Friday, November 5, 2010
Chicken and Dumplings
So I have to tell you, I have not been inspired in the kitchen this week. Not at all. Nothing sounded great, nothing tasted exceptional, and there were no fall-inspired baked goods to be seen. What could cause such a case of the culinary blahs? I’ll give you one guess… and it has something to do with expanding waistlines. (More mine than Stan’s.)
If you guessed I’m on a diet, you’d be mostly right. I like to call it an exercise in portion control – it’s less depressing. But don’t worry, I have plenty of delicious recipes coming your way, healthy and sinfully not. Some of them are recipes I’ve been itching to tell you about for a while now. Others are ones I’ve been lining up for test runs in the kitchen. Either way, you don’t need to worry. My waistline issues need not have any effect on your culinary adventures. And let’s be honest, I don’t see this being a long-term self-improvement project. There’s a whole lot of holiday baking on the horizon, after all. (Please do not make judgments about my willpower. Or lack thereof. Thank you.)
Personal sharing aside, I do, in fact, have a new recipe to share with you today. And it is wond-der-ful. When I took my first bite, I’m pretty sure I said something like, “holy crap, this is good”. (Embarrassing, but true.) Let me tell you friends, you must try this version of chicken and dumplings. Imagine a rich chicken broth, full of poached chicken and veggies, and topped with light, biscuit-like dumplings. It is warm, hearty, and pretty much perfect for chilly fall evenings. I am certain you will enjoy it as much as we did.
One Year Ago: Panko Crusted Glazed Salmon; Israeli Couscous with Roasted Tomatoes and Olives
Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from My Kitchen Café
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 T. olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. table salt (or 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup frozen peas
For the Dumplings:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat is fine)
1/2 cup milk
1 T. vegetable or canola oil
Place the chicken broth, water, and chicken breasts in a large pot or Dutch oven. Bring the liquid to a boil, and boil until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and shred it with two forks. Set the chicken aside and keep the broth warm on the stove.
While the chicken is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, and onion, and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Once the chicken has been removed from the broth, add the cooked vegetables to the broth, along with the salt, thyme, and black pepper. Stir to combine, and bring the broth to a simmer.
In a small bowl, stir together the cold water and the flour. Slowly pour the flour mixture into the hot broth and vegetables, whisking constantly until well combined.
Add the peas and the reserved chicken to the pot, and stir for 1 minute.
To make the dumplings, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and thyme in a medium bowl. In another bowl, stir together the sour cream, milk, and vegetable oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. (It’s okay if there are a few dry spots of flour remaining.)
Heat the soup to boiling and drop teaspoons of the dumpling dough on top of the soup in a single layer. (The dumplings will expand quite a bit as they cook.) Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let the dumplings cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. (Do not lift the lid during the cooking time.)
When they are done, stir the soup gently to break up the dumplings.
Makes 4 large servings or 6 moderate servings.