Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Keith

Actually, tomorrow is Keith's Birthday but we made him a Birthday dinner tonight!  He requested Chicken & Dumplings and I was thinking...are you sure that is what you want for your Birthday? (also, oh crap I don't know how to make that)!  So, to the cooking blogs I went to compare recipes.  I ended up with two recipes combined into one for a completely delicious meal.  I was so happy to have Kourt in the kitchen helping with everything.
 I made the soup base as Kourt worked on the dumpling dough.  Once the base was bubbling and ready I shifted over to the dough to help Kourt.  I was excited to help her because working with dough is really fun.
 Keith snapped some awesome pictures as we cut the dough into squares.  You roll it out flat first, then put them on a plate with lots of flour to keep from sticking (also, the flour helps the sauce to thicken).
 Lots of yummy dough
Kourt put the dough squares into the boiling water:)  Yummy.
This is what it the finished product looks like close up.
We let it cook for about 20 minutes to get the thick consistency.  I forgot to take a picture for the first helping (hence the dirty edges!  This was Keith's second helping, my second helping was a little smaller).
Chicken and Dumplings

Soup base:
1 pound chicken, I used chicken breast (or more if you like it meaty) + a little flour to coat chicken in for browning
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
4 carrots, rinsed well and chopped
4 celery stalks, rinsed and chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cups water (you could use 5 cups chicken broth and omit chicken boullion)
2-3 Chicken Bouillon cubes(I actually used about 2.5 Tbsp. of chicken base powder)
Garlic salt, S & P, and a little parsley
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
heavy pinch salt
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup milk, maybe a little less (add gradually)

For the Soup Base:
In a large sauce pan, heat butter and olive oil over med-high heat.  Dip raw chicken in flour and place in hot pan.  Let the chicken get browned on each side (about 5 min then 3 min on the other side).   It does not have to be done on the inside because you are going to boil it later.  While your chicken is cooking you can cut your veggies.  Once chicken is browned, take it out and put in on a plate for later.  Place veggies in same pot (don't rinse the pot because the chicken leaves good flavor).  You can add a little more oil if you need to.  Let your veggies brown.  Once your veggies are browned, pour your broth in and stir it all around, making sure to scrape the bottom of your pan!  Once it starts to boil add your chicken.  Let that simmer while you start your dumplings. 
*Modified from Pioneer Woman
For the dumplings:

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender or fork (you can feel free to leave little butter clumps). Add milk about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring between batches, until the dough comes together in a ball.  It can be a little wet because you can add flour when you get ready to roll it out.  Split dough into two balls and place on a heavily floured work surface.  Knead for about a minute and make sure it is solid enough to roll out.  Flour a rolling pin, and roll the dough out thin. Don’t be afraid to keep adding more flour. If you don’t, the dough will stick to the board or counter.  The flour also thickens your soup which is delicious!  Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into approximately 2″ x 2″ squares.  You can see pictures above.
Flour a large plate or platter to place the dumplings on while you roll and cut out the rest of the dough. Generously sprinkle flour between each layer as you place them on the platter so they don’t stick together.
*Modified from Iowa Girl Eats
Combine it all:
When you are done cutting your dumplings make sure your soup base is boiling and then ad the dumplings a few at a time.  Stir occasionally while adding so they don't stick together.  We cooked ours for about 20 minutes.  The sauce should start to thicken as the dumplings are almost done.  When the dumplings are done, take it off the heat and serve quickly!  Enjoy:)

Hopefully you guys are having a great weekend!  We are making loaded baked potatoes tonight yipeeee:)

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