Sunday, January 8, 2012

Winter Comfort - Chicken & Dumplings

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! I have been busy this morning planning out blog entries and my weekly meal schedule..I know, sounds like so much fun, right?
This is currently my "foodie" space. Ah..I need a bigger house!
 Yesterday,  I had in my head that I was making chicken & dumplings after seeing a photo online, so after running around like a chicken yesterday, I thought it would be the perfect comfort meal.  And after the making, and the tasting and the savoring, I can say with total honesty that everyone should make this.  If you are ever having a crap day, or its too cold outside to do anything, make this!  If you are a vegetarian, make this without the chicken, if you don't have any chicken, make it with pork!  Seriously, it is yummy!

For Chicken & Dumplings, you will need :
(Also, this should be enough for approx 4-5 people, or two extremely hungry men!)

Chicken & Broth :
2 chicken breasts (you can use 2-3 legs, or whatever you have kicking around)
6-7 cloves of garlic, cut in half
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs of thyme, use 1/2 tsp dry if you don't have fresh
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp salt

Throw everything in a pot, add enough water to cover the chicken.
Bring to a simmer, and simmer covered for 1 hour.
Skim any of the yucky stuff off the top during the cooking time.
After the hour is up, remove chicken to a plate and shred it, and strain out broth into a bowl or measuring cup and set both aside.

Dumpling dough :

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp chopped chives or green onion

1/3 cup milk (you might have to add a little more)

Mix dry together in a bowl.
Mix wet in another bowl.
Stir together, until just combined.
If too dry, add a little extra milk.
Its supposed to look lumpy, don't worry!
Keep this to the side.

The sauce & assembling :

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp flour
Approx 3 cups of your reserved stock, if you have less that's fine.
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup whipping cream
Pepper for taste
Extra chives for garnish

Heat medium pot or dutch oven to medium high heat.
Heat butter and oil.
Add carrots, celery and garlic and cook until a little softened, 5 minutes.
Add flour and stir around for 1-2 minutes. If there ends up being not enough fat left, add a little extra butter before adding the flour.
Add in your stock a little at a time, stirring as you go, it helps keep lumps from forming when you do this slowly.
Once all stock is added, add frozen peas and  let simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes until thickened a bit more. (Also, taste if needs more salt, at this point!)
Stir in your cream and add in the chicken.
Bring to a simmer again.
Now is the fun part!
Carefully add in dumpling dough. I used my hands because it just kept sticking to the spoon anyway.
Do not crowd them if you can help it.
Cover and let cook for 10 minutes. If they are still doughy in the middle after 10 minutes, cover and simmer for additional 5 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkle of pepper and chives.

I had a helper yesterday!
Sorry about the brightness, I took pictures in the dark, with flash, without flash and still ended up with crap photos!
I hope everyone enjoys this lovely meal.

I am cooking something a little bit foreign to me today, I am making okra! I will have a blog post of my okra recipe tomorrow, so come back to check that out.

Until next time,

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