25 February 2011

Comfort Food

We woke up this morning to a dark and dreary day, with icy snow and very cold temperatures. It makes me so grateful that we have a new cord of wood and a hot meal simmering away on the stove. What is it? Chicken With Dumplings from the Fannie Farmer cookbook and I share the recipe with you herewith:

4-5 pound chicken cut into eight pieces
2 carrots, sliced thin
2 ribs celery with leaves, sliced fine
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon rosemary, crumbled
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons minced parsley
4 tablespoons shortening (I use butter)
3/4 - 1 cup milk

Rinse the chicken pieces, put them in a large pot, and cover with water. Add the carrots, celery, onion, thyme, rosemary, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. When the chicken has simmered 30-45 minutes (the recipe says 20 but that's not nearly enough) make the dough.

Combine the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and parsley in a bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3/4 cup milk and stir briefly with a fork. Add only enough of the remaining 1/4 cup milk to make the dough hold together. Into the simmering broth, drop spoonfuls of dough on top. Cover tightly and steam for 20 minutes without lifting the cover.

I have some variations. I cook the whole chicken in broth and then remove it and set it aside. I only use about half the chicken, skinned, de-boned, and sliced, and reserve the rest for another meal. I also save all the bones and skin and use that for a second batch of broth for a future meal (Shrimp Jambalaya on Sunday).

After this modification, I continue as per instructions. The secret ingredient in the broth is the thyme. The marvelous end-result is that the dumplings thicken the broth into a luscious gravy and you then serve that over the sliced chicken with several dumplings centered on top. Add a little green salad on the side, a few candles and a glass of white wine, and you have a Sunday meal. We're having it in ten minutes as the timer is tweeting even as I finish this. Bon appetit, my friends! Wish you were here to join us. I'd probably serve you a peach pie with fresh-whipped cream for dessert, just to gild the lily.


BodieP said...

This sounds wonderful. We'll be right over for the peach pie.

Lee Ambrose said...

Dani, the chicken and dumplings look absolutely yummy! I'll have to copy this one down and use it when Lovely comes up next time - chicken and dumplings is one of his very favorite meals!

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