Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chicken and Herb Drop Dumplings

It has been ugly, cold, and rainy in NYC…ugh.  As much as I dislike the weather during this time of year, the food seems to make all of those feelings go away.  I guess that’s why they call it comfort food, right?  Well, supposedly my mom makes a MEAN chicken & dumplings.  I wouldn’t know because, for some reason, I’ve never had it (no hard feelings mom!).  However, after some recipe research and a half hour lesson on her recipe over the phone, I think I found a way to make it my own.

My mom makes more of a Southern chicken & dumplings but she grew up on drop dumplings.  Southern dumplings are rolled out, cut into strips, and dropped into the boiling soup.  They tend to be more “doughy” and dense.  Drop dumplings are easier because you don’t have to roll them out, and fluffy because you drop them onto the soup and they cook on top.  I may try the Southern recipe one day but honestly, I don’t see a reason after making this.  I couldn’t get enough of these dumplings.  They were fluffy on the inside and creamy on the outside.  The addition of herbs gave them just a little hint of something extra.  I must say, for my first time making chicken & dumplings, I knocked it out of the park! 

Chicken and Herb Drop Dumplings

Stock Ingredients:
8c water
1 small bunch of sage
1 small bunch of thyme
1 small bunch of rosemary
1 rotisserie chicken carcass, chicken reserved
2 bay leaves  
1 small onion, quartered
2 large celery stalks, halved
1 large carrot, quartered
3 whole garlic cloves
1 ½ tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper

Soup Ingredients:
Stock (from above)
1 rotisserie chicken, torn into pieces (carcass used in stock)
2 carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
½ large onion, chopped
3/4 c frozen peas
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

Dumpling Ingredients:
2c baking mix
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2/3 c reserved stock (from above)
Milk (if necessary)

Using your hands, tear chicken off bone and into small pieces.  Set aside.  Once all chicken is removed, place remaining carcass in a stockpot.  Fill stockpot with ~6c water or up to desired level.  Add remaining stock ingredients to pot.  Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes.  Once finished, add more water if necessary and return to boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Strain stock and return liquid to pot.  Discard carcass and all remaining strained ingredients.

Note: If you want to shorten time and don’t want to make your own stock, you can use store-bought stock.

Heat stock to medium-high heat.  Add torn chicken and remaining soup ingredients to the pot.  Bring to a boil.  While soup is heating, combine baking mix, baking powder, and salt.  Sift flour mixture into a mixing bowl.  Add Italian seasoning and stir until well-mixed.  Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add reserved stock to the center.  Stir dough until evenly wetted.  If mixture is too dry, add a little milk to ensure the proper consistency.  Do not over-mix. 

Tip: Sifting the dry mixture makes the dumplings lighter.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto boiling soup mixture.  Soup should be well covered but not too much where the dumplings stick together.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 mins uncovered.  Cover and cook another 10 mins.  Serve hot.

Rotisserie chickens can be used for a multitude of recipes that call for shredded chicken and is great for soups, enchiladas, sandwiches, etc.  We seem to always have one stashed away in the fridge.  I intend to make homemade stock every time I buy a rotisserie chicken.  It’s just too easy and too good not to!

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