Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chicken & Dumplings And The Great Debate


Photo Credit here

There seems to be a great debate in this country when it comes to Chicken and Dumplings. The basic recipe for the chicken, vegetables and broth or gravy is pretty much the same all over, but it's the dumplings that have had serious home cooks arguing for decades.

Some people swear by the rolled out and cut strips of dough that are added to a somewhat thinner broth with cooked chicken, carrots, onions, celery and  a myriad of other vegetables when it's at a rolling boil.  They turn out something like a plump "noodle" that also serves to thicken the broth a bit.  Then you have the lighter (hopefully) fluffy dumpling that is made with the same flour and fat and liquid ingredients as the noodle style dumpling, that's not rolled out and cut, but rather placed by the spoonful on top of the meat, vegetables and a usually thicker gravy as it is boiling.

Like most of the homestyle or comfort foods we enjoy, much depends on how our mothers, grandmothers, fathers, aunties or uncles prepared it. In short, the food we grew up eating. Case in point: Hubbs will never return to a particular restaurant chain because the first and only time he ate there, he ordered their chicken and dumplings, expecting the fluffy dumplings that he ate growing up (and that I've prepared all these years), and instead he received the "noodle style" dumplings. He was appalled and barely touched it. We haven't been back to this place since. (Well, not together anyway. I've been with others because I enjoy several of their offerings and I can't hold their dumpling preparation against them)

So, as I'm sure you've already guessed, the following recipe is for the chicken and dumplings with the spooned dumplings.  There are two different ways to prepare it. One is a quick version that I make 99% of the time and the other is the more traditional "from scratch" version which entails making your own chicken and stock and your dumplings from scratch instead of a biscuit mix. I can certainly post the scratch version if anyone would like it. Feel free to ask any time!



Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients:
  • 1 Store Bought Rotisserie Chicken, picked and shredded into bite sized chunks
  • 8 Cups Prepared Chicken Broth/Stock
  • 1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 6 Tbls Butter
  • 1Lb Bagged "Baby" Carrots, cut in half or into thirds, depending on size
  • 1Lg Yellow Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Ribs Celery, sliced thickly (about 1/4 inch) on the diagonal
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas (optional)
  • 1Tsp each, Onion Powder, Celery Salt, Dried Thyme and Dried Sage
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Dumplings:

A Double Batch of Biscuit Dough, made with your favorite boxed mix, according to directions for "drop biscuits".  I use Bisquick.

Preparation:

In a large heavy dutch oven, (with plenty of surface area) melt butter over med-high heat and add flour. Stir with wooden spoon or use a whisk until the butter and flour are combined thoroughly and there are no lumps.  Add a pinch of salt and a couple of grinds of pepper and whisk continuously as mixture cooks a bit to get rid of the raw flour taste. Cook to a medium golden brown color. Add the broth/stock and continue to whisk constantly, bringing it to a boil until it is completely smooth and begins to thicken slightly. Turn heat down slightly and add the chicken, vegetables and dried herbs. Let simmer until vegetables are tender.

While the base is simmering, in a large mixing bowl  make the bisquit dough according to the package directions.  If I have any in the fridge, I'll add some fresh chopped parsley and chives or maybe a dash of onion powder and dried parsley flakes to the dough to give the dumplings a little extra zing.

Once the chicken, vegetables and gravy are ready, turn up the heat slightly and bring it to a bubbly simmer. Using a medium ice cream scoop or two serving spoons, drop the dough on top of the bubbling liquid. Keep the dumplings slightly apart, as they'll puff up quite a bit and if the pan is too crowded, they won't come out as light and fluffy. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Now comes the most important part. Cover the pan tightly and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Do not lift the lid during this last 10 minutes or you'll end up with what my beloved calls "sunklings".  (I'll tell that story some other time)

Serve immediately for the dumplings to be at their very best. It reheats quite well, but any left over dumplings will have soaked up some of the gravy and become a bit heavier. We don't usually have any of the dumplings left over around here anyway!  If I have a good amount left the following day I'll often add more stock to the left over base and just bring it all to a bubbling simmer again and make a fresh batch of dumplings. Or you can freeze the leftover base for another time to use for Chicken and Dumplings or even Chicken Pot Pies.

Serve with a crisp tossed green salad or another vegetable of your choice. You can add peeled and cubed potatoes to the chicken and vegetable mixture as well, but hubs and I don't care for them in our Chicken and Dumplings. (we also don't "do" peas)

Serves 4-6

3 comments:

  1. Oh Mrs. B! I am so glad you are back! I love love love the blog! Oh, it is so wonderful! And I love chicken and dumplings with the big 'ol dumplings rather than the string dumplings.

    And I don't like peas, either.

    Yeah! Can't wait to see more!

    Sue

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's good to be "back", Sue! I'm so glad you stopped in and thank you for being my very first follower here in my new home!!! It feels like Christmas morning!

    So... You don't like peas either? I knew we had a ton of things in common! Hope you're having a marvelous Sunday!

    XOXO Mrs B

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have to say I call the fluffy ones dumplings and the thin rolled out ones noodles.

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! I read every one and they truly make my day! I no longer allow anonymous comments due to increases in spam, etc. Since there are issues with G+ and Blogger Profiles mysteriously flipping back and forth, I know it can be impossible to control showing up as a no-reply blogger, but IF YOU SUBSCRIBE to the COMMENTS on this post (below) you'll get a notice about my reply via email! Thanks for stopping by and for absolutely making my day! XOXO

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...