Friday, November 6, 2015

Chicken Soup = Chicken and Dumplings!!

Writing about chicken soup, I realize how often I start my supper with a bag of frozen soup.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about chicken and dumplings.

Really...I am famous for my dumplings...(she said modestly).

Everybody should have a specialty....

After I die -- the people I loved will remember two things I cooked. First -- my homemade pesto. It is perfection -- and I make it every year as soon as the basil is big enough.

The second thing will be my dumplings. After years of hit and miss -- I GOT THOSE SUCKERS DOWN PAT...and it's my #1 winter comfort food...
My dumplings are PERFECT every time.  Easy-Peasy once you know how!!
Anybody can make delicious, light fluffy dumplings.  The ingredients are simple.  But it's all about the TECHNIQUE -- which is way more important than the RECIPE.

Dumplings recipe:

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl oil
Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl with a fork. Make a well in the center and add the milk and oil all at once. Mix it up with the fork until the wet is incorporated. (it will be thick -- don't overmix it).

COVER WITH A TOWEL AND LET IT STAND FOR AT LEAST 30 MINUTES. This makes a HUGE difference in your dumplings. They will start to rise in the bowl and get very tender. You cannot skip this me...I learned it by accident, but it makes a big difference.

I start with homemade chicken soup.  (After Thanksgiving, I will make and freeze three big bags of soup.)  Again, a frozen bag of soup is a wonderful place to start.

The pan you use is very important. It should have a heavy bottom (you will not be able to stir the stew for at least 15 minutes) and a tight fitting lid. A glass lid is best -- because you can WATCH the dumplings steam up...(but a regular lid is fine.)  JUST DON'T PEAK...

Your soup should be just simmering -- not a rolling boil. If you accidentally get it too hot -- add a few ice cubes. You are going for simmering...bubbles, but not rolling...

Use two teaspoons to drop the dumplings into the soup, one spoon at a time (walnut-sized).  The dumpling will drop below the soup, then float back up.  DO NOT CROWD the dumplings.  They all need to be floating freely...

Cover the pot and SIMMER FOR 15 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID during that time...

Here's the most important point. After your dumplings are cooked --  IMMEDIATELY REMOVE THEM FROM THE STEW. I use a large meat fork to lift them out of the pan -- on to a wire rack. If you leave them sit in the stew -- as they start to cool they will absorb the liquid and get very dense and heavy. You want the inside of your dumpling to be dry and fluffy...


I INTENDED to take a picture of the dumplings -- but we're always so hungry. So, I grabbed these pics off the internet. THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE GOING FOR.
The next time I make dumplings, I promise to take pictures.

I always serve the dumplings separately. Usually, I put the soup pot right on the table. (After cooking the dumplings, your soup will be more like a thick stew.) After lifting the dumplings out of the pot, I serve them on a platter.

Honestly -- being known for killer, perfect dumplings is a very good thing...

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