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Saving All My Love For You

The only silver lining around the passing of a great singer is that the radio becomes severely excellent while it celebrates their discography the following month. As you may have guessed, I got a summons in the mail saying it’s my turn to weigh in on the whole Whitney Houston debacle. A little late, but she should’ve planned around my vacation better. Was that in poor taste? Probably. But, before umbrage is taken and panties bunched, always remember that nothing is so sacred it can’t be teased. Yes, death is sad no matter who it happens to or how often (and anyone who says otherwise is a ghoul), but sometimes we must laugh so we do not cry. Also, reread the marquee, people. I’m not The Touchy Feely Gourmet.

Second from left. First in badass.

But, I was a teenager of the 80s and also a waver. Traditional punk meant nothing by then and hair metal was the soundtrack of dungeon crawls. I got my first taste of new wave from my aunt Holly, who used to improvise Go-Go’s concerts in her bedroom with my sister and I (every girl knows what excellent microphones hairbrushes make). By the 90s, I followed where all lame-ass white people went: into the bowels of grunge. Kurt Cobain told us to stop enjoying things and my marriage certainly made that easy. These genres, and their derivatives, still satiate my love of music today. Driving to and from Nevada last weekend, the only station my new car’s satellite radio blasted was 1st Wave—because nothing says Vegas like too many confused emotions and anti-consumerism.

What does any of this have to do with Ms. Houston? After all, her soulful lyrics and mezzo-soprano voice are the opposite of what I’ve gravitated towards, aurally. My ears might not have had a use for the R, or its accompanying B, but that never stopped me from adoring her. Whitney’s talent existed outside anyone’s opinion of it. There was there was nary a car ride in 1992 that didn’t feature me absolutely belting “I Will Always Love You.” (Carry me, please, Kevin Costner!) I’m not glossing over her troubles, financial, substance or other. They’re just none of my business. I’m both fascinated and disturbed that there’s no longer a line between stories that are in the public interest and stories that the public is merely interested in.

This post is getting dangerously close to something serious. How about some chicken soup to brighten our day?

Creamy Chicken Soup with Sweet Potato Dumplings

A future post to be sure.

Soup:

  • 1 whole roast chicken
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 whole head roasted garlic
  • 32 oz box of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup cream

Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp cold butter
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
  • 2–3 tbsp buttermilk

Some chicken for ya, dumplin'.

Remove meat from whole roast chicken. I made my own last night, but you could easily use one from the grocery store. Add olive oil to large soup pot over med-high heat. Add onions and caramelize (cook over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are a nice golden brown). Add carrots, celery and roasted garlic (squeeze garlic from skins and mash with back of knife). Saute with onions for 2–3 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in chicken, thyme and nutmeg. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk and cream and bring to a light simmer. Add dumpling batter (see below).

While soup is cooking prepare dumplings. Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Cut in cold butter until a course meal is formed. Stir in sweet potatoes. (I peeled, diced and boiled potatoes for 20 minutes, then had Russell mash them while I was chopping other veggies.) Add buttermilk, a little bit at a time until dough comes together. It should be slightly sticky. Drop dumplings by spoonfuls into simmering soup. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat, then cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve and burn your tongue.

My eldest son is spending time with his new girlfriend and won’t he feel stupid knowing I made his absolutely favorite dinner of all time tonight. At least it’ll be good comfort food for when he saunters home, tail between his legs, having struck out again. Mama loves you, Sean.

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7 responses »

  1. I love this post!! Excellent recipe as well. I can’t wait to try. My southern grandma made chicken and dumplings once a year, so this will be a great update!

    Reply
  2. Hope Sean comes home with his tail happily wagging and a smile on his face, then scarfs down this great comfort chichen dish.

    Reply
  3. i liked whitney in the 80’s and early 90’s too, but i thought the reverence the past few weeks has been a little over the top. i mean, on the news ALL THE TIME? it’s not like she was Time’s Person of the Year. whitney was great but she was no Kim Kardashian. :)

    but i liked this post just the same. it was a great blend of past and present and his all the decades. nicely done.

    cheers

    Reply
  4. That poor chicken’s had his head cut off.

    Reply

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