Le food du jour


I LOVE dumplings, which is pretty strange considering my aversion to soggy bread. At any rate, I think chicken and dumplings is great comfort food, and I had never tried making it before today. I prefer mine more soup-like than stew like, I think because my dad makes the best chicken and dumpling soup on the planet. I miss living in Michigan, especially on Saturdays, because that is chicken and dumpling soup day at my dad’s restaurant.

I didn’t ask for my dad’s recipe since I figured scaling it down would be pretty difficult. I looked and looked at recipes and nothing seemed right. I don’t like using cream of ______ soup, so that was out. Even Paula Deen uses cream of celery. Who knew? A lot of the other recipes seemed to be missing something, or had too much of something (seriously Emeril, 7 tbsp butter and 10 tbsp flour is not necessary).

So, needless to say, I made up my own. Big surprise there since I hate following recipes, eh?

My dumplings were adapted from Emeril recipe for herbed dumplings, but the rest was all trial and error. I think it came out pretty damn well, but I wish I would have made the dumplings a tad smaller. My dad would be proud!  

Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 6

First, the broth. I didn’t  have a whole chicken, but I did  have some thighs and breasts. So, in my crockpot this morning, I put in 2 thighs, 2 breasts, a quartered onion, a few whole peppercorns, a bay leaf, about a tsp of salt, a sprig of thyme, 4 cups of water and 2 cups of broth (to help it out a little, since I didn’t have a whole chicken/bones). This was my first time making broth in a crockpot and I think it turned out great. I kept it on low all day, and strained it when I got home.

2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup fresh soft herbs or a tablespoon-ish dried herbs (I used a few shakes of dried sage and a little fresh parsley)
1 cup and 3 tbsp milk (I used skim)
3 tbsp butter

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, herbs, baking powder, and salt together. In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the butter and milk to a simmer. Add the butter and milk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a fork until the mixture just comes together. Drop batter by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sauce, or whatever you want to call it. Soup?
3.5 tbsp  butter
2 carrots, sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme, leaves only
5 tbsp. flour
6 cups broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. cooked, shredded chicken
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

In a stockpot or dutch oven (with a lid), melt butter over medium heat. Add bay leaf, thyme, carrots and celery and cook until veggies are slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in flour to make a roux. Continue to cook/stir for about 2 minutes until the flour is coated and cooked.

Slowly add in chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring after every cup. Let the sauce simmer until it gets thicker, about 20 minutes.

Add in reserved chicken, cream and peas. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste.

Place the dumplings on top of the sauce. Cover and simmer on low for about 15-20 minutes or until dumplings are plumped up and cooked through.

Le food du jour

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