Well, the weather is getting cold here in Suwanee, Ga. and the first thing my husband said to me yesterday was, ” You know what would be good…. The Dumpling Thing, you know….. with the Dumplings”….. Bob is a very intelligent man when it comes to anything but cooking. He can’t boil water. And he happens to have become very spoiled over the years, to the point that when I leave town to visit my family in Cali., he misses my cooking more than anything, yes you heard me right, my husband loves me for my pots and pans, not! Who could blame him, I wait on him hand and foot, and we rarely eat out, a) because it’s expensive, b) as he says “Nobody’s food is as good as what you make at home.” The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? You tell me.
When I do visit my family in Cali. I get spoiled rotten and taken to awesome restaurants, from (The Green Rosins) in LA, to (The Delfino Greens) in San Rafeal, it’s always such a delite to see them, and catch a break, but am always happy to get back home to my funky old farm house, and feel the love. I’m talking about the smell of good food cooking, and the clang of pots and pans…..what were you thinking?
I’ve worked in the restaurant biz my entire adult life, at 16 yrs old I lived and worked at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, I had a funky cabin on the property, called “The Creek House” it was my first “real job”, meaning, I was finally old enough to be on the books, I bussed tables in the mornings, cleaned rooms in the afternoon, and prep/line cooked in the afternoon/evening, with another one of my favorite Chefs, Stephen House, a brilliant man, who taught me such basics, as how to really run a kitchen, what can be made/prepped ahead of time, and how much of something to make, along with many other secrets, which I use to this day. He would love that I’m doing this blog, although, he would probably use ALL butter. I make this recipe very healthy, by using skinless boneless breast meat, and Olive Oil, with just enough butter, to give a silky texture to the broth. Whatever type of chicken you prefer, is what you should use in any recipe, it all works, bone in, just takes a little longer to cook, but the exact same method is used. The Dumplings are very important, I’t may take you a time or two to make them perfect, you’ll learn to adjust the ingredients to make them the way YOU like them, my preference, is a little denser than fluffy, for instance. So I give the batter a few extra strokes to get the gluten in the flour a little fired up, giving me a denser dumpling (do not over beat, you will end up with very heavy dumplings, less beating = fluffier) These things take years to learn, and thats why I’m here, to teach the wonderful tricks I’ve learned over the last 30 years. So if you start following the blog, and have questions, feel free to ask.
My father Morty, one of the most brilliant people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, always said “The only stupid question, is the one you don’t ask.” How right he was!
3 to 4 lbs Tyson chicken parts (smaller pieces work best, if using bone in, separate legs and thighs and cut breasts in half) I use 1 1/2 inch pieces of boneless skinless breast meat, sprinkle the chicken with salt and white pepper
In a heavy bottomed large pot put 1/4 cup light Bertolli Olive Oil and 1 TBLS. unsalted Land’O’Lakes butter
Place as many pieces of chicken as will fit comfortably (and not on top of each other) turn once, about 3 or 4 mins on each side, till evenly golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate, and repeat, until all chicken is done.
Add to the oil left in the pan, (if you think you need more oil, don’t be shy, but don’t over do, if you use “skin on” you may need to take some out, you should have what you started with, about a 1/4 cup )
1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
cook over med. heat, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, about 5 min
add 1/3 cup White Lily All Purpose Flour, cook stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 min, reduce heat to low and add 3 cups Swanson Chicken Broth“stock in a box”, canned, or boullion cubes dissolved in hot water, or homemade stock if you have the time, whisking constantly over med high heat, bring to boil. Add:
4 med lg. Carrots, chopped
4 med lg. Celery, chopped
8 oz. sliced Mushrooms
1 cup of frozen peas
3 cloves garlic pressed
1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
Salt and White Pepper to taste (this still means TASTE IT!) Depending on what you use as your liquid, some broth, stock and boullion can be saltier than others.
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Return the chicken to the pan with any juices on the plate. (When using Dark meat w/ skin, add 10 min cooking time, and skim any fat that comes to the surface.)
Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer for 15 min. stirring occasionally, make sure the heat is low, so you don’t scorch at this point. Beware or be-aware, flour will scorch easily, and needs to be watched closely. If it’s getting to thick add a little water or stock. Stir.
While this is simmering make Dumplings:
1 cup White Lily All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder*
1/2 tsp. Morton salt
Break into a 1 cup measuring cup, 1 egg, and fill to 1/2 cup w/ milk
beat well and pour slowly into flour mixture the batter should be stiff, don’t over beat.
1/4 cup finely chopped chives, herbs, parsley, fresh garlic, grated onion or what ever floats your boat!!
add a little more milk if necessary, but the batter needs to be stiff to work properly and give you perfect results.
Meanwhile back at the pot, give a good stir and push everything down in the liquid, to more easily drop the dumplings, dip the spoon in hot liquid in pot, or a cup of hot water, and drop by teaspoonfuls, until all the batter is gone, and the dumplings are just barely touching. Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on low, for 10 more minutes, do not lift lid. Serve immediately. Enjoy!!!
*In case anyone is wondering, I am using certain brand names, to try to get one of these companies to notice me, fall madly in love with my recipes, and give me some ads for my blog, however these are really the brands I use, so why not give them a plug, right?
© Jennifer Green Alger 2009