The chicken soup my mom made when I was growing up was a hearty version, laden with lots of vegetables and barley, and nary a dumpling in sight. But friends of mine have sung the praises of more delicate matzo ball and other dumpling soups, where the flavor of the vegetables and chicken is concentrated in a rich broth. So this one, included in a handwritten cookbook from the 1890s that a friend loaned me, caught my attention. Kept by a woman named Emma who was definitely a New York City foodie before her time, the book is full of lovely things, from oyster bisque to lobster a la Francaise, to this recipe. Emma, it seems, was very fond of marrow–there are a half dozen different marrow recipes in the book. I love that Emma’s recipe for these light and fluffy marrow dumplings, seasoned with parsley, and nutmeg is a classic–still being made by chefs today.
For best flavor? Roast the marrow bones for a short while, just until the marrow is no longer pink. Then scoop the marrow into a dish and chill briefly. And do make your chicken stock from scratch to ensure it’s as fresh and flavorful as possible–it’s what you’ll then use to make your consomme.
Makes 10 servings (depending on the size of your bowls)
Chicken Stock Ingredients
- 1 chicken
- 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small bunch parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 1 turnip, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 parsley root, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 ribs celery, roughly chopped
- 2 small onions, peeled
Chicken Consomme Ingredients
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery rib finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- 1/2 lb minced chicken thigh meet
- 6 egg whites, beaten until frothy
- 2 sprigs thyme, several sprigs parsley, a few leaves of sage, a tsp of rosemary
- 6 to 8 cups chicken stock (use all of the stock you just made–it should measure between 6 and 8 cups)
Marrow Dumpling Ingredients
- 4, 5- or 6- inch long marrow bones, roasted
- 5 cups egg bread crumbs
- marrow from the roasted marrow bones
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 3 eggs, separated
- Fresh ground nutmeg, about 1 tsp
- salt and pepper
- Make stock: Wash chicken and place in large stock pot. Cover to an inch above the chicken with water. Add all of the vegetables and seasonings. Simmer for 5 to 6 hours at very low heat until vegetables are very tender and chicken meat is coming off bones. Strain broth away from vegetables and chicken. Place broth in refrigerator to chill for several hours. Save chicken and vegetables for something else.
- Make dumplings: Roast marrow bones at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until marrow is no longer pink. Scoop marrow into a bowl and cool slightly. Grind egg bread to make 5 cups of fine crumbs, using a food processor. Place in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup of milk. Stir in marrow. Mix in egg yolks, parsley and a few grinds of fresh pepper and salt. Grate nutmeg over all. Whip egg whites until they hold peaks. Fold into the mixture. Chill while you make the consomme.
- Make consomme: Skim fat and discard from the surface of the chicken stock. Measure 8 cups of stock into clean stock pot. Mix together all of the remaining consomme ingredients and add to pot. Stirring frequently to keep this mixture from sticking to the pot, slowly heat the broth until it begins to boil. Immediately turn heat down to simmer. The vegetables and meat and egg will have formed a raft on top of the broth. This will gradually clarify the broth to make it very clear. Allow pot of broth with “raft” on top to simmer for one hour. Carefully remove the “raft” and discard. Place cheesecloth inside a fine strainer and pour the broth through the cheesecloth and strainer. Set broth aside, keeping hot.
- Make dumplings: In a separate stock pot, heat 4 cups of water to boiling; salt water to taste. Form dumplings into very small balls and drop about four or five at a time into the boiling water. These will fluff up. Simmer for 5 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon, three to each small serving dish of soup. Gently ladle consomme over the balls and garnish with a few snips of parsley.