Chicken and Dumplings (comfort food at it’s finest)

Last week flew by in a blur of sleeplessness, laundry, and steam treatments. Yep, we were hit with the flu. Every, single, one of us was hit harder with sickness than we have been in a long time. As everyone was starting to feel better, I wanted to make something for dinner that would be gentle on upset tummies and nutritious, as well. I decided on chicken and dumplings, one of my favorites, and used a new recipe I found via Pinterest. I modified it a little bit, and thought that after all the requests for the recipe (after posting a picture on Instagram), I would share it with you here.

Chicken and Dumplings
adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen 

 

Meat from 1 whole roasted chicken, removed from bones and shredded
Stock from chicken, 8 cups total
6 TB Earth Balance (or butter or chicken fat)
6 TB whole wheat flour
4 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 TB dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup plain, whole-milk greek yogurt, with enough water added to make 1 cup of liquid. Stir well. (You could also use a milk of your choice.)

 

First of all, roast your chicken. If you don’t have a tried and true recipe for roasting chicken, this is a good one. (Especially if you are immediately removing the meat for use in another dish.) After your chicken is cooled, remove all meat from the bones and chop. I like the meat shredded, but you can cut it to whatever size you’d like it in your soup. Next you need stock. You can buy broth at the store, which works just fine, especially if you don’t have homemade on hand, or you can make a pot of stock from the chicken carcass you have leftover. I roast at least one chicken each week (we have a freezer FULL of whole, free-range, organic chickens), and I always throw the carcass in a pot for stock. It freezes well and is so nice to have on hand. I just place the carcass (that has been picked clean of all usable meat) in the pot, cover it with water, and chop and add a couple of carrots, a few stalks of celery and an onion. I also throw in a couple of bay leaves. After it’s all in, I just bring it to a boil, turn down, and let simmer about 3 – 4 hours. These first steps are better done a day or so in advance, or at least first thing in the morning. This is also a great way to use up leftover roast chicken meat and stock that is frozen and on hand.

Once you have your chicken shredded (or cubed) and set aside, and your broth is finished and ready for use, you are ready to start on your chicken and dumplings!

Melt whatever fat you are using in a large pot with a lid over medium heat. I use Earth Balance because we don’t eat dairy, but butter or fat from the chicken works well. After it is melted, sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring for a few minutes to create a roux, until golden brown. Add your chicken stock, stirring constantly to avoid lumps, until the mixture simmers. Next add your chicken and vegetables. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste. Let this simmer for about 20 minutes or so, until the vegetables are nearly soft. While this simmers, take out a mixing bowl and in it mix the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley. Add your yogurt mixture and stir with a fork until just combined. When it is done, it will still look dry and slightly separated. The dry parts of the dumpling mixture will absorb some of the moisture from the wetter parts, so don’t worry about it looking separated. Whatever you do, do not over-mix! This will cause gluey, heavy dumplings instead of light, fluffy ones. Keeping your soup simmering, use two spoons to drop small portions of dough into the pot until the surface of the chicken soup mixture is covered. Make sure you only make one, single, layer of dumplings or they won’t steam properly. Cover the pot and cook WITHOUT DISTURBING (don’t peek!) for 15 minutes. At 15 minutes, I checked my dumplings with a toothpick. Most of them were done, but a few seemed to need a bit more steaming, so I turned the pot off but replaced the lid so that they continued to cook for a couple of more minutes.

And that’s it! Once your dumplings are done, serve and enjoy (with lots of freshly ground pepper)!

 

 

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