Not So Ad Hoc At Home….

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With the odd cooler day gracing Melbourne we felt it an appropriate time to get our soup on and what better way to start the soup season with a “simple, satisfying” chicken soup with dumplings from Tomas Keller’s Ad Hoc At Home.

A relatively new book to our collection we’d only made one other dish – the most delicious rubbed & braised pork spareribs. Aside from the long cooking time this was a very simple and straightforward meal to prepare so I thought to myself  ‘well… if Mr. Keller says that this chicken soup is simple then let’s do it’… how wrong I was!

Admittedly we had planned to make the soup over the weekend but like all good plans something came up & the soup got relegated to a Tuesday night dinner.  Knowing there was a fair bit of prep involved I got stuck in to cutting the carrots, leek, onions & celery the minute I walked in the door. Donny & I worked on separate areas – he looked after the choux pastry and chive dumplings & cooking the chicken while I looked after the vegetables & stock…

As we read further through the recipe it became apparent that (a) we should have read the recipe properly before we embarked on the project and (b) as a consequence of a, this was a much larger project than our hungry stomachs were hoping for!

Realising dinner was still going to be a couple of hours away I thought it appropriate to open a bottle of wine to lift our spirits. We sure needed something to keep us going – I don’t know how many times throughout the evening we would read the next step in the recipe & say “oh no – it says we have to peel the celery… do I really have to” or “does it really matter how I cut the carrots (as I read a 2 line description with lengthways quarters followed by crossways instructions that were making my head hurt!)” with the other one having to provide the motivation with “well – we’ve come this far, we’d better do the right thing”!

I’m glad we did follow the recipe & do the right thing because the end result was spectacular! Cooking each component separately rather than all in the pot at the same time really brought out their own flavours (I don’t ever recall having a soup before and actually being able to taste the celery) and the stock had the most delicate taste. What a fantastic recipe!

This soup was clearly something a little bit more complex than what we might consider an “ad hoc” night of cooking but boy oh boy was it worth it in the end. I could close my eyes and take a spoon full of soup & immediately I was transported to the other side of the world in one of Keller’s own restaurants… bliss 🙂

Thomas Keller's Chicken Soup w/ Dumplings

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