This basic but warming broth with savory dumplings requires few ingredients, so make sure to use the best quality you can find, especially the broth. A good-quality store-bought broth is fine, but nothing beats homemade: Place the carcass of a roasted chicken or turkey, or ham or beef bones into a large stock pot. Add water to cover and then toss in everything — scraps and all that will add flavor: ginger, garlic, celery, turmeric, a bit of miso, mushrooms, some tired greens and bits of this and that, and let simmer for several hours, adding more liquid as the whole glorious mess reduces down to a thick rich stock. Strain and store in the fridge or freezer for uses such as this one. As for the added vegetables, experiment and sub in your favorite quick-cooking favorites, such as kale, mushroom, broccoli, cauliflower, fennel and a handful of fresh herbs.
Broth with spinach and Parmesan dumplings
Makes 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small leek, rinsed and thinly sliced (or 1 small onion or carrot, halved and thinly sliced)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 quarts homemade or store-bought chicken/bone broth (or vegetable broth/water)
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (1 ounce)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
5 ounces spinach, rinsed (or thinly sliced mushroom, kale, fennel, etc.)
1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; add leek and garlic; cook, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil; skim froth and let simmer over medium heat while making the dumplings.
2. To make dumplings: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cheese, milk, egg, baking powder, salt and pepper, until a sticky dough forms. When ready to cook dumplings, bring broth to a boil and drop dumpling mixture 1 tablespoonful at a time into the boiling broth. The temp will lower as you drop in the dumplings. When the broth comes back to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer, about 6 minutes, until they rise to the surface. Stir in spinach (or other, thinly sliced vegetables) and let cook 2 to 3 minutes until spinach is wilted. Taste broth and add more salt or pepper as needed. Serve broth and dumplings drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and more grated Parmesan.