Before I post the recipe I wanted to wish a Happy Easter and Shalom Passover to my friends celebrating this weekend/week. And blessed day/s to those celebrating other faiths that I'm not as familiar with.
I posted on twitter that I was making Chicken and Dumplings and had several requests for the recipe so here it is.
Like so many recipes, especially from the South measurements are iffy, and there is a lot of substitution with what's on hand, preference etc.
When DH first had me make it we did it without any vegetables in the broth, because that's how it was made, well that's not how I wanted to make it so I of course added vegetables. After admitting it was better this way we've played with the recipe pretty much everytime we make it.
All ingredients are optional, well I guess not the chicken or dumplings! lol
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chucks
broccoli stalks, chopped into chucks
Asparagus stalks, (the part you normally throw out, I just keep them for this)
cremini mushrooms, sliced or whole (these act as a bit of a gelatin so it won't be quite as creamy)
sm-med onion peeled and cut into quarters or eighths.
2-4 Bay leaves
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 whole chicken, about 1.5-2 lbs, or a package of thighs, and one of breasts.Or fancy it up and use quails, or duck!
1 container of Chicken Broth - depends on how much evaporates if you'll need it, or if you need to stretch the pot.
In a large pot, the bigger the better, saute all of the vegetables for about 5 minutes, just get them cooking a bit, place your whole chicken right ontop of the vegetables, make a well if you need to in the center so the chicken can be covered by water.
Cover with water, about 12 cups. If a bit of the chicken sticks out of the water it's ok so long as you can put the lid on the pot. Just flip the chicken over about half way through.
Leave the lid on the pot and simmer on low to med-low heat for as long as you can, at least 1 hour, but 4 or 5 is better.
Prick the chicken and make sure the juices run clear.
Remove the chicken from the pot and put onto a platter or baking dish. Be careful! It's very hot and the broth will be...ummm...in it.
Let the chicken cool while you drain the pot through a sieve/colander into a large bowl. If you don't have either a large enough bowl or colander just use a slotted spoon and scoop out the vegetables and make sure you get those bay leaves. You can actually throw the mushrooms back in the pot if you like them, they're still good to eat, if you don't then don't.
My dogs absolutely love eating these left over vegetables. To you and me they'll taste like crap because they're so incredibly over cooked and mushy, but to them they're chicken infused heaven.
If you have someone to help, have them separate the chicken now. Or you can do it if the chicken is cool enough. Get as much meat as you can off the carcass being careful not to get any little bones or cartilage. Shred or chop up the meat so it's small enough you can get it and a dumpling on your spoon at the same time and put it back in the pot.
If the pot is only half full at this point you may want to add the chicken broth. It will make it a bit soupier then you may be used to but it also doubles the servings.
Now it's time to make the dumplings, which are really just biscuits cut up small. Now don't panic if you can't make biscuits, these don't have to be perfect because they're being thrown in the pot, so no worries about crumbly or heavy here. No such thing as over worked dumplings. Have the kids help with this part and make it a real family dinner.
2 cups flour, I use my Namaste Perfect Flour blend, which is gluten free and awesome
1 TSP salt
3 TBSP margarine or butter
3/4 c milk (you may need a bit more or less depending on your flour and altitude)
Mix all the ingredients together until they're well blended. You want the consistency of play d'oh basically. Wet enough to roll, but not so sticky that it sticks to your fingers or rolling board.
You can either roll long thin rolls of dough and use a knife to to cut your dumplings, between 1/2"-1" depending on your preference, or just grab and toss in bits as you go. Kids can help with this part and they think its great fun.
You can also roll out the dough and use tiny cookie cutters to make fun shaped dumplings.
So put the dumplings in the pot and let them cook on a gentle boil, about 15-20 minutes. Give one a taste and if it's too chewy just cook them a bit longer. The broth will become creamy looking as some of the flour from the dumplings melts into the broth. It will also thicken up some more once it's off the heat and cools some.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Want to add some more vegetables to the final product? Add about 2 cups of chopped spinach, or some frozen vegetable mix when you add the dumplings.
You can also add some herbs, either to the broth or to the dumplings, I'd recommend sage, thyme or parsley.
Because I'm impatient I have to add crushed ice to my bowl before putting that first scoop of steaming hot yumminess into it or I guaranteed burn my mouth.