Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings, from Mel

For the stock:

1 TBSP cooking oil
1 whole, cut up chicken
2 medium carrots
2 celery stalks
1 onion
1/2 red bell pepper or 3 mini bell peppers
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 TBSP peppercorns

Put a large stock pot with 1TBSP oil on the stove over medium high heat. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to hot stock pot, skin down. Leave it alone for about 5 minutes. Chop veggies into large pieces. Add all ingredients to chicken in pot, cover with water, and simmer for about an hour. Skim fat and crud off the top as needed. (I removed about a cup of pure fat from the top of mine while cooking it.)

Pull chicken pieces out of pot and let cool enough to handle. Pour everything left in the pot through a collander into another pot or bowl. Wipe out stock pot. Pour stock through a fine mesh strainer back into stock pot. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and shred a bit. Discard bones and skin. Discard veggie chunks.

For the final product:

Reserved stock
Reserved chicken
2 medium carrots
2 celery stalks
1 onion
frozen peas, if you wish

Chop carrots, celery, and onion into small pieces. Add to reserved stock in stock pot over medium high heat. Add shredded chicken to pot. Cook for a while. :D (An hour or so?) While that cooks, prepare dumplings.

Rolled Dumplings

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
herbs or something, if you like
1/3 cup of shortening/butter. I like to use half and half - you can use all of one or the other or whatever you feel like
1/2 cup milk, maybe more if needed

1 carton chicken stock, or about 4 cups if using homemade (what is in the pot with chicken and veggies won't be enough.)

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, herbs... whatever you feel like adding in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening/butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk to form a soft dough. Roll out chunks of dough to be about 1/4 inch (or less) thick. These really puff up when cooking, so it's a matter of taste. Once they're rolled, cut into small squares/diamonds/rectangles/strips/whatever floats your boat with a pizza cutter. I make mine into about 1 inch diamonds/squares.

At some point, put the carton/4 cups chicken stock into a sauce pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.

Once your dumplings are cut, add them to the boiling stock in batches and cook, covered, for about 8-10 minutes. They may boil over, so reduce heat and/or vent lid as needed. After each batch is cooked, add it to the pot with the chicken and veggies. (Just the dumplings, keep the stock in the pot.) Ladle more stock into the dumpling-cooking pot (from the pot with the veggies) as needed to have enough stock for cooking the dumplings. When the final batch of dumplings is done cooking, add them along with the (now thickened) stock to the pot with the veggies. Stir it around. Cook for a while longer if you feel like it, or serve it right away.

:D I hope that's pretty much right. That's what I did. It was tasty. ;) You can certainly add whatever veggies/seasonings you'd like. If I'd happened to have herbs, I would have added them (in a bundle) to the stock.

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