13 September 2011

Chicken & Dumplings

A couple of weeks ago when it cooled off to 94 degrees, I decided it was time for a nice, fall meal. You know... something cozy to celebrate the donning of sweaters and boots. Since I was somewhat sickly that day, I decided that chicken and dumplings would make me feel better. Last week, Boo Mama posted her  recipe and also shared the correct pronunciation for said dish. Although our recipes differ, we agree that it is pronounced CHICKEN AND DUMPLINS. The G is silent. Trust me. It is.

I think that my grandmother made the best chicken and dumplings. I also think I make the second best chicken and dumplings. (Mom, don't worry, yours are good, too! You win third place!) Here are qualities that I like in my chicken and dumplings:
  1. Creamy, not brothy. This adds to the cozy factor.
  2. Slick dumplings, not fluffy dumplings. I guess these technically aren't dumplings, but more like thick, wide noodles.
  3. A high ratio of dumplings to chicken. I actually use chicken for the flavor, but I just love the dumplings part of this dish.
  4. Lots of fresh black pepper.
  5. The option to use frozen dumplings. There are some good ones, y'all. Don't be ashamed. I make them from scratch less than half the time. Here's what I buy in the frozen bread section:

Chicken & Dumplings

4 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I usually boil an entire bag at once, shred it, and then freeze the meat.)
5 quarts chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 packages Mary B's Open Kettle Dumplings or homemade dumplings*
1 can evaporated milk
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Salt and pepper, to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon of each, I think)

Bring chicken broth to a boil with thyme, salt and pepper. Break frozen dumplings into fourths and cook according to package directions. (The important part is to keep stirring so that they don't stick!) Once dumplings are tender, add chicken. Add evaporated milk and soup. Add additional salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Enjoy!

*Homemade Dumplings (I double the recipe. These cook for about 15 minutes before adding chicken.)
Mix 2 cups of flour with 1 teaspoon salt in a mixing bowl. Begin pouring ice-cold water and mixing with your fingers. (You'll use a little over 3/4 cup water.) Knead the dough into a ball. Sprinkle flour over you work area and roll the dough to about 1/8 inch. Cut dough into 1" x 2" pieces.

Considering that I usually pick the chicken out of my bowl and give it to Husby, my carbohydrates for the day are usually met in one serving of Chicken and Dumplings. But I love making Red Lobster cheddar biscuits to go with them. I don't particularly like Red Lobster. In fact, I got food poisoning from scallops at RL when I was 4, so I have a general aversion to the restaurant and scallops. But the two times I've been since, I've eaten as many cheddar biscuits as possible. Lucky for me, someone figured out the recipe, and it's super easy. I usually get them in the oven while stirring the pot o' dumplings. Also, I love garlic, so I add it to the biscuits, not just the butter to brush on top. I also dislike parsley, so I leave it out.

Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits

2 C Bisquick
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 C milk
1/4 C butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix Bisquick with garlic powder. Mix in cheese. Pour in milk and mix until well incorporated, for 30 seconds. Using an ice cream scoop, place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Mix butter and garlic powder; brush over biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

No comments :