Hello again! It’s good to be back after a hiatus that ended up being a little longer than originally planned. I’ve been getting settled in to my new apartment, job, and routine in Boston after our move from Brooklyn last month and am finally feeling ready to get back to blogging. This is the longest break I’ve ever taken from the blog, and I did need time to settle in in Boston, but here’s the real reason for the break. Andrew and I are expecting a baby in late March/early April!
For most of September I was having a lot of nausea and food aversions, so blogging about food was really the last thing I wanted to do. I’ve been pretty much back to normal for the past few weeks, but there’s so much pressure around food and pregnancy (am I eating the right foods, am I avoiding all of the foods I’m supposed to avoid, am I gaining too much weight, etc.!!) that blogging didn’t seem very appealing even once eating did. It’s an incredibly exciting time, but it certainly has some accompanying stresses!
With the pressure I’ve been feeling surrounding food, I’ve recently been drawn more toward dishes that have some other value besides being just delicious or healthy. Most of what I’m craving these days are foods with elements of either seasonality or nostalgia: warming soups for the cool weather; local squashes, apples, and corn; dishes I ate as a child.
This Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup is all of those things. Cozy for fall, this soup was a staple in my home when I was growing up, and living in Pennsylvania, I got to taste many different versions of it made by other families too. My mom’s rendition was simple, always made from local corn, which we would buy by the tens of dozens in the summer, then cook, cut from the cob (she had an electric knife just for this purpose), and freeze in bags and bags in our extra freezer in the basement. That way, we could eat chicken corn soup all winter long.
Her version didn’t contain the rivels (little noodle-y dumplings) that I include here, and many other versions don’t include them either, so consider them completely optional. The Mennonite Community Cookbook does call for them, and I think they are a tasty, but not totally necessary, addition. If you add the rivels, the soup gets even better the next day as they get slightly more tender and soak in the flavors of the broth. We also never included the chopped hard-boiled egg as a topping on the soup, and I didn’t here either, but I’ve listed as an option since many do serve the soup that way.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, which, I have to say, is really delicious. I expect to be back in the weekly blogging habit until the baby is born, but I imagine there might be a week or two when I need a break, so we will see! In any case, I definitely plan to be back next week with another post, so I’ll see you then!
PA Dutch Chicken Corn Soup
for the soup
- 2 tsp neutral-flavored oil, like avocado or sunflower
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 6 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
- 2 cups water
- kernels from 4 ears of corn (about 2 1/2 cups), or 2 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 hardboiled eggs, chopped, for garnish (optional)
for the rivels (optional)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the celery and onion until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.
- Add the corn and cook 5 minutes. Meanwhile, make the rivels if using. In a small bowl, combine flour, milk, and egg and mix until they form a crumbly dough.
- Add the chicken to the soup and crumble in the rivel dough in small, hazelnut-sized bits. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve, topped with some hardboiled egg if you like.