Chicken and Dumplings

So, we talked about cooking a whole chicken, but now what do you do with it?  Now we turn it into chicken and dumplings and devour it like starving wolves.

This recipe can take some time and effort, but it’s cheap.  Like $10-$15, depending on sales and your supply of staples.  It’s also delicious and easy to transport — just put it in some sort of dish with a lid and go. Microwave it when you arrive at your destination and it’s ready to eat, no crackers or condiments needed. (Except for more black pepper, of course.)

Ingredients (Stew)
  • 1/2 stick (4 T) butter
  • 2 medium sized leeks
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots or parsnips
  • 6 tablespoon AP flour
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or half and half
  • 1-2 pounds chicken, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (You could also use a tablespoon of fresh rosemary, but you’ll have to chop it finely — whole rosemary can become a bit slimy when cooked.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch tumeric  (Optional, but encouraged.)
  • 1 dash nutmeg (A dash is smaller than a pinch…so sayeth science.)  (Optional, but encouraged.)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Chop vegetables.  Carrots can be grated on a box grater.   With leeks, you want to cut off the rooty bit at the bottom, cut the white part in half lenthwise, and then cut into quarter-inch pieces.  Discard the green top.
  2. Melt butter and saute leeks, onion, and carrots over medium-high heat.  Cook until soft, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the flour, then the sherry.
  4. Stir in the chicken broth, scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the milk, chicken, peas, garlic, and spices.
  6. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, ignoring while you prepare the dumplings.
Ingredients (Dumplings)
  • 1 cup whole milk or half and half
  • 3 tablespoons leftover chicken fat or bacon grease (You can substitute butter if you don’t have any lard.  Reduce salt by half if using salted butter.)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Heat lard and milk until warm, not hot.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Do not over-stir.  (Pouring the wet ingredients into the dry will prevent all of the bubbles from the baking powder from escaping — you want them in the biscuits.)
  4. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  This lets the baking powder react fully, ensuring light, fluffy dumplings.
  5. Spoon the biscuit dough into the stew in golf ball sized portions.
  6. Cover the stew and reduce the heat to low.  Let the stew simmer until dumplings have doubled in size, about another 15-20 minutes.
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