Serves: 8 | Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
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Growing up, chicken dumpling soup was a favorite recipe that my mom would make. It didn’t matter the time of year; if she made it in the winter, it was a warming comfort food after coming in out of the cold, but she would make it in the summertime too. Chicken dumpling soup can be flavored so many different ways, and one of my mom’s favorites was throwing in as many fresh garden veggies as she could harvest on any particular day.
I distinctly remember carrots as a main ingredient in my mom’s chicken dumpling soup recipe. Oh, those bright orange pops of flavor amidst all those juicy chunks of chicken and plump dumplings swimming around in that herby broth… I suppose I may be partial to the use of carrots because they are one of my favorite veggies, but if you prefer, you can change up the carrots with peas, or use them both together. (I would have added peas, but Mark is not a fan and would just pick them out!)
My mom makes her chicken dumpling soup with cream, which is fine and dandy if you are using white meat, but I chose to make this recipe without it because I am using dark meat with the bones in. I really want the carrot and herb flavors to shine in the homemade chicken stock that is the base for this chicken and dumpling soup.
Now, before you fret over having to make homemade chicken stock, I just want to point out that you don’t have to go through the trouble! Since this soup is made in the Instant Pot, you can make the stock at the same time as you make the soup.
Yep, one and done.
To do this, you’ll throw in whole chicken pieces with the skin and bone intact. This renders a rich and fatty broth that packs enough of its own flavor, so adding cream really isn’t necessary. If you don’t want to deal with fishing out all the bones later, you can use boneless chicken pieces, but I highly recommend using dark meat as it imparts some of that fattiness that makes homemade stock so flavorful. If you decide to omit the bones, add some butter or olive oil to really amp up the savory flavor or your broth may fall flat.
And now… about how to make homemade dumplings for chicken and dumplings…
A first glance at the recipe may have you thinking…. a recipe for chicken soup dumplings with nutmeg!?
Yeah, I personally think this is how to make the perfect dumplings… you want them to have a hint of flavor, but not so much that they overpower the rest of the soup. A tiny sprinkling of nutmeg in the soup dumpling dough boosts the meaty flavor of the broth just enough for you to say WOW! without knowing that it is nutmeg. I have been known to use nutmeg in chili, meat seasonings, and all kinds of slow cooked or Instant Pot stews and soups. Nutmeg may be commonly known as a spice used in fall sweet treats and winter ciders, but it plays a great supporting role in savory dishes, too. Just use it sparingly!
Making this soup in the Instant Pot rocks because it puts out a long, slow cooked flavor in just over an hour. Perfect for busy cooks! So… if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you need to get one. The prices have come down, and I can’t tell you how it is worth the investment to have an Instant Pot in the house. Here are a few suggestions to make it easy (just click on your preferred retailer to see the options):
This recipe makes enough for 8. Even though it is only Mark and I in the house (and our three cats, but they don’t eat soup!), I usually make the whole shebang and then freeze the remaining soup for later. Because there is no cream in the base, the dumplings and broth freeze quite nicely! If you are a family of four, you can freeze enough for another round. Perfect for when you just don’t feel like cooking at all, or are too darn busy to on any given night. Just pull this easy homemade freezer soup out in the morning, then heat it on the stove (or microwave) when it’s dinnertime.
Chicken Dumpling Soup
- Instant Pot
- FOR THE SOUP:
- 4 large chicken leg quarters with skin and bone
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 chicken bullion cubes
- 6 medium carrots sliced
- 1 whole white onion chopped into big chunks
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- FOR THE DUMPLINGS:
- ½ cup whole milk
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Add all of the ingredients for the soup to the Instant Pot and give them a couple of stirs. Secure the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 15 minutes (30 minutes if using frozen chicken).
- While the soup is cooking, prepare the dumplings by sifting together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Add the nutmeg and black pepper and whisk to evenly combine. Whisk the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl, then slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring as you go. Continue to stir until no dry clumps remain, then set the dough aside until ready to use.
- Once the timer on the Instant Pot goes off, carefully open the vent to quickly release the pressure. When it is safe to remove the lid, carefully do so. Use a ladle and a carving fork to shred the meat and to fish the bones, cartilage and skin out of the soup. This will take about 10 minutes, but take your time getting these things out. It is never fun to bite into a mouthful of cartilage or worse, a bone. Although this step may be a bit tedious, don’t be tempted to use boneless chicken. The skin, bones, and cartilage are what give the broth its flavor! (See the note below if you still want to use boneless chicken.)
- Cancel the ‘warm’ setting and set the Instant Pot to the ‘soup / stew’ setting, then add the dumplings to the stew. I use two teaspoons to do this; one to scoop up about 1 teaspoon of dough and the other to slide the dough off into the stew. When you add a dumpling to the stew, immediately dunk it below the surface of the broth. Although the dumplings will float back up, dunking them coats them with fat and keeps them from sticking together. Continue until all of the dough is used up, varying the dumpling size a bit to make it interesting. The dumplings will double in size as they cook, so don’t make them any bigger than 1 teaspoon (or they may not cook all the way through). Once all of the dumplings are in the stew, continue to cook the stew uncovered for another 15 minutes. It will begin to boil, this is ok.
- When ready to serve the soup, cancel all settings on the Instant Pot and allow the stew to cool slightly because it will be very hot by this point. Use a large ladle to serve it into bowls and garnish with fresh parsley, a sprinkle of sea salt and a grind of black pepper.