We were all set for a long weekend visiting family in Tennessee and Georgia when my Traveling husband came down with the current misery being passed around airports, offices, and shopping malls. Germs - yuck. Since we were not going out of town for 4 days, I found myself with a little extra time in the kitchen. I had been thinking about the chicken noodle soup I made a while back and decided my husband really needed something warming, delicious and healing. Chicken soup has magical powers - or so they say.
I've made homemade noodles many times but decided to make dumplings instead. Very, very good decision, excellent choice! This dish is simple to make with a rich flavor you won't soon forget. All you need for the dumplings is flour, baking powder, salt, milk and butter.
Roll out the dumpling dough and cut them into something close to 2x2 inch squares using a pizza cutter. There is no need to fuss over the size or shape of dumplings, the variety is nice. I also made my own chicken stock and include the directions below. I think fresh homemade broth sends this dish into the exceptional range and chicken stock is so easy to make! This recipe is great for someone who needs to limit their sodium intake. I believe this dish is much happier with some salt, but check the broth and chicken before adding too much extra.
So if you know someone under the weather or just need a great bowl of chicken and dumplings, keep this recipe handy.
Chicken and Dumplings - from scratch
(adapted from a recipe by Tiffany @ Eat At Home)
For the chicken and chicken stock:
1 whole chicken cut-up (you can usually find a package with 2 breasts, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks)
6 quarts water (or enough to cover the chicken and vegetables)
4 large carrots cut up (or 10 baby carrots)
4 stalks of celery, green tops included, cut into fourths
1 large onion, quartered
For the dumplings:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk (slightly less than 1 cup but more than 3/4 cup)
8-9 cups chicken broth or stock
4 cups cooked chicken
For the stock: Chicken stock can be made the night before. In a large stock pot add the chicken, vegetables and enough water to cover by a few inches. Heat on medium and bring to a low boil. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and cook until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender. Carefully remove the chicken pieces and cool. Remove the skin and bones and discard. Pull the chicken meat apart into large pieces. Store the chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. Discard the vegetables and strain the broth into a large container. Refrigerate overnight or until ready to make the dumplings. If you chill the stock overnight all the fat will come to the top and can be easily removed and discarded using a spoon. Set aside 2 quarts of broth for the recipe and freeze the remaining stock in zip lock bags in 2 or 3 cup portions. Label each freezer bag and freeze laying flat if possible.
For the dumplings: Put 2 quarts of chicken broth in a large dutch oven or saucepan. Heat on low until you finish making the dumplings. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or fork until it is the size of small peas.
Add the milk and mix until well blended and a dough ball forms. Flour your work surface heavily. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Keep adding additional flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking on the work surface or rolling pin. Cut the dumplings into square pieces about 2x2 inches.
Place each dumpling on a floured plate. Sprinkle more flour as needed in between the layers to prevent sticking. Turn the heat up under the stock and bring it to a boil. Add the dumplings, one at a time, stirring continuously to prevent them from sticking to each other. All the extra flour will help thicken the broth so don't worry about shaking it off. Cook the dumplings for about 20 minutes or until they are no longer doughy. Add the cooked chicken to the broth and heat until thickened. Check the seasonings and add freshly ground pepper and salt as needed.
Serve and enjoy!
Our daughter and grandson stopped by the house just when I was making the dumplings. She stayed and ate dinner with us and loved it. She asked about putting vegetables in the broth. I think it would be fine to add carrots or whatever vegetables you want to the dish. I told her the broth was made with vegetables as well and that is one of the reasons it tastes so rich. There's no wrong way to make this so give it a try! It would be pretty with small diced carrots to add color and a little crunch too.
We're almost to the middle of the month and Christmas is around the corner. I hope you're having fun, and almost ready with gifts bought and wrapped and under the tree. Do you still do Christmas cards? We used to get more than a hundred but now only receive a few. Email, Facebook, blogs and other social media has really changed the way we keep in touch.
But please keep in touch with me! I love comments and can't wait to see what you are all cooking up this week. Thanks so much for stopping by!