Mostly about food, this blog is just a place for me to throw things that are of interest to me. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by an look around. This represents just some of the stops on the various pathways that this amateur home cook finds himself.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chicken & Dumplings - Thick, Rich and Simple

There are probably more recipes for chicken & dumplings than anyone can count. Some are very simple, and some are just exhaustive. This recipe is very simple, but it takes a fair amount of time, start to eat, about 3-4 hours. Although simple, it comes out nice and thick and rich.

3 1/2 -4 lbs of chicken, either one whole bird or several parts
1 1/2 lbs of white onions, about 3 medium onions
2 oz. (1/2 stick) butter
2 t salt
1 t ground black pepper
1 t garlic powder
1/8 t cayenne pepper
32 oz. chicken stock (I used low-sodium boxed stock)
'whomp' biscuits (more on this later)

In a large dutch over or heavy pot with lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Coarsely chop the onions, and add onions and salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayenne to butter. Stir occasionally until onions are translucent.
Raw fresh chicken almost always needs to be cleaned well before being cooked. There is inevitably a lot of excess fat and skin to remove:After you get it all cleaned up, you can see all the trash you wont have to eat:
If you are using a while bird, you'll find a lot of removable stuff at the rear opening - just cut off all the loose skin and fat, and the tail. You can really see the difference with all the junk removed form your chicken:
Place your whole trimmed bird (or trimmed pieces) in the pot on top of the onions, and add chicken stock. Add water if needed to almost cover chicken.

Cover the pot and let simmer for at least 45 minutes and check chicken for being done. Once done, remove chicken pieces and let cool somewhat on a rack.
Now comes the time-consuming part. Once the chicken pieces are cool enough to handle, get a large pan and start picking. You'll be pulling all the meat off of the chicken with your fingers. This is the best way to get all the pieces - fingers are the best tools. Once you get all the meat together, discard the remaining bones, fat and skin. Now, using your fingers, go through the meat again, shredding it as you go.
This also gives you another chance at catching and pieces of fat, gristle, bone or other junk that sneaked by the first time. You don't want to serve this with little pieces of crap in it. Dump the shredded chicken back into the pot of onions and broth.

"Whomp Biscuits"

Time for the dumplings. There are dozens of ways to make and add dumplings to your dish. They pretty much all involve the same ingredients, and frankly, it's not worth the extra time to me to make the dough, etc. So for this dish, I take an idea from a friend. I get one can of the cheap biscuits from the refrigerated case at the store. I was told they are called 'whomp' biscuits because you whomp them against the counter edge to open them. Good enough for me.

More tedious work ahead. Separate the biscuits and lay them out. Now, take each biscuit and tear it into little pieces, rolling each into a rough ball shape. In the picture below all those little pieces are from one biscuit. You really do need to make these small like this, because they really plump up in once they hit the pot, as you will see below. Toss all of these little balls into the simmering dutch oven, and when done, stir well.
You will notice that no matter what you do, they will stay floating on the top, just floating and mocking you.
Cover the dish again and let them simmer for another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When you can stir the pot and they remain all mixed in, and no longer rising to the surface, they are done. Now it's time to taste and adjust salt & pepper and seasonings as you see fit.
You'll see how thick and rich this turns out, considering the short list of ingredients and simple preparation!
Served up and ready to go...

1 comment:

Etta said...

This was absolutely fantastic.... Thx so much.