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:
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.