Thursday, November 19, 2009
basic ol' chicken and dumplings
chicken and dumplings, a southern staple, but not so much in this house. i do make them once in awhile, but for us(really me) they are one of those foods that you can wait months in between having'em again. i do think i make pretty good ones, pretty simple, but full of flavor. i mean if my picky eleven year old daughter will eat a entire bowl, then they must be okay. i do make my own dumplings which it the best part, right? they are so simple and you do not have to make them perfectly, trust me 'cause i sure don't. anywho, here is what i do. enjoy.
beth's basic chicken and dumplings
first, we are white meat folks, no dark for us, at all. ick. you can use whatever you prefer. i buy a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put in a dutch oven. i cover the chicken with about two quarts of fresh water and bring to a boil. i add in four chicken bouillon cubes, two bay leaves, 1/2 tsp of poultry seasoning and lots of freshly ground black pepper. i boil till the chicken is done and remove from the pot to cool. meanwhile, i strain the broth into another bowl and sit aside. don't bother to wash your dutch oven, just leave it on the stove. you will be back.
the dumplings, i mix two cups of self-rising flour with a 1/4 cup of cold vegetable shortening in a large bowl. i either use my fingers or a pastry blender to cut in the shortening till it about the size of peas. i then pour in about 3/4 cup of my chicken broth to make a dough. blend it till it pulls away from the sides of your bowl. plop onto your floured table or counter and knead two or three times till it comes together. with your floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about an 1/8 inch and cut into strips. i used my pizza cutter. i also cut the strips into halves or thirds to make them smaller. it really doesn't matter if your strips are varying sizes, they will all taste the same.
now back to your dutch oven, over med high heat, melt 3 tbsp butter. stir in a 1/4 self-rising flour, cook two to three minutes. now add back in your chicken stock and bring to a boil. once boiling, add your dumplings. turn your heat to low, cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. stir a few times while cooking to make sure they don't stick together. they will puff up, so don't be scared.
while the dumplings cook, cut up your chicken however you like it, shredded, cubes, strips, chunks, whatever. add these to your cooked dumplings along with 1/2 cup milk or fat free half and half and lots more of freshly ground black pepper. simmer till warmed through. enjoy.
p.s.-if you feel like you don't have enough stock, just throw in a can. i keep extra in my cupboards. also, when you add the chicken you can always jazz it up with some peas, corn, or carrots. that's yummy, too.