A bowl of chicken broth with parsnip and sweet potato soup

I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t eat much meat. When I do, it’s usually an organic chicken that I roast on a Sunday. I try to eek it out as much as possible which means that I’ll get more than one meal out of it.

Soup is one of my favourite things to make – particularly in this weather when the cold really starts to set into your bones. This soup uses the leftover chicken carcass and last few remaining scraps of meat. I make a broth with aromatic veg and herbs and then I make vegetable dumplings – an idea that I have ripped from Otto Lenghi’s parsnip dumplings . I embrace the vegetable dumpling as a way to sneakily up the kids’ vegetable quota ninja – style. I use sweet potato instead of the potato with parsnip because they have a lower GI and I love their colour and taste. The finishing touches are the kale “noodles” – very finely sliced ribbons that go in at the same time as the dumplings.

On first reading this recipe might seem like a big faff. It that’s the case, you can break it down into tasks: make the stock one day and leave in the fridge. Make the dumplings the next and assemble the rest of the soup.

To make a fully veggie option take a look at the original Otto Lenghi version  .

I’ve made this recipe a few times since I first tried it. It’s a winner, winner, chicken dinner!

 Chicken broth with sweet potato and parsnip dumplings

For the stock

Leftover chicken carcass

2 bay leaves

4 peppercorns

2 large carrots

2 sticks of celery – roughly chopped

1 potato – skin on and cut into quarters

1 large onion – skin on and cut into quarters

Add a selection of fresh, woody herbs – I like a small rosemary  sprig, a few sprigs thyme

For the dumplings

200g sweet potato

200g parsnip

60g self raising doves farm (gluten free flour)

50g fine polenta (cornmeal)

1 egg

knob of butter  or coconut oil (optional)

2 handfuls of kale – washed, leaves stripped from the stem and finely chopped into ribbons


  1. Place the carcass in a large heavy bottomed pan. Cover with water and add the veg, herbs and black pepper. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for an hour or so (I usually just put it on and potter about -sometimes my stock takes an hour and a half sometimes 2..)
  2. Strain the stock and, at this point, you can either let it cool and store in the fridge for the next day or move straight on to dumplings.
  3. Peel the parsnips and but into quarters lengthwise then remove the woody core like this . Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato and place both the sweet potato and parsnips into a pan with a little water and cook until soft.
  4. Mash, when soft and add the knob of butter or coconut oil. Stir in the flour and polenta and then add the egg (if using). If you’re using the egg the mixture will be super soft will need to chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.
  5. When you’re ready to put the soup together. Heat the broth – roll the dumplings into small balls (I took a dessertspoon at a time) and pop into the broth along with the kale “noodles.” When cooked the dumplings float to the top.