Monday, January 16, 2012

Belated Creation Sunday - chicken and dumplings

Hillary wanted to share with you a great recipe for some awesome "cozy", cold weather food.  Right now is the perfect time to cook up a pot of chicken and dumplings and curl up by the TV or the fire or the one you love.
With my husband being sick and it being freezing outside, I thought that chicken and dumplings would be the perfect dinner.  Many years ago, a friend of mine told me how to make some using canned biscuit dough for dumplings.  There are many similar recipes out there, but mine is definitely unique.  Every time I make it, it's a a little different, and last night's was definitely the best.
Many of the recipes I have found are like pot pie filling with dumplings added, but I personally prefer my chicken and dumplings to be a little more like a thick soup or thin stew as that means there's a little more contrast between the texture of the soup and the fluffiness of the dumplings. 

When I cook, it's more of a zen process (i.e. I make it up as I go along and often don't really have a plan), so the measurements below may not be exact.  For all the spices, I just added them to taste.  The only really important thing is that you make sure you add some salt when you first start cooking so that the unsalted flavor doesn't get locked in.  Salt magically enhances all of the flavors in a recipe and helps tie them together.  If you don't add any or enough, your recipe will be bland.  If you wait until too late to add it, your food will taste like bland food with salt added... it's funny that way.  Anyways, enough babbling, on to the recipe.

1 (26 oz) box of chicken stock (you can certainly use homemade chicken stock if you're industrious)
1 (32 oz) box of vegetable broth (ditto)
salt (i used a mixture of table salt and kosher salt)
granulated dried onion (a little)
dried sliced garlic (2-3 slices)
herbs de provence (more of this than other spices)
old bay (a little)
cracked black pepper (a fair amount but i like peppery soup)
2 celery stalks (leaves removed) Chicken tenderloins refrigerated biscuit dough (I like pillsbury grands but feel free to use your favorite)

Flour 2 tbl cornstarch 1/2 cup COLD water Bring all ingredients except chicken tenderloins, biscuit dough, flour, cornstarch, and water to a boil in a large pot. (I don't cut up my celery as my husband doesn't like vegetables in his soup but likes the flavor they add. You could certainly dice yours and let it be in the final product ). Put in chicken and turn down heat to a low boil. Cook 5-10 minutes or until chicken is done. In the meantime, prepare "dumplings": Flour a flat, clean surface. Place desired amount of biscuit dough (I usually use a half can and have the oven ready to make biscuits with the rest of the dough) on surface and flour both sides. Roll dough with rolling pin until it is 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut each flat biscuit into smaller pieces (I usually cut them into about 8ths). When chicken is done: If not using diced celery, remove celery stalks from pot and discard. Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Add dumplings in. Cover pot and cook at a simmer low boil until biscuits appear cooked. In the meantime: Shred chicken or cut in to small pieces. Toward the end of cooking: In a cup or bowl, add cold water to cornstarch while stirring rapidly with a fork or whisk. Once cornstarch is dissolved thoroughly, slowly pour in to soup pot while stirring. Add shredded chicken back to pot. Continue to cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until soup has thickened and dumplings are cooked. That's all there is to it. Hope you enjoy it as much as we have!