Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings with the Crock

I have to tell you....when I took my first bite of chicken and dumplings after not making these in a coon's age (I am from the south...if you are too, then you know just how long a coon's age is), and the flavors and aroma of dinner somehow transported me back in time to circa 1990 and there I found myself perched on the bar stool at the counter in my mom's kitchen. Flavors really do take you to unexpected places and bring back beautiful memories. There is just something about Chicken and Dumplings that is the epitome of comfort food. And if you've ever been lucky enough to eat my mom's cookin', then you know exactly why I time-traveled today! I immediately called my mom and had to leave a message to tell her how much I love her and to thank her immensely for teaching me how to cook. Not only did I thank her, but I know my family was sending their thanks as well. Here's how I do it! I start with a package each of chicken thighs and breasts! Place in the bottom of the crock season with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of rosemary, thyme and sage. Top with 1/2 bag of fresh baby carrots, 3 stalks of celery (I usually chop them in quarters), 1 small onion chopped Add 2 chicken bouillon cubes (I know, I know MSG, but this will give you great flavor) Add 3 cups water Cook on low for 6 hours or until chicken and veggies are tender.
This is GOLD!!

Not just for Thanksgiving anymore, It's perfect with Chicken dishes.

Chicken will be so tender and juicy!! Why yes, there is a spaghetti spoon in my bowl of chicken. Don't ask!
Here comes the fun part!! When your chicken is done. Remove it from the crock and allow it to cool slightly so it will be easier to handle. Give it a coarse chop or pull apart. Reserve all veggies and broth and pour into your blender, give 'em a good chop, until the veggies are blended very well. 30 seconds should do it.
The veggies will melt away into the broth.... the kids will never know.

In a large dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add broth/veggies mixture. Bring to a slow boil. Season with salt and pepper if needed. You need at least 8-10 cups of broth for this dinner. If your chicken doesn't make a lot of broth, Add store bought chicken broth (or homemade broth if you happen to keep it) until you have enough.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 egg, 3/4 cup of broth, and slowly add 1 1/2 cups of ALL PURPOSE flour. Mix together until soft dough forms.
The dough will have lots of flavor from using the broth, for added flavor, season with S&P.
Pinch off dough in Tablespoon size bits, dip in a shallow dish of flour, shake off excess, and drop in broth. Alternating with handfuls of chicken.
And here you have it!! A one pot wonderful meal, complete with veggies (hidden from the kids), a rich flavorful broth and delicious dumplings!!

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