As children, brothers Albert and Klaus Rainer had their mom's chicken and dumpling soup every Sunday. At their Russian Hill restaurant Leopold's, they recreate the family recipe with tender, herbed dumplings floating in a clear chicken broth with diced vegetables. It's pure comfort food and one of our "Best of the City" picks in the June 2011 issue of 7x7.
3-pound whole chicken
4 quarts chicken stock
4 stalks celery
1 fennel bulb
5 garlic cloves
1 bunch thyme
10 white peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
7 teaspoons (33 grams) butter, melted
1/2 cup (85 grams) semolina
Finely diced chives, for garnish
1. Place chicken and stock in a soup pot, and simmer for 1 hour. Remove chicken, and continue to simmer while you finely dice the vegetables and shred the meat. Reserve the vegetable scraps for brunoise garnish.
2. Add vegetables and aromatics to soup pot, and simmer for 1 hour. Season soup with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
3. Combine egg and butter in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until emulsified. Slowly whisk in semolina and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Make quenelles of the mixture by shaping small oval dumplings with two teaspoons, transferring the mixture from one spoon to the other until it resembles a football. Poach quenelles in boiling water for 20 minutes, or until soft.
5. To serve, place two or three dumplings, some of the shredded chicken, and brunoise garnish in each serving bowl. Pour soup over dumplings, and finish with chives.