The simplest of comfort foods

Chicken and Dumplings

I had an aggravating day yesterday and decided I wanted something soothing and delicious for supper.  There was a whole chicken in the fridge, so I took it out, washed it, and threw it in a big pot.  You can do the same.

1 whole chicken, washed and entrails removed
Water to cover
10 peppercorns
2-3 stalks of celery (I keep them in the freezer, cut up, for just this sort of moment)
1 medium red onion
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
2 tsp of thyme
1 tsp sage
2 tsp kosher salt

Put everything into a big pot and heat to boiling, then cover pot and turn the heat down to medium low. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for three or four hours. You might need to add water several times.

When it is time to make the dumplings, take the chicken out of the liquid and set it aside for a moment.  Strain the broth to remove most of the big pieces of vegetables and peppercorns, then put it back in the pot and heat to a gentle simmer.  Take the chicken off the bones and put the meat in the broth. Let simmer.

Make the dumplings. This is not a difficult process at all, so don’t–as I once did–let it intimidate you.  Dumplings are just biscuits. It’s the broth that makes them taste so good.

2 cups white flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs softened butter
1 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients, then cut in butter.  Add milk, stirring only until a soft dough forms.  Drop by the tablespoonful into the simmering broth, cover and let steam for 10 minutes.  Take one dumpling out and test it by cutting it open–it should be as fluffy as a biscuit inside. If not, let steam a little longer.

Serve in soup bowls.  Could probably cure almost anything.

February 17, 2011

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