The Edible Bracket 2011

Last year's winners of the MNCAAPG Best Bracket contest are back. This March Madness season, we will be documenting foods associated with the competing schools. Consider it March Madness, Top Chef Edition.

Xavier University Musketeers (Cincinnati, OH): Xavier Suppe

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For our food symbolizing Xavier, we were all ready to make a Cincinnati-themed food when we stumbled across Xavier Suppe, a soup which was traditionally served (we think) at the feasts held in honor of St. Francis Xavier.  The soup is actually pretty similar to chicken and dumplings and so we modified the Xavier Suppe recipes we found just a bit.

The result was a delicious chicken stew, with big puffy dumplings, that was fit for a saint.

Xavier Suppe (Chicken and Dumplings)

from Epicurious

for the soup

1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds, cut up

1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 yellow onion, cut up into large pieces

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

bay leaf

sprig of thyme

salt and pepper

6 cups chicken broth

for the dumplings

1.5 cups flour 

2 tsps. baking powder

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cup heavy cream

1. Heat olive oil in heavy saucepan with lid.  Dredge chicken in seasoned flour, and brown in oil, about 3 minutes per side.

2. Add onions to pot and cook a few minutes.  Then add carrots, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook a few more minutes, then add 4 cups chicken broth.

3. Add chicken to pot and cook, simmering, for about 15 minutes.  If you want whole pieces of chicken, add the dumplings at this point.  If not, let the chicken simmer about 1/2 hour more, then skim the fat off the mixture, and pull chicken from the bones, discarding bones and skim, before adding dumplings.  Liquid will cook down, so add the additional 2 cups of broth.

4. To prepare the dumplings, mix together the dry ingredients, then lightly mix in cream.

5. Drop around 12 heaping tablespoons of dumpling mix into the hot soup, and allow to cook for about 12 minutes.

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