Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings

19.  When I think of comfort foods, Chicken and Dumplings remain at the top of the list.  I've tasted many variations of Chicken and Dumplings and have compared a variety of recipes.  So here is my recipe that makes my family say "yum"!

Chicken and Dumplings 

4 chicken breasts or 6 thigh/leg pieces
7 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery with leaf tops, chopped in pieces
1 medium to large onion, chopped small, separate onion in two portions
1/2 cup butter
4 cups flour  (decrease for less dumplings)
salt / white pepper
1/4 cup parsley, chopped or 2 Tablespoons dry parsley
4 cups hot soup stock  (decrease for less dumplings)

Place chicken in a 6 quart stock pot and cover with water, adding salt.  Bring to a boil and cook the chicken till very tender.  Remove chicken from pot and transfer to a bowl or plate to cool to touch. After chicken cools, pull chicken from the bone and cut in small pieces or leave large chunks.  Discard bones and skin.   If you want your stock to be clear,  strain and return to stock pot.  Bring to a slow boil.  Place carrots, celery and one portion of the onions, salt and pepper into the boiling stock and continue cooking.
Place butter and one portion of onion in a 6 cup microwave safe bowl, cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes till onions are tender.  You may also place butter and onion in a small pan and sauté till onions are clear then transfer to a bowl.
Add flour, salt and pepper to the bowl of cooked onions.  With a 1 cup measuring cup, begin to scoop out hot stock, careful not to catch vegetables in cup, only stock.  Pour hot stock into bowl with flour and onions.  Add 4 full cups of hot stock.  With a large spoon, begin to blend onions, flour and stock together to form a sticky, lumpy dough.  Dough should not be runny or too difficult to mix.  Add or reduce amount of stock to adjust dough.  Once you have incorporated all the flour and the dough is lumpy, you are ready to make the spoon dumplings.
Add approximately 3 cups of water or chicken stock to the pot, for volume.  Bring the soup back to a rolling boil.  Using a large spoon, 2 Tablespoon  approximately, (or small spoon if you desire),  heat the spoon in the boiling soup then scrape across the top of the dough and roll the dough in the spoon up the side of the bowl.  You may want to oil the spoon lightly before heating in soup.
(This is a Polish drop dumpling called "knedle", mostly made with potatoes.  My mother would make these for dinner and smother them with fried onions.)
Drop dough from the spoon directly into the boiling soup.  Continue to make the dumplings, heating the spoon between each dumpling.  Stir the soup to keep the dumplings from sticking to the bottom.  Once all dumplings have been made, continue to  simmer till all the dumplings float to the top.  
Cook for 20 minutes more.  If the soup sits, it will turn thick, serving immediately, the soup will be lighter.  Sprinkle parsley over the soup right before serving.
I like to serve this soup with crusty bread or flatbread with cheese slices.  Great winter warm up...or when you need a bowl of comfort!!


John 8:12
 "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

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