Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

This isn't the best dish, if you are watching your calories and trying to cut back.  But it is the best dish when it is cold and dreary outside and you need some warming from the inside out. This is real comfort food.

The first thing you want to do is get a whole chicken and cut it up. If you are serving a large group then you will want the whole chicken but if you only want 2-4 servings, you can freeze half of the chicken for later use. This video gives you an idea of how to cut up a chicken. It isn't exactly how I do it, but it is close enough and it cuts the chicken into the smaller pieces that I like. For this recipe you can just leave the wing tips so you can get even more flavor into your stock. You also don't need to remove the breast plate.

I like to rinse the inside of the back pieces and rinse away those little bits of whatever that stuff is that is in the crevices. You don't really want that stuff!

Next cut up some celery and onion. Use however much you want...somewhere around 3 stalks of celery and 3/4 to 1 whole small onion. Throw those in the pot with your chicken.

Add enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables along with 1 tsp. of salt. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. You can tell when the chicken is cooked because the meat will easily come off the bone and the juices will be clear.

Remove the chicken to a plate after it has cooked and cool. You can put it in the refrigerator to cool it down. Pour your stock through a sieve or colander. Make sure to have a bowl beneath the sieve to catch the liquid. Toss the celery and onion. Put your liquid in the refrigerator to cool. 

Remove the meat from the bones when the chicken is cool enough to handle. Leave the chicken in larger least that is my preference. I like to get a good bite of chicken with my dumplings! Take your stock out of the refrigerator and skim off the fat which should now be congealed. Put the stock back in your pot. Bring it back up to a boil.

Peel and chop russet potatoes and many depends on you and your preference. Add those to your stock and parboil until they are almost, but not quite done. 

While your potatoes and carrots are cooking start mixing up the dumplings. In a bowl mix together 1 C. of flour, 2 tsp. of baking powder, 1/2 tsp. sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add about 1/2 C. of milk into the dry ingredients. Add slowly mixing by hand until you get a wet dough consistency. This will give you 8 to 10 dumplings depending on how big you want them. If you are cooking for a crowd, you can easily double this recipe. Just make sure you have a wide enough pot
for the dumplings to sit so they aren't touching.

Now add your chicken to the pot with the potatoes and carrots. There should be just enough stock to cover the chicken and vegetables. If you have too much pour some off and freeze it for a later use. Salt and pepper to your taste at this time.

I usually thicken my stock now but since it does have a tendency to stick you might want to wait until your dumplings have cooked and then thicken your stock. Do whatever works for you. 

To thicken put 1 T. of flour into a liquid measuring cup and then add just enough cold water to make a slurry. Add the thickener to your stock. You will only need a bit so don't get too carried away, otherwise, you will have a block of gravy instead of just thickened stock. In this case less is more. Heat your thickened stock to simmering.

Then drop your dumpling dough by spoonfuls onto the chicken and vegetables. This is why you don't want to have too much liquid. The dumplings should just be resting on the other ingredients. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Then cover your pot and simmer for another 10 minutes. Don't peak! Wait for it......

Voila'...look at all that fluffy deliciousness. Those are melt in your mouth dumplings, baby!

Like I said pure comfort food. These are to be savored. After all this work, don't wolf down this goodness. Take each bite and truly enjoy...all is right with the least for now.

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