Sometimes, you get to a point in your relationship with a magazine you’ve subscribed to for years where you start to forget why you subscribed in the first place. And then, given that it’s a new year and you find yourself re-evaluating how you spend, waste, and use your time, you discover something profound. That really, it may be your perspective on the publication that stalled your relationship.
When January’s Cooking Light came in the mail, my first reaction was a sarcastic mental comment, “Gee, wow — chicken on the cover. Surprise, surprise.” And yet there I was, leafing through the pages before going to bed, paying attention to the recipes as I sipped my morning coffee. A complete departure from haphazardly scanning the entire magazine, which is what my relationship with Cooking Light had become over the last 6-8 months.
We’ve been talking a lot of mindfulness and being present, both at home and at work. With this, that, and the other pulling on our time (what do mean there’s a new season of White Collar on Netflix?), it’s easy to be “there” but not present. Which is how I’d approached Cooking Light previously — there, but not “present.”
This mindfulness paid off — with a delicious, warming chicken and dumpling soup. And because I wasn’t paying total attention, the dumplings came out a bit larger and “rustic” looking.
Chicken and Dumplings Soup, adapted from Cooking Light
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried tarragon
- 2 leaks, trimmed, washed and cut into thin half moons
- 2 celery stalks, cut along the diagonal into thin slices
- 2 carrots, cut diagonally into thin slices
- 1/5 cup sugar snap peas, cut identically to the carrots and celery
- 2 garlic cloves, push through the garlic press
- 3/4 pound of shredded, cooked chicken breast
- 4 cups of chicken stock, unsalted or home made
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4.5 ounces of flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup of milk
In a large Dutch oven, sauté the leeks over medium head. Add salt, pepper, and half of the tarragon. Saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the celery, carrots, garlic to the pan. Saute for an additional 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bringing the whole contents to a boil. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, until vegetables are just tender. Add the chicken to the dish, cover to keep warm.
Combine the flour, baking power and remaining tarragon with salt and pepper in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in the butter until the mixture is course and meal like. Add the milk, combine until just moist. Using 2 teaspoons, drop the dough into the stock, forming 16 small or 8 large dumplings. Cover and simmer for 7-9 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through.