Monday, July 27, 2015

Chicken N' Dumplings - Quick and Easy

I have fallen in LOVE with Chicken and Dumplings. Just the dumplings, really. Such a cute name, such a easy way to stretch the pot and the dollars. Yummerz. Dumplings can go on anything but I think the most well-known version is over a pot of creamy chicken and vegetables. Yaassss....

 Brace yourself because it's super-easy. Seriously. I take chicken (I prefer thighs because they are usually cheaper than other cuts or packages),
de-bone them and dice the meat. Salt and pepper those meat chunks. Heat a pot with a tiny bit of oil at the bottom until it's nearly smoking. Dump the meat into to sear it. You can hear the sizzle-sha-dizzle. How much you say? Hm. I use about two thighs for each person -so eight pieces for our family. 

After a few minutes, I toss in a variety of vegetables -but to be honest, I stick with my stereotype of "country farm veggies" : celery, carrots, okra if it's around, corn, peas, etc. If I add onions, and I often do, I make sure the onions are diced rather small. It's a preference for me. I won't add potatoes because that would make it a chowder. These little details tickle me.

When the meat is no longer pink, I pour in a good amount of chicken broth - until the chicken and veggies are barely covered in it. I let them simmer a bit before I add a can of Cream of Chicken. You can make your own Cream of Chicken with flour and Chicken Broth if you don't have the canned variety.

Oddly, Costco's Organic Chicken broth is cheaper than the store brand with its hormone-pumped version. Organic does taste better but you have to be prepared to buy a case of a million to get a decent price at Costco. I use chicken broth ALL the time, so that upfront expense is worth it for me.

On toward those lovely clouds of goodness we call... Dumplings.

Well, any biscuit recipe will do, really. You can even use canned biscuits. 
No one will mind.  I prefer the biscuit recipe that I got from Southern Plate. It is one of the best food blogs ever.

Anyhoo, you drop your dough or biscuit straight on top of the stewing contents, and then cover it, with the lid slightly off to the side. I prefer "off to the side" because then the steam will escape and my dumplings will be more chewy. Some cooks will leave the lid on regardless, and state they prefer the softer dumpling. Do whatever works for you. Regardless, if you are first-timer, know this: the dumplings will remain WHITE. If you want brown dumplings, you'll have to bake them first...which defeats the one-pot beauty of this dish, but again, do what moves you. It's your dinner, not mine.

Voila! You can extend your pot and save some money! Your guests will be lapping up that rich, chicken-y goodness and those puffy delicacies without noticing that you just fed a family four for a meal and HALF... for about $2.50 per person. Yup. That's what I am talking about.

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