Chicken and Dumplings (and Biscuits)
Even though I usually think of this as a good meal on cold and blustery days, it still sounded good for a hot August night. And I know it’s rather redundant to make both biscuits and dumplings but I do it anyway.
Both of these are recipes that I usually don’t measure; just some of this and a bit of that until it looks and tastes right. It’d be hard to go terribly wrong.
First the chicken part:
-Chicken – you can use a whole cut up chicken or whatever parts you like, such as all dark or all white meat.
-Marjoram, Sage and Thyme (Dried work just fine here. I happened to have fresh sage and thyme in the fridge so I used them instead.)
-Fresh Baby Carrots
-Fresh or Frozen Peas
-Chicken Boullion Base
Chop the celery.
Chop the onion.
Heat a large pot over medium to medium-high heat and add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and let it cook for a bit, until it starts to brown. Turn it occasionally.
Add the onion and celery. Cook a few minutes, stirring now and then, until the vegetables start to soften. Add water until the chicken is just about covered, bring to a low boil and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, maybe 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken to a large bowl or platter and let it cool.
Meanwhile, add the carrots and peas. I used maybe a cup of carrots and half a bag of frozen peas. Also add the herbs, maybe a teaspoon or two of each, along with a couple of teaspoons of chicken base.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and pull the meat off the bones. Get rid of any gristly, fatty junk too.
Throw the meat back in the pot as you go.
Let it simmer for a bit while you move on to dumplings.
We wanted leftover biscuits so I made a bunch of dough. It’s easy enough to cut this back.
-6 cups all-purpose flour
-3 tablespoons baking powder
-2 teaspoons salt
-1 cup shortening
-2 1/2 cups milk
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
An easy way to measure shortening: fill a glass measuring cup with water to the one cup mark, scoop up a forkful of shortening and plop it in the cup and the water should rise to about the 1 1/3 cup mark. It’ll be close enough anyway.
Using a pastry blender or fork, cut in the shortening.
Until it looks mealy, like this.
Add the milk.
Stir just until the dough starts to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Sprinkle a work surface with flour and flour your hands.
Turn the dough out and knead it VERY gently and just a time or two. Don’t overwork it! You want it to stay in flaky layers.
Cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter or a glass. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
Increase the heat and bring the chicken and broth to a nice boil. Be sure there’s enough water or broth to completely cover the chicken and then another inch or two.
Gather up the remaining biscuit dough scraps and gently shape them into balls and drop them into the pot. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the lid, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.
Take the biscuits off the baking pan as soon as they come out of the oven.
Enjoy with butter and honey.