Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Yankee Doodle Dumplings

The first time I ever heard the word dumpling was at my Aunt Sandy's house.  I must have been 6 or 7 and Uncle Don had this movie "The Apple Dumpling Gang".  I just LOVED that movie-it was a western/comedy with Don Knots.  Any way after watching that movie over and over I really wanted some Apple Dumplings-but i didn't know what they were and when I asked my mom she basically told me they were like a donut.  So I never really had my apple dumplings-but I still really wanted to be a part of the "gang".

After moving to Florida and meeting some real "southern folk" I started hearing about this chicken and dumplings stuff.  Again-I had heard it before or maybe saw it on the Cracker Barrel menu-but again Mom said it was no good fried dough/fat.  So as my friends raved about their mom's making the best Chicken and Dumplings I started to get curious.  I asked and prodded and they basically described it like fried chicken with gravy and fried dough...that was OOHHH so good.  I didn't buy it.  I am such a Yankee; I thought Greens was was a family of colors and  Black Eye'd Peas a super sweet hip hop band.  I also thought that when you fixin' something you were making it "un-broke". Boy was I wrong.  Anyways I've continued to live my life in the "fake south" (I've been told Florida is NOT south) and hold on to my northern ways as best I could.  Now back to this whole dumpling story.

We received a very large fry pan as a wedding gift (thanks Rita & Brandon!).  So large in fact that it doesn't fit in the cupboards.  I have to keep in in the oven! but I love it!  Well when i opened up the box there was this recipe card with a yummy looking picture on the front.  Chicken and Herb Dumplings.  Hmm I thought-that looks good, I've always wondered what a dumpling was.  So being newly wife'd I thought let's add that to the list.  Adam- a true Yankee himself hadn't had much chicken and dumplings himself so he was game.

I decided to fix the meal on Sunday night.  We had had a light lunch after Church and around 6 I figured I should get started.  The recipe said something like 20 min here 20 min I'm thinking and hour-tops.  I get out the Chicken hindquarters and start skinning them...only cut myself once.  Then I had to have Adam come and separate the leg from the thigh.  I began browning the chicken....and browning and took a LONG time.  finally i got bored so i started on the next step-the herb dumplings.  I found out that the jar of sage i had must have been 7 years old and had began to we opted for some rosemary.  But this part was easy-mix up some flower, cut in some butter ? Wait cut in? like with scissors?  I did the best I could and found a new use for a pizza wheel :)  Then it called for Evaporated Skim milk-what! i didn't see that.  That was not on the grocery list-so 2% it was.  Sure enough it made a dough ball just like the recipe.  So back to to the chicken-it was brown enough and i began adding the other ingredients.  Oops white wine...we HAD some of that...what about red? sure! So I get all the veggies and chicken and stock in that great big pan and now I'm to my 20 min's now 7 pm.  So after 20 min I'm supposed to add the dumplings-8 equal balls-their about the size of a lime.  I put them around the pot like the picture, put on the cover and we're told to wait another 20-25 min....with the pan on Low.

Ding! I put in my tooth pick and these dumpling haven't done any cooking! WTF?  I look at Adam and say I don't think this is hot enough, I'm hungry.  So we crank it up to Med.  another 20 min go buy-Ding! Tooth pick comes out clean!  And OH MY GOD does it smell good.  So it's now a little after 8pm -oh and the squash has been done for like 45 min. (which by the way is from MICHIGAN!)  So we sit down and dig in.  These Dumplings look a lot like mashed potatoes...but are definitely like a biscuit.  But with the chicken and the broth and the vegetables it was all REALLY GOOD!! ( I won't mention that Adam had to nuke his get rid of some red oops).  We had even had a couple of servings.  So I did it! A Yankee made Chicken and Dumplings!

When I got to work on Monday I was raving about it in the lunch room...and my bubble was quickly burst. As I described my meal the guys looked perplexed.  They said I had some fancy recipe and that REAL Chicken and Dumplings was different-then they went on to explain what I always imagined...gross.
Oh well-so what.  I liked it-my Yankee version of Chicken and Dumplings and I will make them again-but I will start a lot earlier.

So here is the recipe if any of you want to try a truly yummy, non southern Chicken & Dumplings. Enjoy!



2 1/2 - 3 pounds assorted chicken pieces, skin removed if desired

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 Tbls. vegetable oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

6 ounces large mushrooms, quartered

4 medium carrots, washed and peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1 1/2 " slices

1 tsp dried sage ( I used Rosemary)

3 cups fat free, low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup dry, white wine (I used Red Wine)

Herb Dumplings:

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried dill weed

5 Tbls. butter

2 Tbls. chopped parsley

2 Tbls. chopped chives (I didn't have any)

1 cup evaporated skim milk ( I used regular milk)



Rinse chicken and pat dry. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Preheat a 5 qt. Saucier over medium heat until the rim of the pan is hot-to-the-touch. Add the oil and allow to heat for another minute. Add the chicken, about half at a time; cook, turning as needed until brown on all sides. As the chicken is browned, remove it from the pan and set aside. Pour off all but 1 Tbls. of the oil and fat in the pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring often until lightly browned (3 - 5 minutes). Add carrots and sage and return the chicken to the pan on top of the vegetables. Pour in broth and wine. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Herb Dumplings:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and dried dill weed. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut 5 Tbls. of firm butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Mix in the chopped herbs gently. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the evaporated milk. Incorporate the milk and flour with a fork until the dough forms a ball.

Final assembly and cooking:

Skim and discard the fat from the chicken preparation. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drop dumpling dough over chicken in 8 equal portions over the surface of the chicken, spacing slightly apart. Cover and continue to cook until dumplings are firm to-the-touch and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 20 - 25 minutes).

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