RISE AND SHINE KAUT43 OKC
Okay, winter has struck… at least temperature wise. Thankfully here in Oklahoma City, we have dodged the bullet, for the time being, when it comes to ice and snow… but that's not stopping me from hibernating and doing a little in home comfort cooking.
So let’s talk about Chicken And Dumplings. As far as origins go… who knows. So many different cultures develop the same food ideas, with different ingredients, but the idea behind the finished product remains similar. Persians and Jewish people have a dumpling soup along the lines of this dish and Matzo Ball soup seem to be the most recognizable. Then you get into European variations of chicken and noodles, Kreplach, and even Asian variations with meat-filled dumplings in chicken soup.
As far as method and preparing good old “American” chicken and dumplings? Well that varies too. How it varies is what you were raised on, or what and how preparing this dish works best for you in your kitchen.
For me… it starts with the chicken and making a big batch of broth. I like to simmer a whole chicken away in water and aromatic vegetables… namely the famous three, Carrots, Onion, and Celery. Add if some herbs and spice, set on a low slow simmer, and not only do you end up with tender well-cooked chicken for the final dish, but you are left with a rich flavorful broth to finish off the dish and reserve the excess for broth for later uses.
Here is what I do:
Chicken and Broth
4.5-5 pound whole chicken
COLD water enough to cover the chicken about an inch over the top
3 large carrots washed unpeeled and rough chopped
The heart of a stalk of celery including the leaves, chopped
1 large yellow onion, skin and all, rough quartered
1 large clove of garlic with the top cut off, with both halves tossed in the pot
A large bundle of fresh thyme
2 large bay leaves
About a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns
Set on top of your stove and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a light simmer and cook away, covered, for around two hours. After an hour pull the quarteres (thigh-leg/breast-wing) sections away from the bird to 1. check for doneness and tenderness and 2. to expose the bones and cartilage to really fortify your broth. After two hours and the chicken is nice and tender carefully remove the quartered sections from the pot and place in a bowl to cool. It is okay if bone and skin fall away from the meat. Cover the chicken and set aside.
Allow the broth to cool before straining away the solids and reserving the broth into a clean container. Pick out any meat that may have been left behind and Trash the spent solids.
Reserve 7 cups of the broth for the chicken and dumplings. Pour the remaining broth into clean containers to store in the fridge for later use or freeze for soups and stews down the line.
Okay, now it comes time for the dumplings. When it comes to dumplings for this dish there are basically two schools of thought… maybe three if you count biscuits as “dumplings” but lets keep it to two. Large flat dumplings resembling flat noodles, or round pillowy drop-dough dumplings. I come from the drop dough dumplings school so that is what we’re doing with this recipe. Not just any drop dumplings either!
Now the delicious and unapologetically way most folks are raised on drop-dough dumplings are the Bisquick dumplings. Nothing wrong with it.. I was raised on it.. they are delicious. But I like doing a homemade version… a delicious homemade version starting with your very own Bisquick type mix.
HOMEMADE BAKE-MIX use for everything you use Bisquick for
6 cups All-Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 cup butter flavor solid shortening (may use regular solid shortening)
Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. Pour the dry mixture into a large food processor (or do multiple batches if you have a smaller processor ) and blend to a fine coarse blend. Pour into an airtight container and store in the fridge up to four months. Use the mix as you would for all of your favorite Bisquick recipes.
FOR THE DUMPLINGS
3 cups Homemade Bake-mix
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, microplaned
Fresh cracked black pepper, about 1 teaspoon
Combine the Bake-mix, lemon zest, fresh thyme, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the whole milk and stir with a spoon to a sticky batter. With two dinner spoons and using the quenelle method, form round “football” shaped dumplings… or use a small scoop.
Bringing it all home….
SCOTTY’S CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
3 pounds pulled cooked chicken meat
Olive Oil for sautéing
1 1/2 cups large diced carrots
1 1/2 cups large diced onion
1/2 cup large diced celery
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or 2 teaspoons dried
7 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons In The Kitchen With Scotty “Turkey Punch Seasoning” (or salt and pepper to taste )
- In a large cast iron pot or dutch oven begin heating two or three glugs of olive oil. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic and cook until bright and fragrant. Pour in the 7 cups of broth. Add the Turkey Punch Seasoning and marjoram. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes covered.
- Using two dinner spoons, using the quenelle back-and-forth method for a “football” shaped dumpling by rolling the batter between alternating spoons. If that is as confusing as reading that last sentence then just “drop “ spoonfuls of batter into the chicken stew. You want golf ball size… balls. Drop as many dumpling as you can fit comfortably on top of the chicken stew. Cover the pot and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes on a low simmer.
- When the dumplings are cooked and the vegetables are tender, remove the chicken and dumplings from the heat. Serve family style or dish out individually into bowls.