Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chicken 'n Dumplings

Hello again, everyone!  I'm going to let you in on a little secret today.  I hate that my husband travels so much for work, however, when he does, I get to make my favorite dishes that he doesn't like!  
I cannot for the life of me understand what he has against chicken 'n dumplings, but, I guess that's more for me!  The broth is comforting, and the dumplings are tender!  

Like I have mentioned before, I honestly should keep some shredded chicken in the freezer.  I use it for so many recipes, it would just be easier to grab a bag of shredded chicken out of the freezer, and be one step closer to a complete meal.
If I can't find any good sales at the grocery stores, my husband will stop by Costco on his way home from work, and stock up on our usual rotation of meats:  chicken, ground beef, pork loin, and some salmon.
This is enough for us to eat off for a month, and there is usually plenty of chicken for me to roast about half off, and preshred...maybe I'll have to do that!
Here's the grocery list for this one:
6 C chicken stock (homemade or store bought)
2 C All purpose flour
3 chicken breasts, bone-in, roasted and shredded
1 Tbs baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/8 C milk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp each garlic powder, dried oregano and dried parsley

That's it!  This comes together fairly quick, and is pretty easy.  As a matter of fact, my 3 year old daughter helped me put the dumplings together!  I love getting her help in the kitchen, and she has two step stools that are constantly at the counter, just so she can help!
To start off with, put the salt, flour, and baking powder in a medium sized mixing bowl, and give them a quick whisk, making sure they are well combined.  

Once everything is well combined, make a well in the center of the mixture, and pour the milk in.  Again, mix to combine, but be careful not to over-mix.  For dumplings to be tender, they need to be handled as little as possible.  Once it is combined, set the dough aside to rest for at least 20 minutes; I usually make mine a couple of hours ahead of time and set it aside.

If you want a how-to on how I roast my chicken breasts, check out my post on my roasted garlic, lemon soup.  I always roast my chicken hours before I need it, so that by the time I'm ready to fix my supper, it has cooled enough for me to shred it with no problems.  Of course, if I just kept some in the freezer, that would be one step already complete!

Now that your chicken is ready, pour your chicken stock into a pot, add in your herbs and garlic powder, and turn your attention back to the dumplings.  Lightly dust your work surface with some flour, and dump the bowl out onto it.

Instead of kneading your dough, like you would normally think to do, simply sprinkle a little bit more flour on top of your dough, and press down gently, until the dough is about 1/2" thick.

It may not be very pretty, but that doesn't matter.  It will taste good!  There are plenty of ways to cut these into dumplings, but I like to use a pizza cutter; the blade glides through this dough, and it takes just seconds to get the job done.

I cut them into roughly 1 inch squares, but the edge pieces will be larger, or smaller, some get cut into rectangles.  This doesn't matter.  As long as they are the same thickness, they will cook up the same.  Some may stick together as you pull them apart.  No biggie, just pull them apart, and dust them with some extra flour.  I like to use the extra flour, because the extra flour is what will help thicken the broth up, and make the excellent gravy that good chicken 'n dumplings is known for.

If it bothers you to have the different sizes, you could certainly take an extra minute to cut the rectangles down into the squares, but I'm too lazy for that!

Bring your broth up to a simmer, and add in all of the dumplings.  This is going to be a very full pot, but keep adding them in, until all of them have been added.  They will sink to the bottom, puff up, then float to the top.  Stir them frequently, and cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat, or until the gravy has thickened to your liking.

About 5 minutes before this is ready, add in your lemon juice, and stir in the chicken that had been set aside, to heat through.  Taste for seasonings, and serve up!  This is a true comfort food, and just perfect for the cold evenings of winter!