Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Chicken and Dumplings Wednesday!

Can you believe how cold it is right now? It is seriously 40 degrees! What the heck happened to my wonderful sweater perfect fall weather?? yuck!

With Justin working night shift over the past week and a half, I have spent very little time cooking. It's just not as fulfilling to spend hours in the kitchen to have nobody to share it with,(even if you have new appliances to cook with).

But yesterday when I got the weekly weather report and found out that today was a high of 42 degrees I knew that tonight had to be chicken and dumplins night. I spent the entire evening last night cooking the chicken and making the broth so the process would be a lot quicker tonight when I make it (also catching up with the my new favorite TLC show 18 kids and counting).. But anyway, now I am super excited! Talk about comfort food. I found this recipe online and have tried it a few times and I love it. It's suppose to be a copycat version of Cracker Barrel's Chicken & Dumplings but it's been so long since I have had cracker barrel that I don't know if it actually is. In any case, this is a keeper for me!

Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings
3 quarts water
1 3-4 pound chicken cut up
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 small onion sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and quartered
1 bay leaf
4-6 whole parsley leaves
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice


2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the chicken, 1 teaspoon of salt, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley to the pot. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook the chicken, uncovered, for 2 hours. The liquid will reduce by about one third.

2. When the chicken has cooked, remove it from the pot and set it aside. Strain the stock to remove all the vegetables and floating scum. You only want the stock and the chicken, so toss everything else out.

3. Pour 1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) of the stock back into the pot (keep the leftover stock, if any, for another recipe-it can be frozen). You may also want to use a smaller pot or a large saucepan for this. Add coarsely ground pepper, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the lemon juice, then reheat the stock over medium heat while preparing the dumplings.

4. For dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and milk in a medium bowl. Stir well until smooth, then let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about a 1/2 inch thickness.

5. Cut the dough into 1/2 inch squares and drop each square into the simmering stock. Use all of the dough. The dumplings will first swell and then slowly shrink as they partially dissolve to thicken the stock into a white gravy. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until thick. Stir often.

6. While the stock is thickening, the chicken will have become cool enough to handle. Tear all the meat from the bones and remove the skin. Cut the chicken meat into bite-size or a little bigger than bite-size pieces and drop them into the pot. Discard the skin and bones. Continue to simmer the chicken and dumplings for another 5-10 minutes, but don't stir too vigorously or the chicken will shred and fall apart. You want big chunks of chicken in the end.

7. When the gravy has reached the desired consistency, ladle four portions onto plates and serve hot. Serve with your choice of steamed vegetables, if desired.


Emily B.,  Wed Oct 14, 05:03:00 PM  

Sounds like a good evening to me! I wanted to come see you tonight in lieu of Justin's work schedule and no small group, but I'm kind of sickly right now and I didn't want to pass it on.

Amber Mac Thu Oct 15, 05:36:00 AM  

It seems that everyone is getting sick lately, and I am sure that the cold-rainy-nasty weather isn't helping either! Hope you start feeling better. Come visit anytime. :)

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