Sunday, February 24, 2008

Man Food: Chicken and Dumplings

I've really been racking my brain for some new ideas for feeding Mr.W's friends. Friday I had an epiphany when I found whole chickens at the grocery for $.49/lb--chicken and dumplings.

What a comforting, filling, easy way to feed a crowd. My photos are from making this in the turkey roaster, but the recipe is for a more reasonable amount to make in a slow cooker (for the broth) and on the stove (for the remainder of the recipe). But if you're using a turkey roaster for this, double or triple the broth and soup recipe, and triple the dumplings.

Note that you can make this with ready-made chicken broth if desired; I like to make my own, and will show that as part of the recipe. However, I do use baking mix for my dumplings. I have made them from scratch in the past--you are, of course, welcome to do so.

Chicken and Dumplings
serves 6 to 8


For the broth:
1 3- to 4-pound whole chicken, or skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces, rinsed and patted dry
salt to taste
2-inch piece celery (I omitted this; didn't have celery)
water to cover
1 whole onion, cut in half (leave peel on for color)

For the soup:
1 cup pound baby-cut carrots
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup other uncooked fresh vegetables of choice (I used chopped rutabaga)
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste

For the dumplings:
2 cups baking mix
2/3 cup milk
seasoning salt


For the broth:
Place chicken, onion and celery in crock pot. Put a good half-handful of salt over. If you're cautious about using salt, you can go easy at this point and correct seasoning later on. Cover with water and cook on low overnight or on high for 6 hours. It's done when the meat is falling off the bone.

Place a large colander in a large bowl. Transfer the contents of the crock pot to the colander; carefully lift colander out of bowl and switch to another bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool enough to handle. Strain remaining broth through wire mesh (may be refrigerated at this point until ready to continue cooking) and transfer to a soup pot.

For the soup:
Here's where you can really taste the broth and correct seasonings with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add vegetables and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until fork-tender. (Note: you can use frozen vegetables if desired; if that is your plan, don't add them yet!) If you accidentally over-salt the broth, add more water and some low-salt broth to correct.

While the vegetables are simmering, go through the cooled chicken pieces and pick out the meat, discarding any onion pieces, the celery, skin and bones.

Once vegetables are tender, add chicken meat to simmering broth (along with any frozen or precooked vegetables desired).

While you're waiting for the soup to return to a boil, mix up your dumpling batter.

For the dumplings:
Combine baking mix and milk; stir well. Batter will be lumpy.

Spoon over simmering soup, sprinkle generously with seasoning salt and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 20 minutes. Do not peek!

Serve hot.

I think they liked it. When it was served, it got all quiet downstairs. And that's always a good sign.

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