Chicken soup with dumplings has been called food for the soul. If you are sick, it puts you back on your feet; in the winter, a hot bowl of chicken soup warms you up and makes you feel good immediately. Hot soup made from free-range chicken is delicious and easy to make, but the fluffy dumplings still may cause headaches.
Even an experienced cook can sometimes fail semolina dumplings; they may end up too hard, or disintegrate in the soup. There are innumerable recipes, even though the ingredients are, with few exceptions, the same: eggs, semolina and salt. Some add a little oil to the composition, others a little cornmeal to change the color, or even baking powder to make the dumplings fluffier. Some cooks mix egg whites separately also in the hope that airier egg whites will make the dumplings fluffier, but this is not a necessary step, and it doesn’t guarantee success.
However, the secret of delicious, airy dumplings that melt in your mouth is something else.
The trick is by no means some strange ritual, just a simple technique, with a logical explanation behind it.
Ingredients (for 4 liters of soup)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup semolina
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pinch of salt
In a bowl, mix the eggs with the oil and a little salt. Keep mixing at a constant speed, gradually adding the semolina, until the mixture becomes smooth. Rest the mixture for 2-3 minutes, so that the semolina absorbs the liquid.
Using a teaspoon, scoop out small dumplings, and place them into the boiling soup. During cooking, the dumplings have to grow to three times their original size. After you have finished forming all the dumplings, pour a cup of cold water into the boiling soup – and this is the very secret of perfect dumplings.
This procedure is called tempering: by lowering the temperature of the soup, the dumplings will be subjected to a gradual thermal process, which will allow them to cook completely and absorb the liquid, thus becoming very fluffy.
Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes. Make sure not to overcook, as the dumplings may fall apart.