Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And We'll All Have Chicken & Dumplings When She Comes...

Spouse is as much a foodie as we are, plus he's got designs on going to culinary school. Every so often he tries out some new recipe or other, and most of the time whatever he's cooking turns out pretty well - even the weird stuff he makes up on the fly with ingredients you'd never think of putting together. (An early success was braised chicken breast and pears in white wine sauce... mmmmmm.)

Recently we had a fun evening when he tried chicken soup with dumplings. Behold the dumpling goodness.

I'll admit, he cheated a bit and used a commercial biscuit mix for the base. But he rolled them with wheat flour and it added a slightly nutty flavor, which turned out to be a little extra yum.

He also added garlic, salt and pepper to the dough. Dumplings can be rather flavorless but the garlic gave these ones a delicious savory flavor.

The soup base was a basic chicken soup recipe: mirepoix made of chopped carrots, onion, and celery cooked in butter until the onion is clear ("because everything's better with butter, especially dumplings!" quoth spouse).

Add diced chicken and cook until the chicken is browned.

Then add commercial chicken stock and bring to a slow boil. As I recall we used sage and rosemary from our herb garden for the seasonings, plus salt and pepper. You can see the fresh cut herbs simmering on top of the broth here.

When the stock comes to a boil, lay the dumplings on the surface of the liquid and turn the heat down to a simmer. It's worth adding a little more liquid at this point, as the dumplings need to steam in the pot, and they can soak up some liquid as they do.

Cover and cook until the dumplings are done, about 20 minutes or so for dumplings about the size of a golf ball. Don't take the lid off while they're cooking or you'll lose steam.

Behold the dumpling goodness in all its steamy fluffy chickeny glory!

Something about chicken, sage, garlic, and fluffy dumplings made for a perfect early autumn dinner. Just remember that you have to eat the dumplings when they're fresh, because if you try to save them for later they dissolve into a soupy porridge-like mess. Still tastes pretty good, but at that point it isn't really dumplings anymore, it's more like a savory bread pudding.

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