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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Recipe: Easy Chicken & Dumplings

thought today I'd share a recipe to be different and since I was made chicken and dumplings, why not that one? A few words to preface the recipe. If you like fat, fluffy dumplings, this is not for you. My recipe makes what my paternal grandmother, Nanny Lambert, always called "slickems" - thin, somewhat slick dumplings. Also note that this is not Nanny's recipe, or my mother's which was derived from Nanny's (the one dish my mother thought her MIL cooked better than her own mother or father!). Nanny and Mom always did the boil a whole chicken, pick out all the bones etc. routine. Not for me! My recipe uses only skinless, boneless chicken breasts because I only like white chicken meat, which is better for you anyway, especially without the fatty skin. Also, if I forget to defrost the chicken, I've found I can still chop the frozen chicken breasts and get on with cooking. Also, Nanny used Criscoe shortening and Mom used half Criscoe and half margerine; I use all Parkay stick margerine because I like the butter flavor and it helps make up for the lack of chicken fat. Now, my husband has a very hearty appetite so I always make a big batch to insure ther being leftovers. You can easily cut down on the amount of chicken you put in (think one boullion cube for every breast you use) and cut the dumpling part in half to make a smaller batch. That said, here's how to do it.

Easy Chicken and Dumplings
Ingredients: 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3 chicken boullion cubes, 4 cups plain (not self-rising) flour plus a little more to use when rolling out dough; 2/3 c Parkay margerine; 4 tsp. baking powder; 1-2 tsp salt; approximately 1 and 1/2 c milk: parsley flakes.

1) Cook chicken and prepare broth: Chop chicken breasts into bite sized cubes and put into a 5 quart dutch oven filled with cold water. Unwrap boullion cubes and drop in. Allow to boil until chicken is done and all floats to the surface. Some "scumb" will form on the water. This is natural and can be left alone but if it offends you, go ahead and skim it off.

2) To make dumplings, place flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to distribute the baking powder and salt through the mixture. Slice the stick Parkay into slices about 1/2 inch thick and add to bowl. Use a pastry blender to work the Parkay into the flour mixture until mixture resembles small pebbles. Gradually add milk, blending in with a fork until dough forms. If chicken is still cooking, this is fine to let sit for a few minutes.

3) Sprinkle flour on pastry sheet or piece of waxed paper. Flour your hands and break off a small portion of the dough and place it on floured pastry sheet or wax paper. If dough is a little sticky, roll in a small amount of flour. Using a rolling pin you've dusted with flour, roll dough out thin and cut into squares with a table knife.

4) Drop squares, a few at a time into boiling broth with chicken. They will sink to the bottom and rise to surface a short time after. Addd a few dumplings at a time, gently moving aside the ones on surface with a wooden spoon.

5) repeat step 3 and 4 until all dough has been made into dumplings and all are in the pot. Once the last group has risen to the surface, reduce heat and allow to simmer about 10-15 mintues. Stir gently and often to keep dumplings from sticking to bottom of the pot.

6) In the last few minutes of cooking, add about 1/4 cup parsley flakes and a little milk to make the broth richer.

Enjoy!

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