Monday, February 14, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Mmmmm….  Just the words “chicken and dumplings” make me feel warm inside.  I can think of only a handful of other dishes that evoke that feeling of comfort:  mac ‘n cheese, chicken noodle soup, hot chocolate.  In my opinion, the only way to truly get that homey feeling is to make such dishes from scratch.

Not only is chicken and dumplings hearty and delicious, it is also very inexpensive due to its simple ingredients.  I almost always have all the ingredients on hand.  For this specific batch, I pulled a chicken out of the freezer that I had bought for less than $0.80/lb.

Chicken and Dumplings
1 chicken
Water to cover chicken
1 onion
3 carrots
2 ribs celery
⅓ c. chicken bouillon
¼ tsp. rubbed sage or poultry seasoning
½ lb. corn
1-2 batches dumplings (see below)

Place chicken in large stock pot (mine is 5 quarts).  Cover with water.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until thoroughly cooked.  This will take a few hours.

You know the chicken is done when the leg pulls off easily.

Remove chicken from pot, set aside to cool.  If necessary, add water to end up with about 3 quarts of liquid.  Meanwhile, dice onion and chop carrots and celery.  Bring cooking liquids to a boil; add chopped vegetables, bouillon, and sage or poultry seasoning.

Boil until vegetables begin to turn tender, but are not quite done.  While vegetables are boiling, remove chicken from bones, cut into bite-sized pieces, and set aside.

I put the cooked chicken on a plate with a lip to prevent spills.
I always have two containers:  one for the chicken, and one
for the garbage (skin, bones, etc.).

Don't throw that juice away!!  Pour it back into the pot.

Add corn to broth.  Bring back to a boil.  Spoon dumplings into boiling broth.  Boil uncovered for 10 minutes.

Cover pot, reduce heat, and continue to simmer 10 more minutes.  Place some chicken in the bottom of each bowl.  Ladle soup and dumplings over top.

Remove any extra dumplings and repeat to make second batch.  Yield:  lots--at least 2 meals for our family plus extra chicken.

I put the chicken in the bottom of the bowls rather than returning it to the pot so it doesn't get over boiled while the dumplings are cooking.  If it boils too long after being removed from the bone, it will fall apart into strings.  Also, I don't ever use all the chicken.  I use the leftovers for chicken quesadillas or fried rice.

While you can make the dumplings from a pre-made baking mix such as Bisquik, it takes hardly any more time to make them from scratch.  I used my homemade buttermilk!  I always end up making at least two batches of dumplings.

1½ c. flour
½ Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
Buttermilk to make 1 c. when added to butter

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix melted butter and buttermilk to make 1 cup.

I melt the butter right in my Pyrex so I can add the buttermilk.

Stir into dry ingredients.  Batter will be stiff with some dry particles.

This is a time-intensive recipe in that the chicken has to boil for so long.  The process can be broken up so that some of the prep can be done ahead of time.  You can boil the chicken one day and continue with the rest of the recipe the next day.  When I made this this past weekend, I knew I was going to be gone most of the day on Saturday.  I boiled the chicken and the veggies and deboned the chicken on Friday.  I then continued with the dumplings on Saturday.

Tomorrow is not a normal posting day, but be sure to check back for some announcements!

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails