July 6, 2010

Chicken & Dumplings. And a Confession

First, the confession... I was too hungry and too greedy and too undisciplined to take a picture of the Chicken & Dumplings last night. I just grabbed my spoon and dug in and ate until I was a lethargic glutenous blob of chicken & dumpling doo.

Sorry.

I should have thought of you and taken a picture of it.

But we're in luck.

Despite my bad behavior last night, a small amount of Chicken & Dumplings survived the attack. I found this little container in the fridge this morning. This photo is of cold, day old, globified Chicken & Dumplings.

And it's just as good this morning as it was last night. I'm eating it, cold, right now. It's like a drug. A comfort food drug.

But this is easier to get than drugs. All you have to do is raise some chickens, take care of them for a few years while they're laying eggs, feed them, give them fresh water, keep them warm in the wintertime, and clean the their coop. Then butcher them, clean the carcasses, simmer them in a great big pot of water, pressure can the meat, pressure can the stock, grow the rest of the makings in your garden, freeze your peas, store your carrots, dry your herbs, and then make this E-Z recipe.

Ok. You're right. Maybe drugs are easier to get.

But eating Chicken & Dumplings will give you a better high.

No lie.

If you don't have the time or place to grow your own ingredients you can certainly pick up all of these ingredients at your local grocery or farmer's market.

CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS

3-4 cups vegetables: fresh or frozen peas, chopped carrots, and chopped celery*
1 1/2 quart jars chicken stock (or use 2 whole quarts if you like it a bit soupier)
1 pint jar of chicken
to taste: salt, pepper

2 cups cake flour**
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
pinch salt
black pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme, or other seasoning of choice (optional), to taste
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk

chopped fresh parsley, if available

* I use frozen peas and carrots from storage. For much of the year I don't have fresh garden celery. At those times I just increase the amount of peas and carrots and I throw a pinch of dried celery leaves into the pot. I like a bit of celery taste in this dish. You can use any vegetables you wish. I use peas, carrots, and celery because they make this taste like comfort food to me. Sometimes I add in some chopped, carmelized onion or minced garlic and I have also occasionally added some diced potatoes when I'm really geeking for some starch.

**Cake flour will make slightly lighter, fluffier dumplings. If you don't happen to have cake flour on hand, just use all purpose flour. The dumplings will be just as tasty.

Pour chicken stock into large stock pot. Add carrots and celery. Simmer until vegetables start to soften. Add peas and pint of chicken. Continue heating until mixture returns to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk cake flour, baking powder, salt, and optional seasoning in a bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and pour into a one cup measure. Add milk to equal 1 cup. Stir together. Pour milk and butter into flour mixture and stir just until batter is combined.

Using a spoon, drop golf ball sized portions of batter into simmering pot. Let each dumpling lay where it falls, don't stir them around in the pot. You will get about 16-18 dumplings from this batch of batter. Cover pot and let simmer, without lifting lid, for 15 minutes. The dumplings will fluff up and thicken the sauce as they cook.

Remove from heat and stir, just once around the pot, very gently. Let cool briefly before serving. This is hot!

If you have fresh parsley, chop some and sprinkle it over each serving.

2 comments:

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

That looks delicious! I've tried this before and my dumplings are sort of pasty and gooey - do you think it's because I didn't use cake flour??? because I'm pretty sure I used regular....


Because I know THIS is what I wanted!

Tracy

homegrown countrygirl said...

Hello Crazy Suburban Mom! Thank you for your comment! I think the key to making dumplings is not to lift the lid while they are simmering. I've peeked inside the simmering pot before and I get dumplings just like you described when I do... it's so hard not to peek!