Friday, February 17, 2012

The Great Chicken and Dumpling Experiment

Not mine but looks just like it!

It was rather dreary here yesterday, I was off and Michael had a home buyers seminar to do last evening so...for some unknown reason (other than the fact that there was chicken in the freezer as always) I decided to make Chicken and Dumplings!

About noonish I grabbed two frozen solid chicken breasts and two similarly frozen wings, plopped them in a large stock pot, chopped up two carrots and two celery stalks (the leafy green end included) put them in the pot, covered the whole thing in water, added about a tablespoon of salt and put it on a medium heat to cook away. 

Michael came home about 3pm to rest before his seminar last night and I realized, I had nothing but boiled chicken at this point the Internet I went.  I have been very unsuccessful with making dumplings since we stopped buying Bisquick a few years ago.  I have tried many recipes from the Internet that in theory should be good...for the most part they turned out yucky! 

Now as you know if you have been following this blog, I am from New York and dumplings up there are round and fluffy.  The texture is hard to explain except to say they are probably kind of bready or muffiny.  Little did I know until my research yesterday that Southerners think that along with Deviled Eggs, they also created dumplings and after making a new type last night (which to be honest is more like a cross between egg noodles and pasta) they may actually have a point about their kind of dumplings!

Northern Dumplings similar to what I am used to

After looking at recipes and the comments on a couple of well known cooking sites (Paula Deen on the Food Channel site and one of my favorites The Pioneer Woman) I found almost a fight over dumplings!  Paula's (which I made last night) are undoubtedly Southern while The Pioneer Woman's are more like what I am used to.  People actually wrote disparaging remarks in regards to the dumplings on TPW site that those are not dumplings!  Apparently Dumplings are a very personal thing.

Chinese Dumplings, not for Chicken and Dumplings but very tasty!

Anyway, back to our own Chicken and Dumpling dilemma.  I had forgotten to really season the chicken and had added no onion (beats me what I was thinking) so into the pot went a bay leaf, and some pepper as it was too late to add chopped onion.  Paula's recipe called for a can of cream soup of your choice, I very rarely have it in the house but when I was sick last month the Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup called to me and somehow wound up here at our house.  After I pulled the quickly over cooking chicken out of the pot (and carefully placed it on top of the fridge where Bear cannot get to it)  I added  the can of soup, some frozen peas and what was left of a bag of frozen pearl onions.  I set it to simmer and went back to goofing off.  In a while I went to back to check on the pot of stuff and realized that it was not thicken up so I put a tablespoon of corn starch and some water in a cup, mixed it up and added it to the pot o stuff.  Then I went to work on the dumplings, I was amazed how easy it really was especially since I have been making pasta. 

Chicken and Dumplings (with some help from Paula Deen)

2 chicken breasts
2 chicken wings
2 carrots peeled and sliced
2 stalks of celery chopped (including the leafy part)
1 tablespoon salt
Enough water to cover
1 box of chicken broth
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
1 bay leaf

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup of ice water

Put the chicken, carrots, celery, bay leaf, pepper and salt in a large stock pot, add chicken stock and enough water to cover.  Put on a medium heat bring to boil, than turn down to a medium simmer cover and stir occasionally.  Let it cook for a few hours while you do what you need to or want to. When the chicken is getting ready to fall off the bone, scoop it out of the pot and put aside somewhere the dog cannot get to it while it cools.  After the chicken has cooled shred it and throw out the bones. Add to your soup the frozen veggies and chicken, turn down to a simmer and allow to cook about 20 minutes uncovered.  If it hasn't thickened put one tablespoon of cornstarch in cup and mix with some water than add to the pot.  You will need to raise the temperature of the stove to allow the chicken mixture to come to a boil before adding the dumplings.

To make the dumplings mix the flour and salt in a bowl slowly adding the ice water  (you need to mix this with your hands) adding water until it comes together.  You may not need all the water so add just a bit at a time.  Knead the dough until kind of smooth than place on a floured counter top (that you have rescued from the puzzle).  Roll out until about 1/8 of an inch thick than let it rest for a few minutes.  Take your knife and cut into 1 inch strips than go back and cut so they are also one inch (or so) long. 

Take your dumpling pieces rip in half and drop into your stew.  I gave the pot one stir to make sure all the dumplings were submerged.  Lower the temperature to a high simmer cover and allow to cook for about 1/2 an hour or so. Unlike pasta the dumplings appear to do better the longer they are cooked.

Viola!  Southern Chicken and dumplings (or the way mine looks right now Southern Dumplings and Chicken).

Three notes about this recipe and me!
1. I had no idea how to make ice water (silly I know but true)  I used about 1/2 cup of water and two ice cubes to make the ice water. 
2. Contrary to how I was feeling and thinking yesterday (this is the truth) you do not need to take the tape measure out of the closet to make sure the dumplings are:
 a.  1/8 of an inch thick and ..
 b.  Neat little one inch squares
3.  Thank goodness I reread this post again before I posted it!  I had forgotten to add in the part about shredding the chicken and putting it back in the pot.  That would have just made Chicken Flavored Veggies and Dumplings!

No comments:

Post a Comment