, cooking for 2 minutes. Add wine and deglaze, scraping up browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Return chicken, bacon and juices to pot. Add chicken broth and more wine if needed to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 20 minutes.

Remove chicken to plate and shred into large chunks using a fork or fingers. Strain off cooking liquid and discard solids. Strain cooking liquid again through cheesecloth to remove extra fats and solids.

In pot heat 1 tsp oil. Add cumin seeds and cook for 1-2 minutes, until seeds become aromatic. Add remaining carrots, onion, and whole jalapeño and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Deglaze with white wine. Add shredded chicken and cooking liquid. Bring to a boil. Add frozen tortellini, cilantro, and lime, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tortellini is cooked through. Let rest off heat 5 minutes, removing lime and jalapeño, spooning off any fat that accumulates on the surface. Serve in large bowls with a dollop of sour cream.

Chris Freeland
cfreeland27 (at)

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