As I sat down to write this post today, I realized that it’s been two weeks since my last post. I really didn’t intend to be absent from my blog-posting duties for so long, but packing up and moving to another state really is a long, hard chore. I am still not completely unpacked, and find myself sitting here amongst a formidable pile of boxes. I don’t even have my desk set up to write (because the storage cubes have yet to be delivered), so I have a little makeshift work area set up on our blow-up mattress in my living room. I’m making progress, though – the new fridge is coming today, and, hopefully, the rest of our stuff will arrive before the weekend.
Amidst all of the chaos of packing, moving, and unpacking, we still need to eat. For five days now, we’ve been eating packaged foods that I can just add water to and heat up (with a couple of pizzas and take-out meals throw in). This is definitely not our habit, and is strictly out of necessity (since we’ve been minus a refrigerator). We’ve actually been storing our cold drinks out on the porch, though the cold drinks are more like lukewarm, since it’s not really been terribly cold in this part of coastal South this past week.
One thing I can say for sure is, the lack of fresh, homemade food definitely takes its toll after a few days, and I’ve been left me feeling a little less than healthy and energetic. So, since the refrigerator is coming this afternoon, I have decided to celebrate by making a big pot of chicken and dumplings – enough that I can stash the leftovers in the fridge for lunch tomorrow. I really love the wonders of modern refrigeration!
This recipe is so easy and comforting. It’s just a matter of stewing a whole chicken, then whipping up a batch of these light-as-a-feather dumplings. This dumpling recipe is one I have been using for a few years now. It comes from the book “The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery”, a companion to the famed Foxfire series of books (if you enjoy history, folklore, and DIY, you need to read this series!) The dumplings in this book are so just light and tender – like little clouds of goodness floating in a hearty chicken soup. They get softer as they sit in the broth, so you'll want to get this on the table right away.
For the Stew
1 whole chicken
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or your favorite dried herbs)
1 tablespoons chicken base, or 3 cubes chicken bouillon
2 carrots, diced
¼ cup flour
Salt and pepper
For the Dumplings
¾ cup sifted flour (sift first, then measure)
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup of milk
1. Place the chicken in a large pot, and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaf, and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Allow the chicken to simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours. You want to the chicken to be tender, and easily pulled off the bone. Skim off the foam occasionally while simmering.
2. Remove the whole chicken from the broth, and set aside. Use a spoon or a strainer to clarify the broth a bit (doesn’t have to be completely clear). Make sure there are no pieces of bone in the broth. Add the carrots, bouillon, and poultry seasoning, and return to a simmer. Cook the carrots until they are almost tender.
3. While the carrots are cooking, remove the chicken meat from the bones, shred into bite-size pieces, and set the meat aside. Taste the broth at this point, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. When the carrots are almost done (slightly under-cooked), make a slurry to slightly thicken the broth: stir the flour together with a cup of the hot broth until it is smooth and lump-free, then slowly stir the slurry back into the pot. Return the meat to the pot. Return to a simmer.
5. Prepare the dumpling batter by whisking the dry ingredients together, then stirring in the milk and egg. Drop heaping teaspoons of the batter into the simmering soup. Let the dumplings float to the top, and do not stir. Cover with a lid, and allow them to cook for 15 minutes. To have the lightest possible dumplings, don’t remove the lid while they are cooking.
6. Serve piping hot in bowls.
Visit thse sites for more great recipes:
Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook