Cure Nostalgia with Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is not something I ever ate growing up, so I’m not sure you can call it nostalgia per se (which interestingly, according to Wiki, was once a medical condition - I love the random things I learn when blogging) when it’s not a childhood fondness like that. I did have it a few times out at college, when a housemate used to spend her afternoon kindly cooking a house dinner, and she would make the Rachael Ray 30-minute meal version.
But when you want comfort food, this is about it. I’d been thinking chicken soup and somehow wound up wanting this big-time. It’s relatively quick and cheap and easy, but what I also remembered is how the chicken always seemed a bit tough. With all due respect to Liz and Rachael, I kept everything but the chicken for this dish. The chicken I went with whole breasts for poaching. It won't keep you within the 30 minutes, but this, I am convinced, is the ideal in every sense: you’re poaching chicken as you would in a more traditional recipe, which keeps it moist and juicy, but because it’s just the breasts you cut back on the time that a whole chicken would take, plus it’s leaner from skipping the dark meat. Bonus points in that you can buy whole breasts for about half the cost of tenderloins, and if you poach them you take the meat off afterwards which means no raw chicken to handle. I have a thing about raw chicken: I don’t like it.

Bisquick dumplings, I don’t know how to explain. Yes, they’re quick, but logically probably not much less time than from scratch, and I actually do rather like the way they taste, sacrilege or no. They do fall apart made according to the box, especially if you reheat it later on, which is perhaps why RR calls for less liquid in her recipe. Suit yourself on the dumplings. They look rather mushed up in the picture below, but actually they come out quite fluffy, which is a good contrast to the vegetables and creamyish sauce.

This tasted exactly as I remembered it, except much much better. I’m already wanting to make another batch as I write this up.

adapted from Rachael Ray and FN

Optional: tops of celery leaves, handful baby carrots, 3 garlic cloves (peeled and split), several sprigs fresh parsley, 1 Tbsp butter
4 c fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1 c white wine
about 1.5 lbs split chicken breasts with skin and bone

vegetables (or use pkg frozen mixed vegs, or mix of vegs of your choice)
1 c sliced baby carrots
2 ribs celery, diced
half of a bag frozen whole baby onions
1 heaping cup frozen corn
1 c frozen peas

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 medium bay leaves
2 Tbsp flour
salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste (I like Bell’s)
reserved quart of poaching liquid (if you do not have a full quart, make up the difference with additional broth or water)
poached chicken

2 c bisquick mix
½-2/3 c 1% milk
handful fresh parsley, chopped
tsp or so dried dill

To poach the chicken: if using the optional ingredients, melt the butter in a 3 ½-4 qt pot. Add the carrots, garlic and celery leaves and pan-fry in the butter for about 4-5 minutes (if they start to brown a bit, so much the better). Remove from heat, let cool several minutes.
Scoot the pile of carrots and such to the sides of the pot and place the chicken, skin side up, on the bottom of the pot. Pour the chicken broth and wine over and add in the parsley. The liquid should at least cover the chicken; if not, add a bit more of whatever – broth, wine, water. Remove the chicken to a bowl and place the pot of liquid over medium-high heat. Bring the liquid to a boil, immediately reduce heat to a very gentle simmer, and add in the chicken. Keep at a very low simmer – you should see bubbles in the liquid but they should not break the surface – for 14 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let cool in the liquid in the pot for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove chicken from liquid. Strain and reserve the liquid and discard solids; you should have about 1 qt. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and chop or shred into small pieces.

Melt oil and butter together in a large stockpot. Add the carrots, celery, onions and bay leaves and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and vegetables are tender. Season mixture with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add in the flour and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add in the reserved quart of poaching liquid and bring to a boil. Add the poached chicken pieces and stir.
To make the dumplings: stir bisquick mix, parsley and dill together in large bowl. Add the milk and stir. Dollop dough by spoonfuls on top of boiling chicken stew. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 8-10 minutes.
Just before serving, mix in the frozen corn and peas and stir gently to warm vegetables and thicken mixture.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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2:31 AM  

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