Hearty Chicken Soup with Dumplings
- For the Dumplings:
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1/2 pound frozen lima beans (broad)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 poundss boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
- 3 leeks, well-washed, trimmed and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 medium zucchinis, chopped
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, grated
- 1/2 cup water
Rinse the barley under cold water until the water runs clear; drain. Pour boiling water over the beans, drain and remove skins.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the chicken in batches, cook until well browned all over - this is important to achieve color and flavor. Add the leeks, garlic, celery, carrots and zucchini, cook, stirring, until leeks are soft. Add the chicken stock and tomato paste, bring to a boil. Add the barley and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan with the beans.
FOR THE DUMPLINGS:
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, stir in the cheese and butter and mix well. Add enough of the water to form a soft dough. Drop level tablespoons of dumpling mixture into the simmering soup, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the dumplings, are cooked through and the barley is tender. Stir in the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately.
The soup can be prepared a day ahead, however, the barley will thicken the soup overnight. The dumplings are best made just before serving as they will thicken soup also.