Chicken and dumplings may just be the perfect chilly gray day food

I had a craving for comfort food, something that would make me feel warm and cozy inside, which led me to a recipe search for chicken and dumplings. Online I went, looking through the various recipe aggregators, when the boyfriend told me about his chicken and dumplings, which sounded delicious. His recipe came from epicurious.com, so I went there and found this four forks recipe. It calls for homemade dumplings with cornmeal and lots of cream, which sounded heavier than I wanted, so instead, I used heart smart Bisquick, which tastes pretty delicious for a lot less work. The recipe also calls for turmeric. I had no idea what this root was until just minutes ago. It is related to ginger root and used in alternative medicine, beyond its use in cooking. It's an ingredient in curry powders, and must lend to them much of their yellow color. A little goes a long way for both color and flavor. I really like its taste. I did some online reading, and someone mentioned they use it on oatmeal, which made me wonder if there's sweet/savory/baking possibilities there ... there is a pie contest in Portland every year ... maybe in the crust? I digress. So here's that hearty concoction, just what I needed to fight the gray.

Chicken and dumplings, adapted.

You need a big heavy duty pot with a lid, that is wide enough to fit all the chicken in along with the vegetables and broth.

You may also want a plate at hand for the chicken, because you may have to pan fry it in batches.

2 T. olive oil
1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into pieces ( I bought a 3.68 lb chicken in pieces, and ended up ditching the wings and thighs, just leaving the breasts and legs, which was enough for me. If I made this again, I would probably do three bone-in breasts and possibly one leg, because I mostly prefer white meat off the bone to dark meat or boneless)
1/4 c. flour, with salt and pepper (this is for dredging the chicken)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks (I'd suggest more carrots, if you're a carrot lover, as I am. They get really soft and delicious, and mine were long gone before all the soup was)
2 stalks celery, cut into large chunks
1 bay leaf (if your boyfriend has a tree in the backyard you can pluck one from, all the better)
1 sprig thyme (I like more thyme, so I went with a very hearty sprig, that some might say was actually two sprigs)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric (Hello yellow! Don't get this on your counters or clothes, unless you've got a lovely mustard-colored frock on)
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (one Swanson's 32 oz container works)

Start by dredging the chicken in the flour, then cook them over medium heat in the pan until they brown on each side ... the original recipe says this is a 2 minutes per side situation, but I disagree! I would saw it took me about 8-10 minutes total to brown them the way I wanted ... you don't want to cook them all the way through though, the simmering soup will do that.

Okay, so remove those chicken pieces to a plate. Throw in the onion and cook it a couple minutes, so it's getting soft and shinyish (side note: fun part of blogging? Making up words.) then throw in everything else except the broth and cook that for a couple minutes.

Add the broth. Put the chicken back in. You might need to add a little water to cover the chicken completely. Simmer this about fifteen minutes or so, with the lid on. I like a high simmer, so I do this on about a (electric) 4. You don't want to overcook the chicken though, so don't get too crazy with your simmering action.

While everything is simmering, make the bisquick dumplings, basically bisquick mix and milk.  I tripled the side of the box recipe, which I think was just about right. Doesn't get too much easier than this:

for 12 dumplings: 2 c heart healthy Bisquick and 9 Tsp milk, which is just over a 1/2 of a cup? Yes, 1/2 a cup plus one tablespoon.

After those fifteen simmering minutes were up, I chose to remove the chicken from the pot, deboned it and shredded it into pieces, then put it back in the pot. This is somewhat cumbersome, but I think it makes the soup better. You can accomplish this with two forks and hands of steel (that chicken is h.o.t.) - okay not really, but you may want a paper towel as a buffer between your tender fingers and those heat-holding chicken bones.

Feel good that that particular task is over and then drop the dumplings by spoonfuls onto the (still simmering) soup. Cook another ten to fifteen minutes and prepare yourself, for you may have overflow as your dumplings grow in size. When I said you need a large pot earlier, what I meant was you need a LARGE pot.

When the dumplings have cooked up, you are done. Pat yourself on the back and warm your insides with a bowl of comforting chicken and dumplings. No better way to send that gray away, inside and out.


1 comment:

Lianne said...

Mmmm... dumplings. This would be really easy to modify to a vegetarian dumpling soup. Hope you are well! Really looking forward to the blog - please keep posting.