11/01/2010

Chicken & Dumplins

Okay, it's your lucky day!! I have finally remembered to take pictures so I can post this FANTABULOUSLY amazing recipe. It's simple, but time consuming. I like to have all day ahead of me with nothing else going on if I am making it "from scratch" like this time. There are some shortcuts which I will mention as we go along. For the record I started the chicken at 9:30 this morning, so we will try to keep track of the time it really takes.
The Ingredients

1 whole chicken
1 family size can of Cream of Chicken soup
1 or 2 cans of chicken broth/stock or bouillon
Bisquick and milk for the dumplins

**A note about the chicken--You can use the equivalent amount of chicken breast if you don't care for dark meat, but I really like to use a whole chicken. I have also used the shortcut of a rotisserie chicken from the deli, but my hubby did not like it as much. Too much "barbecue-y flavor" was his only explanation.
The first thing I did this morning was cook my chicken. I put it in a stockpot of water. I like to use some of the broth for my cooking liquid. This time I added some celery and carrots that I had in the fridge with no other purpose, but I don't always do that since I use bouillon cubes later. As you can see in the picture, my bird was a little large for my pot, so I flipped her over at the halfway mark. I usually bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 50 minutes and check for doneness. If it isn't quite done I cook her a little longer. Chicken was done at 10:40 so it took exactly 50 minutes.

Now the bird needs to cool down so I can take off all the meat. I keep the broth (minus veggies and giblets) for later but I won't need it all. I waited about 30 minutes and didn't have too many burnt fingers.

Once the bird cools, I take it all off the bones and then we can finish the dish whenever you're ready. I was done with this step at 11:30. So far we are 2 hours into this dish but it hasn't been constant work by any means.

Oh, you're ready now? Fine with me! (I took a short break though to check on Raley who was home sick from school. Once you start the next step you kind of can't stop until the dumplins are all in. I started back up at 12:00) I dropped 4 bouillon cubes into the reserved cooking broth. I don't really measure the amount of broth I reserve, I just fill the stockpot to a point at which there is still room for the dumplins and meat without it spilling over. Add the Cream of Chicken soup (my mother-in-law, from whom I got this recipe, likes to use a small can of Cream of Chicken plus a small can of Cream of Celery soup) and mix well. Bring to a boil.

While the soup base is rising to a boil, mix up the dumplins. I use the recipe on the Bisquick box. For every 2 1/4 cups of Bisquick, use 2/3 cup of milk. I make at least a 1 1/2 recipe because the dumplins are the best part of this whole shebang!

**A note about dumplins--I have never used them, but I have heard you can use refrigerated biscuits and cut them up for dumplins. My mother-in-law has been known to use cut up strips of flour tortillas in a pinch.
Once the soup base comes to a boil, it's time to start adding the dumplins. Get a spoon, grab a bite sized blob of batter and dip the spoon into the pot. The batter will slide off in the soup. Keep going until all your batter is gone. I put in the last dumplin at 12:25.

Once all the dumplins are in, keep on a gentle boil for 10 minutes. The dumplins will increase in size and frankly, for my tastes, they get a little too big so I like to cut them up some as they cook.

Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes.

At this point, you are done! Have a great big bowl and be happy. This is the kind of "soup" that only gets better the longer it sits. And tomorrow? FUHGEDDABOUTIT! It is insanely delicious the next day too. You can freeze some leftovers, should you have any, for another day's happy lunch!

My bowl was ready for eating at 12:45. All told, just over 3 hours to make this stuff and worth every second!

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