Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby, it's Cold Outside. Chicken 'n Dumplings Time

Oh Arctic air, how I wish you would stay in the Arctic.  But, as you are here for a few days, I thought I'd put up some tips on how to stay warm during this frigid blast.  So, this first week of 2014 is going to be dedicated to keeping warm, and staying inside...especially Minnesota and North Dakota where it apparently is cold enough to freeze your flesh in 5 minutes.

Time to make Chicken 'n Dumplings.  There are several different versions of what a dumpling is.  A dumpling, if you ask me is a plump, fluffy dough ball floating on top of a sea of golden broth, soaking in the flavor-y goodness.  Other places, it's more like a noodle.  We are making the fluffy dough ball kind of dumplings.

I was almost able to make this soup completely using items I had on hand, it all goes back to cooking intuitively.  Saves money and tastes good!

I quite often make enormous batches of protein and then force feed it to my family the rest of the week.  As you can imagine, we get tired of eating the same darn thing day after day.  I had four chicken breasts left after a week of eating them, and there they were, at the end of their life span, residing in the fridge, in the furthest corner, behind the cottage cheese and all the condiments that only were used once.  I'm not saying there was a conspiracy to hide the chicken from me, but....I'll let you decide.

So, after borrowing an onion from my sister, I scavenged the 4 or so ribs of limp celery and 5 pale carrots from my crisper drawer and decided, yeah, these'll do nicely (my family is so lucky!).  Sweated them out in a dutch oven with a dribble of oil, over medium heat until they were softened.  I simply diced up the already cooked chicken and tossed it in. Added enough water to cover the ingredients by an inch or two.  Some chicken base and seasonings later, and I had a half decent chicken soup.  And, I didn't waste a pile of chicken.  Double score! And, my family ate this soup like it was the best thing on earth...except my baby, who hates yummy things.  Thank you, week old chicken.

Boil, Boil, Toil and Trouble...

I threw the turmeric in because it is good for inflammation and gives a nice yellow-y color to dishes.  Remember to give your soup a taste and make sure it has enough salt.  Season accordingly.

And then dumpling time!

Sorry for the kind of creepy looking picture. It was dark.  And the pot was steaming.  I promise, they taste good and look pretty in real life. :)
This recipe is one my mother has used for my entire life. And maybe the one her mother used for her entire life.  I don't know.  All I know is, thank you Betty Crocker.

adapted from Betty Crocker Please click here for a link to Betty Crocker's page and this recipe I love
I don't know why my font changed, but I couldn't get it back to normal.  Sorry, I'll work on it.

1 1/2 C. All Purpose Flour
A dash of dried parsley   (not really for flavor so much as prettiness)
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Tbl. Shortening (one of my favorite cooking ingredients...I know it is evil.  It is like, the worst of the worst, except for maybe high fructose corn syrup...but I love it.)
3/4 C. milk (use at least 2%, nobody wants a weak dumpling)

From here it's simple.  You're going to mix these up like a biscuit recipe.  Combine the dry ingredients (including the parsley, because let's face it, that herb is seriously dry and maybe a touch dusty as it was sitting in the back of the spice cabinet, on it's side.)

Cut in the shortening.  You can just use your fingers or a pastry cutter.  Add the milk and stir until it just comes together.  This is a sticky dough.

This recipe will make approximately 10 dumplings.

Over your simmering pot of soup, you are going to gently spoon in the dumplings (try not to burn yourself, the broth is boiling, after all, so use some common sense when adding it to the pot).  The dough balls might sink momentarily, but they should float up to the surface.  Try and space them evenly through the soup.  Simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.  Pop a lid on and simmer for 10 more.  Done.

You should have perfectly steamed dumplings that are light and fluffy and a pleasure to eat, perfect for a freaking cold winter evening.  Stay warm America....except Alaska which is tropically warm right now.  35 F.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Looks really good to fix for the freezing weather we are having. I'll put in on my list of things to try.

  2. YUM. That looks delicious. I resorted to limp celery during this polar vortex extravaganza as well. I love the reference to boil, boil, toil and trouble...you don't hear that often in recipe instructions. Seems as if it should be used more. I applaud you for being the first. Stay warm my friend.

  3. I definitely think you have a chicken hiding conspiracy going on there. Glad you were able to thwart it in such a wonderful way! I always thought I made some pretty good dumplings, but yours look way better and much more fluffy! Can't wait to try them. Now...I have to say, that making a big pot of beans and ham when you have no water might not have been my best idea (if you know what I mean)...should have made chicken and dumplings instead!!

  4. I was just asking the hubs to make dumpling soup!! Something about that dough-y goodness justs makes me feel warm all over. This looks amazing. I like your idea of adding tumeric. I didn't know it good for boosting immunities. Pinned for making this winter - Amy

  5. That looks so yummy. Way to use up your leftovers!!! Stay warm Heather!!

  6. Cold enough to freeze your flesh...OMG! That looks yummy popping this one away for our winter

  7. I luuuuurve chicken and dumplings!!!! And yes, my sister lives in Alaska and it's been warmer there than here. Huh?!?!?


  8. Hi Heather, oh my gosh, yummy!!! Love chicken and dumplings. I also like the biscuity ones better than the noodley ones:) My mom makes the best chicken and dumplings ever. My sis got some over the holidays, I'm so jealous! I like this recipe using up your leftovers and limp veggies, so smart!! Thanks for sharing:)


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