Making things add up
March 6, 2014
Two wrongs can, in some rare instances, make a right.
You will recall that a while back, I had a dismal failure with an attempt at gluten-free chicken and dumplings. Sad and nasty creatures, they were. Significant waste of time, effort, chicken and chicken broth.
You may recall — and I THINK I posted about it, though it was forgettable enough I may not have done so — I tried a recipe for “poule au pot,” a stewed whole chicken with potaotes and butternut squash — only to find it bland. It did, however, yield a lot of cooked chicken, and I simply bagged the 3/4 of a chicken carcass, with the meat still on it, and stuck it in the fridge.
A day or so later, I decided I’d give chicken and dumplings a whirl again. So I got out the bird, pulled the meat off the bones, and stuck the carcass with some onion and garlic in a pot of water to boil. I have a stock pot with a big steamer basket in it that works wonderfully for such purposes; I can put the solids in it, cover with water, make my stock, and just lift out the solids.
I like simple.
I took out about half the broth and froze it; I’m pretty spoiled to having homemade broth all the time. Left the rest in the pot, chopped up the chicken and returned it to the pot, and commenced to make dumplings.
I cheat. I use Bisquick. I made up a recipe suitable for biscuits, just a little thicker. Rolled it out to about half an inch thick, cut it in strips, cut the strips in about 3-inch segments, Turned the chicken and broth up to a medium boil, and commenced to drop in dumplings. I did a half-dozen or so, and waited for a bit; those first few are going to almost dissolve, creating the signature velvety broth that is the base for this dish. Then I added the rest of them.
I can’t tell you how much to use. I had about half a seven-quart stock pot full of chicken and broth; all I can tell you is to drop in dumplings until it looks like there’s enough. Then let that stuff bubble away for a while.
I had extra dumplings, so I put them on a baking sheet and baked them. They made little flatbread-looking things, which weren’t bad to munch on. With some sugar added, they’d make a nice shortbread for strawberries later this spring, if there is ever a spring. Must keep that in mind.
These were not the best chicken and dumplings I ever had, but they were passably good. And I probably won’t make them again for five years.
If you ‘n y’mama ‘n ‘em decide to make chicken and dumplings, though, I wouldn’t recommend screwing up two meals in the process. Just do them right the first time.