Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicken 'n Dumplings... the ULTIMATE Comfort Food

If I had ONE meal that I could not go the whole winter without... this is it! Nothing like the fluffy dumplings in that wonderful chicken stew. Mmmm, mmm, good!

I never thought of posting the recipe for my chicken 'n dumplings... mostly because I don't have an actual recipe. But... I'm finding that not everyone makes it or has even tried it before. So I want to share it with you.

Some of my family members cannot have salt and other spices so I don't add any to the recipe. It's fine for us... we just add our own salt and pepper as we serve it. (And it looks much better than in the picture.) Feel free to add your favorite spices.

Chicken 'N Dumplings

1 whole chicken, boiled and shredded
1 bunch celery, diced  (add more or less)
5-6 carrots, sliced  (add more or less)          
flour (to thicken)
Dumplings (recipe below)

Here's how I do it:

Place the chicken in a large pot (I use an 8-qt) with enough water to cover. While the chicken is cooking, slice the celery and carrots into a medium bowl, set aside. When the chicken is done... (I usually boil it until it starts to fall apart... a sure sign it's done), remove the chicken from the pot to a plate or bowl to cool.

While the chicken is cooling, I like to strain the chicken broth to remove all the bones, skin, etc. at the bottom of the pot. You don't have to run it through a strainer, a slotted spoon works great, I'm just picky.

Return the chicken broth to the stove on med-high heat. If there is an excess of fat on top of the broth, remove most of it with a ladle or the dumplings will soak it up. Add the carrots and celery and bring to a boil. After boiling, turn heat down to medium. While the vegetables are cooking, carefully remove the skin from the chicken. Shred the meat and return to the pot. Cook until the vegetables are almost tender.

At this point, you will now want to thicken the broth. Take about 2-3 tablespoons of flour and mix with cool water. If you have a 'shaker'... even better. Now slowly pour into the pot, stirring constantly so it doesn't clump together. Stir often until broth is thickened to desired consistency.

Then... turn the heat so the broth is just bubbling. Now we add the dumplings.

Easy Dumplings

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons cold butter

Mix all the dry ingredients together with a wire whisk. Next, rub in the butter. Using your hands is best. Then add the milk and stir with a fork until it forms a stiff dough.

Now, drop the dough carefully by teaspoonfuls onto the bubbling stew. Cook for 10 minutes covered then remove the lid and cook 10 minutes longer. They are done when they are light and fluffy in the middle.

These are pretty foolproof. Just take note... this is a stiff dough. If you add too much liquid they will be too heavy. You don't want them to sink... but float on the top of the stew.

And that's it!

I hope you like it! My family loves this recipe. So much that we usually are too quick to eat it before cooling off. After it boils the dumplings for 20 minutes it tends to be extremely hot. But we never learn... we do it every time. LOL!

Thanks for reading and God bless!
Mary Ann :)

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