Friday, May 28, 2010

Chick'n & Dumpl'ns

Earlier this week, I made chicken & dumplings. This is a dish I have not made since I was a teenager. I used to cook a lot of meals even back then. I was taught to make this dish with Bisquick, but I have not used that since I first went on my organic/whole food/non-preservative kick about 7 years ago. Being pregnant with your first child will do that to you. If you've read this blog, you know I get my free-range organic chicken in whole form, no little packaged parts in plastic wrap with trays for us. No sirriee, Bob, I get mine on the bone in whole form. I either have to cut it up or cook it whole and use the meat in other recipes. So, I'm always on the lookout for recipes using cooked chicken.

I usually start my recipe search these days with And this was no different. But, I always, and I do mean always change things up, or add stuff or take out something I don't like. For instance, I despise the flavor of cilantro. So, any recipe calling for that has either parsley substituted, or I just leave it out all together. So, the recipe is using a couple different versions for ideas, and then making them my own. I find I usually like it better that way in the end.
The broth on this looks gray in this picture. A couple of the recipes I found for this particular dish had yellow food coloring in the ingredient list, which I won't use (please see above for reason why). So, the broth is gray in tone. That's okay with me, that's it's natural state. And none of the boys in the house seemed to mind since it was gobbled right up. I'm not sure how many times Music Man said, "Oh, this is awesome", but I will surely be making it again sooner then later. On the next cool evening, give it a go, it's pretty yummy if I do say so myself. I've even given it my own annoyingly cutsey name.
Chick'n & Dumpl'ns
Cooked meat from one chicken (I used 1/2 breast and 2 thighs), shredded
2-3 ribs of celery, sliced
4 large carrots, peeled if not organic, and sliced
1 med onion, diced
32 oz water or chicken broth
1 tablespoon chicken boullion granuals (I use Better then Boullion paste, organic)
2 tablespoons dried parsley or 1/4 c fresh chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon good poultry season (should contain lots of rosemary, sage and thyme, or use them fresh from your garden if you have them)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper (warning, I LOVE black pepper, so adjust this to your taste if you don't like it as much as I do)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup water
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons oil
1. Saute celery, carrot, onion and garlic in deep pot, I used my cast iron dutch oven, worked great. Saute until tender, but not mushy, I like a little crunch left in them.
2. Add broth and boullion, bring to a boil. Add chicken and all remaining ingredients, bring to a gentle boil. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or while you're making dumplings.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and water. Add to chicken mixture. Stir gently until incorporated into broth well. Reduce heat to medium-low.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients for dumplings. In separate bowl (or use your pyrex liquid measuring cup like I do), combine milk and oil. Add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. You can also add some spices to the dumpling mixture. I chose a bit more pepper and a couple shakes of poultry seasoning, but you can put in whatever you'd like.
5. Using a large tablespoon, drop dumpling mixture by spoonfuls into the chicken mixture. Dumplings will cover top of chicken mixture. Reduce heat to low, put cover on pot (my dutch oven worked great for this!) and let cook for about 15-20 minutes. The dumplings will steam in the pot, making them light and fluffy in the middle and a little gummy on the yummy!
At any point during this recipe, you may find you like more broth in your's so add more of that, or less chicken, but more veggies, or maybe you'd like to add rice to the chicken mixture. That's fine, you have my permission to make this your own, too. That's the beauty of being the cook, you can customize it to your own tastes. Go ahead, get creative. But whatever you do, just cook.
Wishing you groans of contentment from your family, too, ~Peacemom

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