Monday, January 10, 2011
Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and Dumplings
start with a big pan
add 1 quart chicken broth
1 ½ quarts water
raw chicken – I used about 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
bring to boil, and turn down to simmer for about an hour.
(act like you are slaving in the kitchen for this hour, or get another chore done, or just flop on the couch and take it easy.
In about 45 minutes you can get your apples ready to fry if you are going to make fried apples. (See previous blog post for recipe.) If you are just having chicken and dumplings, give yourself another ten minutes. Turn the heat up on the stove to make the chicken soup boil. Then put two or three cups of Bisquick or self rising flour, or some equivalent in a bowl and add milk to make dough sort of similar to biscuits. If you like dumplings 3 cups is a good amount, and if you REALLY like dumplings it might even take four cups. (Or, if you are trying to make a little soup go a long way, then more dumplings will be a good idea.) Then drop by good sized teaspoons into the boiling chicken soup. When all the dumplings are in the pan, turn down heat and simmer for about ten or twenty more minutes. Be careful or it will scorch and you will have to start all over.
This is a very easy meal.
Here are some variations on the dumplings.
You can use a can or two of chicken if you don’t have raw chicken on hand. This where your pantry food will come in handy. If you have a rotisserie chicken from the store, eat half for one meal on Monday and use the rest to make dumplings on Wednesday. You do have to be careful to get all the bones before you add the dumplings. Or, just boil the chicken in chicken stock, and call it chicken soup. Fling in an onion and potato or rice or quinoa if you want a thicker soup. (You can also make a chicken pot pie with half a leftover baked chicken. It is really a cheap meal and quite tasty.)
Now, I know that chicken and dumplings is a really old fashioned dish and practically no one ever eats that anymore. However, dumplings do make a tasty and nutritious meal with very little fuss. They were popular years ago for farm families because chicken was much more readily available than any other meat. Another reason is that in the event that an entire chicken was not eaten, they had to do something with the leftovers. They boiled all the leftover chicken ,with the bones and all, to get all the food value. Then they added the dumplings, and ‘poof’. They had another meal. (Think ‘cartilage repair’ or ‘stop arthritis pain) when boiling bones. Here is a link to a good article on boiling bones. http://www.chiropractic-help.com/Chicken-bones.html )
If you use chicken broth and canned chicken, the ingredients to make this meal can be easily stored in a pantry for a long time. This is a good meal to try out on your family now and see how they like it. If it isn’t a winner the first time, then try it with a slight variation and see if they like it.
Making meals out of stored food just requires a little bit of creativity on the part of the cook.
Recently I was making soup out of a left over roast. When we have a roast, I always freeze the leftovers right after the meal to make soup on Friday nights. Anyway, this time I started with a quart of beef broth. I put it in the iron skillet, and then added a can of tomato paste. I heated that, added some basil, and let it simmer a while because the tomato is supposed to get a little more iron out of the skillet that way. I heard, but can’t prove of course, that cast iron cooking is a good way to help avoid anemia. My entire family seems prone to anemia, so I use iron cookware for almost everything. Anyway, it smelled so good that I had myself a cup. It was quite tasty, and would pass for tomato soup for just about anyone who isn’t addicted to soup out of a can. Besides being tasty, it was gluten free, and free of preservatives or flavor enhancers like MSG. A lot of people could make a meal out of something like that, especially if there were a few crackers to go with it. By the way, WinCo has beef or chicken broth for about $1.50 a quart. That makes it affordable right now. If you watch, it will have a freshness date that is good for a full year. Anyway, the beef broth and tomato paste could be the start of a lot of good recipes. It just requires some creative thinking.
The time to start using food out of your food storage pantry is right now. Of course you need to replace the food you use, but the more you cook with the stored food, the more you know what food to store. If you find you have something stored that no one will eat, what is the point?