Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken N' Dumplings

Okay, so according to the "weatherman" we are supposed to be hit with one of the worst storms the NE has ever seen. I'm hoping he's wrong! Anyhow, in the spirit of hunkering down I decided to make chicken n' dumplings.

Dan has been bugging me to make more "man food"; i.e. keep it simple and go with comfort food of old and not try and make things that are too fancy. I generally try and make something he'll like for dinner so I thought this would be a winner. My dad loves chicken n' dumplings and often would throw this together as a winter meal.

My new friends at Fleisher's, hooked me up with a lovely young chicken. Seriously, if you are anywhere close to NYC/Hudson Valley you've got to check these guys out. (I'll likely do a post about them soon so stay tuned for more!)

I walked in and was browsing around while trying to brainstorm about what I would make for dinner over the week. I like to go to the butcher and the farmers market and try and get my inspiration from what is fresh and in season. Nicholas helped me talk through things and helped me get all that I would need.

I was running errands and what not for most of the morning and just butchered the chicken (which was interesting in itself since I don't do much butchering as a baker) and tossed it in my giant stock pot with the veggies and let it do its thing for 2 hours while I took Remi on a nice walk and straighted up around the house.

The dumpling dough takes hardly any time at all to mix together, roll out and cut to size and it was all finished and simmering on the stove waiting for Dan to come home.

Needless to say, Dan loved this meal and according to Dan, my father-in-law will be jealous that he wasn't here when he sees this post; Papa S, we'll make some chicken n' dumplings for you the next time you visit!

Chicken N' Dumplings (Adapted from a Cracker Barrel-esk recipe)

--3 quarts water (there are 4 cups in a quart, so 12 cups)
--1 (3 -4 lb) chicken, quartered
--1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
--1 Tblsp. lemon juice
--1 small onion, sliced
--2 shallots, quartered
--2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
--2 carrots, roughly chopped
--1 garlic clove, peeled and quartered
--1 bay leaf
--handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, whole
--1 tsp fresh ground pepper

--2 cups AP flour
--1 Tblsp. baking powder
--1 1/4 tsp. salt
--1 cup + 2 Tblsps. milk
(I used buttermilk because I had some in the fridge that I wanted to use it up)

Prep Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs

1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, shallot, bay leaf and parsley to the pot.

2. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the chicken, uncovered, for 2 hours. (The liquid will reduce by roughly one third.)

3. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and set it aside (cover to keep warm).

4. Strain the stock to remove all the vegetables and floating fat (toss the veggies, etc.--you just want the chicken and stock).

5. Pour 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of the stock back into the pot (freeze the rest--great for other uses!)

6. Add coarsely ground pepper, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the lemon juice, then reheat the stock over medium heat while preparing the dumplings.

7. For the dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and milk in a medium bowl. Stir until smooth, then let the dough rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

8. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut dough into 1/2-inch squares and drop each square into the simmering stock (be sure to use all of the dough.)

9. The dumplings will swell and then slowly shrink as they partially dissolve to thicken the stock.

10. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until thick. Stir often to cook dumplings evenly. Remove the skin from the chicken and cut into chunks (discard skin and bones).

11. Continue to simmer the chicken n' dumplings for another 5 to 10 minutes. When the liquids have reached the desired consistency, ladle four portions into bowls.

1 comment:

  1. This is almost exactly how my grandmother taught me how to make these. Very traditional Southern.
    Nice to see someone else appreciates this dish.