Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Surprised to see a hearty, warm you to the tips of your toes soup in July? It isn't very strange when you consider that we have had a fairly cold summer and I've had it on my menu since late spring and have just now gotten around to making it. Bite-sized chunks of chicken, doughy dumplings, and thick, salty gravy. Yum!

I thought this was going to be a lot harder than it was and easier is always a nice surprise. While the chicken and veggies were simmering, it was quick enough to mix up the dough for the dumplings. Add the soup to make a gravy base, drop the dumplings in, let cook for a few minutes, and then dish up and eat. It really can't get much easier than that. Enjoy!

Chicken and Dumplings
Source: Slightly adapted from Food Network - Paula Deen

Chicken Stew:
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 8 pieces
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Ice water

Prepare House Seasoning in a small bowl. Place the chicken, celery, onion, bay leaves, bouillon, and House Seasoning in a large pot. Add 2 quarts of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the chicken until it is tender and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken from the pot, cool slightly, and tear/cut into bite size pieces. Return the chicken meat to the pot. Keep warm over low heat.

Mix the flour with the salt and mound together in a mixing bowl. Beginning at the center of the mound, drizzle a small amount of ice water over the flour. Using your fingers, and moving from the center to the sides of the bowl, gradually incorporate about 3/4 cup of ice water. Knead the dough and form it into ball.
Dust a good amount of flour onto a clean work surface. Roll out the dough (it will be firm), working from center to 1/8-inch thick. Let the dough relax for several minutes.

Add the cream of chicken soup to the pot with the chicken and simmer gently over medium-low heat.
Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Pull a piece in half and drop the halves into the simmering soup. Repeat. Do not stir the chicken once the dumplings have been added. Gently move the pot in a circular motion so the dumplings become submerged and cook evenly. Cook until the dumplings float and are no longer doughy, 3 to 4 minutes.

To serve, ladle chicken, gravy, and dumplings into warm bowls.

Note: If the chicken stew is too thin it can be thickened before the dumplings are added. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water then whisk this mixture into the stew.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.