Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

This is childhood-memories, warm-your-soul, polar-vortex kind of food, people!

Start with a cut up whole chicken. Or just some bone-in cuts of chicken. Put it into a big pot. 

Like, the biggest pot you have. 

This time I am trying it with my pasta pot that has a strainer pot that nests inside of it. I thought that would be helpful to get the chicken and veggies out later. 


Fill up the pot with water to just at the top of the chicken, or just under the top of the pot, whichever comes first. 

If you have room, add some chunks of onion, celery, and carrots. I did not have room, so I'm going to add those after I take the cooked chicken out. 



One good thing about not putting the veggies in yet is that you will end up with plain, poached chicken that could be used for other recipes. 

Bring the chicken to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for as long as you can, but at least 45 minutes to an hour or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Once the chicken is done, remove from the water and let it sit until it's cool enough to separate the meat from the bones, skin, and cartilage. 



If you are using dark meat like I did, you may want to skim some of the fat off the top of the broth. It will look oily on the top. It's up to you - the dark meat definitely adds more flavor, and it is also cheaper than all-white meat. I just used a coffee mug and scooped some off the surface.



Now you can put your chunks of veggies and a bay leaf and a teaspoon or so of whole peppercorns into the pot of chicken water and bring that back up to a boil. Be sure to reserve some veggies to chop and add later - the chunks are just for flavoring the broth. Reduce heat and simmer away, I'd say for maybe another hour? You could always do it shorter and I'm sure it would still turn out fine if you don't have as much time.


Strain the veggies out of the broth and discard.


Using the pasta strainer worked like a charm - only a few peppercorns escaped through the holes! I just fished them out with a spoon. Do it quick! I thought they would float, but they sink to the bottom. This is a good time to taste the broth and see how much salt you need to add. Mine needed quite a bit, probably a tablespoon or a bit more. Of course, I didn't measure. :) Just add cautiously; you can always add more later.



Chop your remaining veggies into small, bite sized pieces (the husband and I like them very small in soups - its up to you what size you'd like them to be). Put them into the broth along with the cooked chicken that's been shredded into bite-size bits.


It yielded so much meat! I decided to freeze a little over half of it. I put it in a freezer bag and rolled it into a log.



Now for the drop bisquick dumplings! All you need is bisquick mix and milk. I actually found a recipe for chicken and dumplings on the back of my box! A much faster version, and not from scratch. But I did use it for my guideline for the ratio of bisquick to milk.

Use 2 cups of bisquick and mix it with 2/3 cup of milk and stir together. It will seem a tad dry and be hard to stir. I chose to add some dry parsley to the mix.


Once your chicken broth, chopped veggies, and shredded chicken have reached a boil, drop the bisquick mixture in, a spoonful at a time. Once you have gotten all the dumplings in the soup, then you can reduce the heat to a simmer.

It looks like little cauliflower clouds on the surface!


Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, and then another 10 minutes with the lid on.

And then...it's time to eat!


It was delicious, and just how I remember my momma making it!



Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Serves: a lot.

Ingredients

whole chicken, cut into pieces or bone in chicken breasts
water
celery
carrots
1 onion
bay leaf
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 cups of bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons dry parsley
salt

Put chicken pieces, the chopped chunks of veggies, bay leaf, and peppercorns into a large pot and just barely cover with water.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, until chicken is cooked through and falls off the bone.

Strain out the liquid from the chicken and veggies. Discard the veggies.

Let chicken cool and separate meat from the bones, skin, and cartilage. Add shredded chicken back into the broth.

Finely chop some carrots and celery; add to the pot as well.

Bring to a boil.

Mix the bisquick, milk, and parsley in a small bowl until moistened.

Drop by the spoonful into the boiling broth.

Once all have been added, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Then put the lid on and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve immediately.

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