My Norwegian grandmother was known in her small North Dakota town for making the best chicken and dumpling soup around. Unlike many recipes, hers was broth-based rather than creamy. The broth was always homemade, as were the dumplings. My mom and her sister learned the recipe and made it for their children, and it’s still a favorite comfort food in my house. It’s a fun recipe to make along with your kids, and in my family it’s how we pass the tradition on.
Everyone’s grandma made a soup like this, didn’t they? Whether it had dumplings, noodles, or matzo balls, chicken soup always seems to bring back memories. Here in Green Bay several restaurants make a German chicken and dumpling that’s broth-based, and while the dumplings are smaller and the broth is usually saltier, it has a lot in common with mine.
You can use your favorite recipe for chicken stock/bone broth, or you can use mine. I strongly recommend making your own for this soup, since the broth is such a star here. If you absolutely can’t fathom making it yourself, low sodium boxed broth is your next best bet. I’ve never personally used it in this recipe, but I do keep some on hand for times when I’m out of homemade. My preference is Swanson’s, but use what you like.
The hardest thing about writing this recipe was that my grandma measured by eye and feel. She published the recipe in the Erskine (MN) Centennial cookbook years ago, but her flour measurement was in “scoops,” and she recommended adding flour “until, well, you’ll know.” I’ve made it hundreds of times, changing little things over the years, but I also never measured my flour. You keep adding and mixing until the consistency feels “just thick enough.” Unfortunately my grandmother passed when I was still a child, so I’ve never been able to compare my version to hers. I can only hope that she would have approved.
Norwegian Chicken and Dumpling Soup
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 onion, medium, rough-diced
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 1 small rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes optional
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups chicken stock/bone broth, preferably homemade
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup cooked pulled chicken, white meat or dark
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped optional
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat
- Add onions, celery, carrots, and rutabaga to pot with a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for 3-5 min, stirring occasionally to prevent browning. Add garlic, cook 30 more seconds.
- Add stock to pot and cover until it reaches a simmer. Adjust heat to maintain at a simmer for an hour, or until vegetables are tender. Add cooked chicken and remove bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix dumpling batter while soup is simmering. Crack eggs into a medium bowl and beat with a fork. Add milk, baking powder, and seasonings. Mix well. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing well with fork until incorporated – small lumps are fine.
- Dip a teaspoon into your hot soup, scoop a heaping spoonful of batter, and roll off spoon into soup. Dip spoon into soup between dumplings to prevent sticking.
- Turn heat down to medium low and cook dumplings, covered, for 10 min. Check seasonings again and serve. Top each bowl with a sprinkling of parsley if desired.