Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Today is the first rainy and cool day of fall.

Plus I sent off my baby boy to preschool for the first time ever.

And I don't feel good.

The day calls for comfort food.

However, with figuring out two school schedules, pick up and drop off times, parent meetings and a 6 month olds nap schedule I didn't exactly have all day to spend boiling a chicken, shredding it, making dumplings and throwing it all back together.

But I wanted chicken and dumplings.

I've had this problem often. Particularly when I'm sick. I cook myself sick food, so I've had to learn some shortcuts.

No chicken boiling required.

Every time I go grocery shopping I grab a rotisserie chicken. I shred it up and divide it into two or three bags and throw them in the freezer. I can pull off about a 10 minute dinner if need be with one of these. Maybe sometime soon I'll do a "what you can use it for" post.

I know most people will argue homemade chicken stock is so much better, and generally, I concede. But I promise you, your family will never know on this one. Store bought stock is where it's at, but not just any. Kitchen Basics low sodium chicken stock. It's in a yellow box. Available at Whole Foods, Publix and Walmart for sure. Usually on the very top or bottom shelf.

I don't really do exact recipes, I'll be exact as possible for y'all, but essentially, this is what I do:

Lay out shredded chicken to thaw (about 1 cup, more if you like it heavy on the chicken)
dice up 3-5 carrots (depending on how much carrot you like)
1 stalk of diced celery (if you have it, I didn't today, no biggie)
1 small onion diced

Throw those in the pot you plan to use with a little olive oil (or butter) and saute until partially cooked, about 5-10 minutes.

While it's sauteing grab
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (or just under 1/2 cup whole milk and add a tablespoon or so of vinegar)
2 cups flour (I actually used white whole wheat today)

Pulse in your food processor (or you can hand cut it in) until a ball forms adding more milk if necessary.

Add about a carton and a half of stock to your veggies and let it heat up while you roll out the dumplings

Dust a pice of waxed or parchment paper with flour, grab your rolling pin and roll out the dumpling dough. It need not be pretty, and thickness doesn't really matter, but thinner will cook quicker. I use a pizza cutter to cut mine quickly. I like my squares bite size for the kiddos so that's how I cut them.

Add them one at a time to the stock mixing every so often. Add the chicken. Let it simmer for an hour or so stirring every so often.

Serve with cornbread. And honey. Because my mother in law did.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. I promise it's good. And only involves about 1/2 hour prep time.