Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Thick and Hearty Chicken and Dumplings

Traditional Chicken and Dumplings but made using whole wheat! It really adds a deep, nutty, more filling quality than those old white ones! This is one of my all-time-favorite comfort foods. I guess it must bring back memories, although I don't remember having it more than a few times as a kid. Just something about the parsley, I think. For more information about how I make my chicken stock, visit this posting.

Let me comment on the fat content of this recipe. You may be tempted to reduce the amount of oil called for when making the roux for the stew. Don't do it. In order for the heavy dumplings to float, the stew must by thick enough to support them. A small reduction in the roux will mean a significant reduction in the thickness. The dumplings will sink. Even if they don't completely submerge (which mine did upon experimentation) they will still be gummy inside - they should have the consistency of a well-baked biscuit. Dry and light inside. Just tell yourself that it's "comfort food day" and enjoy a little bit of oil. It's olive oil, after all... Also, whole wheat flour won't make the roux as thick - I tried that as well. The gluten is not available because the flour is not as fine.

Thick and Hearty Chicken and Dumplings

For Stew:
3 lbs chicken parts (any parts, frozen or thawed)
6 cups water
6 carrots
4 stalks celery
2 onions
2 chicken bullion cubes
1/2 C. olive oil/drippings
1/2 C. white flour
1 t. salt
1 T. parsley (dried)
1/2 t. ground pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder

For Dumplings:
1 C. WW flour
1/2 C. white flour
1 T. parsley (dried)
2 rounded t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
3 T. shortening or butter
3/4 C. milk (a bit over full, but not 1C)

Prepare Stock:
  1. Place chicken (frozen or fresh) and water into bottom of a 4 qt. dutch oven. Chunk these vegetables into about 2" pieces and add - 3 carrots, 2 celery, 1 onion (no need to peel). Add 2 bullions cubes - no need to crush.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for about 2 hours or until chicken is done.
  3. Pour through a colander over a very large bowl. Remove the chicken, throw away the veggies. Shred chicken when it is cool enough to handle, throw away any fat, skin and bones.
  4. Cut remaining carrots into quarters lengthwise, then slice, mince celery, chop onion.
  5. Heat oil (skim stock and use part drippings if you like) in bottom of dutch oven until hot. Add 1/2 C white flour and whisk until no lumps remain. Cook over med. heat for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add stock about 2 cups at a time, whisking well after each addition to remove lumps. When all stock has been added, reduce to low simmer. Add chopped veggies, shredded chicken and spices. Stir occasionally, scraping bottom well.

Prepare Dumplings:
  1. Mix flours, baking powder, salt and parsley in med. bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender, 2 knifes, or mashing with your fingers. Stir in milk, and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes - mixture will thicken.
  2. Bring stew to a slow boil. When carrots are almost tender (it is difficult to pierce with fork) stir stew well and then drop dumplings by spoon onto meat and veggies - you should get about 10. Be sure there is meat to land on - if they hit just liquid, they'll sink and get mushy.
  3. Cook in boiling stew for 10 minutes UNCOVERED. Then cook for 10 minutes COVERED. No Peeking! Dumplings should have risen and be firm and fully cooked inside.
  4. Serve 1 or 2 dumplings in a bowl, smothered with stew - enjoy!!


Ariella said...

Hi - I just wanted to let you know I found your recipe through Google and I made it tonight. It was fab!! I added some garlic, but otherwise kept the recipe the same. The dumplings were just what I wanted, bready and light, but not mushy.

Thanks for a great stew! This is a keeper!

MAJ said...

Absolutely amazing!!