Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chicken and Dumplings

I had some frozen chicken breasts that needed to be used up as they were starting to freezer burn. This called for some seriously moist cooking. I also have a sore throat, so soup seemed like the best idea to me.

Chicken and Dumplings
3 large half chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
Several chicken necks
1/2 pound carrots
1/2 pound or so mushrooms
1/2 large onion
1 sprig rosemary
several sprigs thyme
2-3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2-3 bay leaves
20 oz. chicken stock
1 cup Bisquick(tm) baking mix
2.5 oz 2% milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste

Boil the chicken necks in a gallon of water for about an hour, scumming the fat and flotsam from the surface. I put mine in cheesecloth so I didn't have to retrieve bones and skin.

Once the necks have boiled, remove them from the pan and discard (you could retrieve the meat if you so desire - I was lazy).

Chop carrots, onions, and mushrooms into bite-size pieces and add to pan. Add chopped garlic. Let simmer for an hour or so.

Add chicken breasts (still frozen) and simmer until done. Remove each breast and cut into bite-size pieces and return to pan.

About half an hour before you want to eat, add the salt, rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme.

Fifteen minutes before dinner, mix the baking mix, milk, garlic powder and a pinch or two of salt together. Add to boiling soup in teaspoon (or tablespoon) sized dollops, depending on how large you want your dumplings to be. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, turning over halfway through the cooking.

Of course, this won't be enough dumplings for the entire pot; I knew we'd have leftovers and I will make fresh dumplings for them. Double baking mix and milk quantities for a single sit-down dinner. If you don't like the baking mix I used, or can't get it, substitute your favorite. Adjust the fluid amount accordingly.

I'd forgotten how rich and creamy the dumplings make the soup; noodles never quite achieve the same effect. The dumplings just melted in my mouth. The soup was just velvety as we ate. Just what I wanted when I have a sore throat.

Feel free to add celery or mess with the proportions of vegetables in the soup. I just like a very carroty and mushroomy soup, particularly when I don't feel great. If you have a chicken (or turkey) carcass and time to make your own stock, feel free to omit the chicken breasts, chicken necks, and broth -- I only used them because I didn't have the time to start fully from scratch today.