Tasty Tangents

Food, life and other morsels

Always learning: Notes from a country schoolhouse

Without any further ado, a fabulous guest post from my good friend Warren:

“Always learning: Notes from a country schoolhouse” would be the name of my blog, if I had one.  I don’t think I have enough time, or thoughts, to be able to have a regular blog though, so I thought I would hijack Amanda’s.  Just for a trial run.

It is wintertime, and everyone seems to be drawn to “comfort foods.”  Different people and different regions will have a unique definition of what this means.  For me, things like meatloaf, mashed potatoes, chili and pastas.  Generally speaking, not soup.  I’m just not a soup person.

A couple of weeks ago, on my way home from work I decided to roast a chicken for dinner.  I grabbed a nice sized bird, some bacon and a couple of sausages from the meat counter. (I decided to stuff the chicken with a sausage based stuffing and blanket it in bacon)

Anyway, after I got the chicken in the oven, and had the rice cooker ready to rock, I started to think maybe I should make soup out of the chicken carcass.  Don’t ask me why.  I’d only ever made soup once before.  As I said, I’m just not a soup lover.  I’m guessing it was that draw to “comfort food” having its affect on me.

The following afternoon on my way home for work I realized I needed carrots, onion and celery to start my soup. (Why exactly we use those three to make a base – mirepoix – I have no idea.)  I knew I had onions at home, but likely not carrots and most definitely not celery.  Realizing that I would never use an entire bunch of celery, even if it would last for a year in my fridge, I came up with an alternative way of getting what I needed.  I went to the local Casey’s Grillhouse, had a beer and ordered a side of celery and carrots to go. Just 99 cents!  Brilliant!  I got just enough and wouldn’t have the leftovers rotting in the veggie drawer.

The making of mirepoix, onions, carrots and celery.

So as I was boiling down the carcass in one pot and starting my mirepoix in another, while also making dinner (I decided it was a two day event to make soup) my wife says “are you making dumplings too? I love dumplings”

My memories of dumplings as a kid would not fall into the “comfort food” category.  My mother is a fabulous lady.  Happy, generous and still pretty spry for close to 80, but she has never been a great cook.  Dumplings as a kid were these lumpy doughy things that were likely meant to fill a person up, but really had no flavour or appeal.

And she wanted me to make dumplings?

Okay, why not.  Most things I try come out better than they should, so it was worth a try.  I found a recipe online that sounded okay, and got mostly good ratings.

The making of dumplings.

This one single recipe has made me a fan of soups again and made dumplings one of my new favourite foods.  They are soft, smooth, melt-in-your-mouth yumminess.

I used this Bobby Flay recipe on foodnetwork.com with some small tweaks.


1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs


Bring the milk and butter to a boil, add salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat and immediately add flour stirring until dough leaves the sides of the pan. Incorporate the eggs, 1 at a time, forming a sticky dough.

(I used large eggs and needed to add about 1/4 cup of extra flour, oh, and used garlic powder instead of nutmeg.)

Bring soup to a nice boil.  Add spoon-sized balls of dough and simmer until dumplings rise.

Chicken Soup with Dumplings

I roasted a chicken again this week (this time stuffed with a head of garlic) just so I could make soup with dumplings again.

Ah, comfort food!

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