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{October 17, 2008}   Shortcut Chicken and Dumplings

Ok, so I like my chicken and dumplings with veggies in it… now usually this is just the typical broth making veggies… but on occasion I want this loaded with veggies, like this time, so that it is an all in one pot dinner that needs nothing on the side but a drink… but it’s abnormal, no one I know puts this many veggies in it at all, not my dad, not my friends, not restaurants, no one–but oh well I’m do what I feel like kind of girl so I guess I’ll scoff at convention… now truth be told chicken and dumplings to most of my southern friends usually means chicken, thick saucy broth and dumplings (like in the link below); and to the majority of my yankee friends, it’s a creamy chicken soup with huge biscuits floating on top (which can only cook from one side and even with flipping end up kinda chewy and strange in the center, god bless ‘em)… 

well, I married just such a yankee so he’s got this contrary line of thinking… and I made him chicken and dumplings the way my daddy did as we grew up with a roll out biscuit dough dumplings that you cook submerged in the liquid… he thought it was great but said it just didn’t have the comfort food factor because the dumplings were different, almost like gnocchi… having never had gnocchi at the time–and thinking they seemed just like daddy’s dumplings to me–I tried really hard not to roll my eyes, even hearing my grandfather’s voice in my head saying “Don’t wall your eyes” but I clearly must not have been successful… as the Hubs followed up with “I mean that in a good way. I love gnocchi. And this isn’t so much the same as similar.” and I smiled at him but thought to myself it’d be a long time until I’d put so much work into dinner again…

but of course the irritation passed rather quickly, as is usual for me, so I made him one with spoonfuls of drop biscuits (some submerged for me and some floaters for him)… he found this mildly more familiar but complained it was still not the same… and yes it really was complaining and he even waxed nostalgic about the dumplings he grew up on… and at the time we were still so newly married and in that honeymoon phase that I didn’t/couldn’t just tell him “Duh! I’m not gonna make anything that’s the same because I think your way is nasty… But you’re welcome to get in the kitchen and make it the way your mama used to if you want it like that.” or something to that effect, as I probably would have had it happened later in the sequence when I was comfortable enough to be my snarky self… so instead I said, “Well this way was a bit of extra work, so if you don’t really like it I’ll just make it my regular way from now on…” To which he replies, “Ok honey, that’s fine. I like your cooking anyway. You can make whatever you want. Really.”

Well the catch is that one of his favorite foods (not his favorite favorite, but high ranking) is of course chicken and dumplings… and my way(s) were not satiating that favorite craving… So over the course of our marriage I’ve asked tons of people how they make theirs in the hopes of discovering a different dumpling method that might serve as a compromise for us… Generally, there was more variations to the soup base than there were to the dumplings… so I finally got the tip from someone that they used cut up canned biscuits… at the time, I didn’t think to ask more questions and figured that it was essentially a roll out dough cut smaller to minimize the nasty middles problem with floaters… but later came the second tipper to mention the same cut up canned biscuits, but she explained that she indeed cooked them submerged… I was excited by the ease of doing it this way but decided to hold of on it because it really would be the same thing the Hubby didn’t especially care for so no particular compromise… well, again I found the canned biscuit tip online, but this time I really liked the idea of trying it…

so yes, it’s true it’s no compromise and makes no head way to his side… but now that we’ve got 4 kids and crazy hectic evenings it sounded the perfect time for shortcuts… so I’m trying it and I even sold the Hubs on the idea that it was a compromise somehow when he mentioned they’d used canned biscuits… (but truth be told I’ve picked up another online tip for baking the “dumplings” resting on top of the soup in individual dishes… which may prove to be somewhat satisfying to the Hubs while not being undercooked for my tastes… so that’s in the works for the future, though I plan to test it with more of a beef stew base as I dread that it may turn out undumpling-ish from baking and don’t want to exacerbate things in this arena…) and just as one last word, this is nothow I normally make my chicken and dumplings base for those of you who know I use it for pot pie… but I don’t see why this couldn’t work (just cut the buttermilk to 1 c or so and add some corn starch to it, stirring it in after the meat and veg warm thru… bring to a boil to thicken to put under a crust instead of fussing with the dumplings… or cool it first if you wanted a double crust…) if that’s what you wanted to do…

girlies bowlful... that thing there on the spoon that'd be a dumpling... the shredded chicken made it hard to tell the difference by photo...

girlies bowlful... that thing there on the spoon that'd be a dumpling... the shredded chicken made it hard to tell the difference by photo...


Shortcut Chicken and Dumplings
1 roasted or rotisserie chicken
1 can layered biscuits
about 1/3-1/2 c ap flour **
1 qt chicken stock
2-3 c buttermilk
2 c ea: green beans and carrots
1 c ea: corn and green peas

I boiled the beans and carrots in the stock until I was done pulling meat from the chicken (I pulled the meat because I got lazy–I’d had an exceptionally bad day and it was going to be another scout night full of paper mache on the other side of things not rest, so I was a bum and I regretted it–but I’d recommend you cut it as the cubes I bothered to cut before I lost interest worked better IMO…) strained out the beans and carrots, added the dumplings in 3 batches each kept submerged under a third of the chicken, and a third of corn and peas, straining out and adding to the beans and carrots as I went…

after the last batch has been strained out, whisk in your buttermilk as needed to get the broth as you wish texturewise… (I apparently didn’t do a good enough job of shaking off excess flour from the dumplings as mine was as thick as paste and took more milk than I’d planned…) taste the broth and season as desired–I think I did more Mrs Dash grill seasoning – prob 2T, about 1T ea: s/p, g/o pwd… add back the reserved stuff and mix well…

** I seasoned mine with 1.5 T Mrs Dash chicken grilling seasoning and a little salt, because when I make my dumplings I put seasonings inside the biscuits and though this would help… it did so little I’d vote for not bothering… (and yeah mine’s Lily too, as ap pretty much always is in this house… but a hard white wheat would make no difference here, so if that’s not what you keep on hand as your staple you can use what you keep on hand for this… I mean you’re just dusting, it’s not like you’re actually making the biscuits…)

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Amber says:

I have never had chicken and dumplings before. This sounds like a nice short-cut method.



Teri says:

Sounds great! Gona try tonight (minus carrots, corn and peas- my husband is a food mutant)

If all goes wel, I’ll send you a pic!

Thanks!



cejaystine says:

It’s good and traditional southern chicken and dumplings without the veg so don’t think of it as doing without because of a picky eater, just think of it as being more authentic… ;) Hope it goes great!



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