Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sunny Anderson: Chicken and Dumplings

Yes, I am a week behind, and I was really and truly going to get a recipe from the other guy cooked, and I hope to this week……  But, in the meantime here’s what I did for last week that didn’t get posted.  It’s amazing how much a wedding and visiting family can throw you off your game.

 

And as a quick side note, she also hosts the only show we actually watch on Food Network, How’d That Get on My Plate?  I love that show, it’ll follow some simple ingredient, like wheat, and show how it goes from the field to the factory.  Fascinating, as Mr. Spock would say.

 

In case you couldn’t tell from the multiple Chicken and Dumplin’ recipes I’ve tried, I’m on a quest to find the prefect one.  And, I think with a little bit of combining I might have.

So, here goes.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped (or a couple of spoonfuls of the pre-chopped stuff)
  • 1 whole (5 to 6-pound) chicken, skin on, cut into 8 pieces, including neck
  • 6 cups water (I used 4 chicken breasts, and had more than enough meat)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 5 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves (dried, I was short on time and didn’t want to pick some that day)
  • Small bunch parsley stems, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves (dried, parsley doesn’t grow for me, you know what is growing like crazy?  mint, it’s taken over my flower garden, but I can’t bring myself to pull it because the leaves are so pretty.)
  • 2 fresh sage sprigs, plus 1 tablespoon chopped leaves (I used rubbed sage, about a teaspoonful)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 stalk celery, trimmed and halved crosswise (left out)
  • 2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus
  • 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • Special equipment: Kitchen twine
  • I could have sworn I added in poultry seasoning somewhere.

Directions

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, melt 1/4 cup butter and lightly saute the onions and garlic, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken, water, and stock, making sure liquid covers meat, and then add a little extra for lots of broth. Tie the thyme sprigs, parsley stems, and sage sprigs together and add to the pot along with the peppercorns, and celery.  I guess I could have tied them, but I just threw a handful or two into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken until it is "fall of the bone" tender, about 30 minutes, skimming off scum as it simmers. Remove the chicken from the pot to a cutting board and let cool. Remove the herb bundle and the celery and discard. Reserve the stock. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull it from bones and cut into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups of flour with the remaining chopped herbs and the tablespoon of salt. Make a well in the middle and pour 1 cup of the reserved chicken stock, including fat, into the well. Using a fork, slowly stir the stock into the flour. Repeat, adding more flour and/or stock until a soft, doughy consistency is reached. Add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if it gets too sticky. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to slice the dough into 2-inch squares, then cut the squares in half on the diagonal into triangles. Again, I just dropped in blobs.

Return the stock to a simmer and slowly add the dumplings, allowing some excess flour to remain on the dumplings to increase the body of the broth. Be careful not to let the dumplings touch as they are added to the pot. Cook until the dumplings rise to the surface. If the broth does not thicken to your liking, mix together 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl with a fork. Slowly add the mixture into the broth to help thicken the soup. Stir in the reserved chicken and ladle into serving bowls.  I didn’t add all of the dumplings in, it made a lot of dumplings it seemed like, more than other recipes.

RESULTS:  I really liked the flavor of the broth, this seemed like it had the most body of the different ones I’ve tried.  I think the dumplings were okay.  I like one of the other recipes better where I added shortening to it, these dumplings.  So, I think if I combine these two recipes I have my “perfect chicken and dumplings” recipe.

Hopefully next week I’ll have two recipes to post, but this past week has been CRAZY!  My family leaves town on Friday, but then we go up to visit Jeff’s family for his Mom’s birthday, and I really better get on it finding her a present.  And don’t forget to visit I Thank My Mother for more great recipes, and everyone else will probably actually have the correct chef for the week.

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