Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

So with the weather being as dreadful as it has been the last few days, I keep thinking about how good chicken and dumplings would be. It would make the house smell all chicken soup-y and would be warm and satisfying. So here's my short-cut version.

I am not planning on making my own stock, or cooking this for a long time, so my plan is to add flavor at every possible moment. To that end, I am going to roast a couple of chicken breasts. I chop some parsley, sage, oregano and garlic and zest a lemon.

I find the easiest way to chop herbs is to roll them up in a tight little package and then chop.

So I mix all the herbs together, add a little habenero, some salt & pepper and some olive oil. There was some left over green onion from the other day so I threw that in as well.

Loosen the chicken skin and tuck a good portion of the herb mixture underneath. Then coat the outside with some of the mixture as well. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the juices run clear.

While the chicken is roasting, chop a couple of celery stalks (I like the ones with the leaves on them), a couple of carrots, and a medium onion.

Chicken looks done. Pull it out of the oven and allow it to cool for a moment. Get started on the broth.

I grab a large pan and saute the celery, onions, and carrots with some butter and olive oil. I add some garlic, salt & pepper, a lil bit of habenero, and a bay leaf. While that cooks, I pull some chicken.

I wear rubber gloves when I pull chicken because I cannot stand chicken grease on my hands. This is the meat off of one breast. That's actually enough, so I wrap up the other and refrigerate it for tomorrow. I like a nice balance of meat to vegetables and don't want to overwhelm it with pieces of chicken everywhere.

When the onion turns translucent, add a couple tablespoons of flour and cook for a few minutes.

Whisk in 4 cups of broth and the chicken juices that were in the bottom of the roasting pan. (I also put a little stock in the bottom of the roasting pan and scrape up the crunchy bits to get all the chicken-y goodness out.)

Add the shredded chicken. Taste. Adjust seasonings. I added a little bit more sage and pepper. Now for the dumpling dough. I used a cut down version of a Tyler Florence recipe which was 1 cup of flour, 1/2 tbs baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg, and 1 cup of buttermilk.

Add dumpling batter one tablespoon at a time (use 2 spoons to slide it into the broth). Don't overcrowd them, cause they grow. Poach the dumplings for another 10 minutes or so, turning them gently every once in a while.

Bowl it up, and garnish with more parsley and pepper.

I'm not trying to say that I am all great of anything, but this chicken and dumplings really hit the spot yesterday. Quite awesome. Really rich and flavorful and I wasn't tied to the stove all day tending to it.


  1. Looks great! A quick hint: if you make a large pot of stock (I make a roast chicken dinner and then go for stock), you can put it in the snack size ziploc bags and freeze. They hold almost a perfect cup. That way, you always have low-sodium, no preservative stock on hand!

    You are reminding me how much I miss having my own kitchen! Just a couple more months...

  2. I forgot about the snack size ziplocs. Great idea because they would freeze flat too.

  3. Yeah, they freeze flat and are so handy. You don't have to thaw them to use them, either. When they're frozen, you just peal the bag off and drop it in the pan. I will also chuck all my chicken bones in a bag and throw them in the freezer until I have time to make stock. Sometimes I make stock just so the house will smell like it. I do it the old fashioned way with a mirepoix and a bouquet garnis. Oh, also, even if I am using already cooked chicken bones, I roast them in the oven before to caramelize them a bit. It makes the stock so much better!

    Once I am in my kitchen, I am going to start taking pics and documenting some of my recipes. You've inspired me (not to blog them though).

  4. Sometimes I make chicken stock just so the house will smell like it too! That is too funny.