Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

(Servings: 6-8)


5-7 lb. Roasting chicken, rinsed inside and out
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, quartered
1 celery stalk, quartered
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (optional)

for dumplings:

3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried savory (not ground)
1-1/3 cups milk
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil (corn or canola)


Early in the day: In a large 7-8 quart pot, place chicken and vegetables. Cover with cold water, adding just enough water to cover, or almost cover, the chicken (about 8-10 cups, depending on size on chicken). Add the 2 tsp. salt (you can adjust later, to taste). Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 3 hours. Remove from heat.

Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot (the chicken should be very tender at this point and most will fall from the bones). Carefully remove the chicken meat (breast, thigh, drumstick and wing) from the bones, discarding the bones. Set aside.

Pour the broth from the pot into another pot that has a colander or strainer set in it to remove any small bones. Then remove the colander or strainer, discarding the contents, as necessary. Pour the strained broth back into the original pot. Bring back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Using 2 forks, or a fork and a knife, pull the chicken apart, breaking into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back to the simmering broth. You can also add back some of the cooked carrot bits, chopped, and/or some fresh or frozen peas at this point. Also adjust the salt to taste, if needed now.

Make the dumplings:

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and dried savory. In a measuring cup, combine milk with vegetable oil; slowly stir into flour mixture, stirring as little as possible, just until a soft dough is formed.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto the chicken meat and simmering broth. There is a lot of dough and the top of the pan will be covered with tablespoons of dough.

Cook dumplings 10 minutes, uncovered; then cover and cook 10 minutes longer. I usually separate the dumplings a little at this point, very gently, so that the broth will thicken a bit and the dumplings will absorb more of the liquid. Cover and cook 5 more minutes or so, until the dumplings are thoroughly cooked, and the broth is somewhat thickened.

Dumplings can be served with a slotted spoon and then the chicken and thickened broth ladled over the dumplings. Serve in a bowl and spoon as it can be somewhat soupy.