Sunday, February 6, 2011

Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

I didn't take a photo of my chicken and dumplings the other day and I've no idea why.  Here's how I made them. 

I boiled together 3 thighs and 2 breasts in enough water to cover them.  I added in carrot, celery leaves and onion (about 1 whole, but in my case I used a bag of onion cast-offs from my freezer).  DO NOT SALT.  This will make the broth cloudy.  You can add whole peppercorns and a bay leaf however.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or longer until chicken is tender. 

Let cool.  Remove chicken and strain broth to remove onions, etc.

Heat broth in big Dutch oven.  It should be at least 1/2 pan full.  Add water if necessary to bring to that level.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Strip chicken of skin and bone and pull into nice chunks.  I like to pull the chicken apart rather than cut it, because really chicken and dumplings is a rustic old fashioned dish.  Put chicken meat back into broth. 

Mix dumplings as follows:
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
2 small eggs
3 cups flour (all purpose; if you do use self rising leave out salt)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended and formed into a dough ball.  Remove and place on a flat floured surface.  Roll out as thinly as you can.  1/16 inch gives a more noodle like feel to the dumplings.  I personally like them just a little thicker about 1/8 inch.

I used my pizza cutter to cut the dough into long strips about 1 inch wide and then across the strips into about 3 inch lengths.

Be sure that broth is up to a slow boil.  Begin to drop dumplings in a few at a time.  Do not worry about piling them up on one another.  Don't rush and hurry with this.  Just be methodical about it.  I lay strips over my forearm and then move to the pot and drop them in one at a time, then move back to the board and pick up my strips.  When all the dumplings are in the pan, put the lid on and turn heat down to low.  This should keep the broth at about a good simmering point.  Do NOT lift the lid to look.  Walk away for 20 minutes then look all you'd like.

Gently stir.  The dumplings should be plump and the broth will be slightly thickened.  Add 1 cup evaporated milk and if you'd like sprinkle over parsley and stir gently again. 

Serve in deep soup bowls right away, or refrigerate and heat the next day over very low heat or in crock pot.  The broth will now be more like a gravy than broth.  I prefer the fresh dumplings in the milky broth myself, but that is not traditional for my family.  They prefer them less liquid.

Rhonda's Grandpa's Bread

I'm going to put this down just as I did it.  Rhonda's page has a number of suggestions for substitutions and variations.  In fact, I suggest you read her blog period because it's loaded with lots of good ideas for using what you have at home to make all sorts of wonderful things!

2 cups warm water
1 package yeast
1 t salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
about 6 cups of flour

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water.  Add salt, then pour into mixing bowl.  Add oil and most of the flour.  (If you are experienced with breadmaking then you'll know that all of the flour isn't always necessary.  Even though it was a very wet day, I needed only 5 1/2 cups flour.  I reserved the extra 1/2 cup).

 Mix well, then knead until you have a smooth dough. I let my mixer do all the work for me.  When the dough came together forming a ball and all the flour was incorporated, I stopped beating.

Let dough rise in an oiled bowl, covered with a clean kitchen towel, until at least double in size.

Punch down. Dump out onto a floured surface (using that reserved flour) and knead lightly. Shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans and cover.

Let rise again, until at least double. Remove cover.

Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes.

Rhonda's site with her photos and instructions: