Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings

This is my favorite recipe for Chicken and Dumplings from my
Betty Crocker cookbook (red and white gingham cover)

In a large pot, stew either one whole chicken or separate pieces of chicken with one onion, several carrots, several ribs of celery, a bay leaf or two, salt, pepper, and enough water to cover all.  Cook until done.

After stewing the chicken, remove it from the bone.  Strain and save broth.  Discard the vegetables, and return broth to the pot.  Add meat back to broth, and bring back to a low boil.

2 c all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons snipped parsley (opt)
2 beaten egg
½  cup milk
4 Tablespoons cooking oil

Combine flour, baking  powder, and salt; stir in parsley.  Combine egg, milk, and oil.  Add to flour mixture, stirring with a fork only till combined.  Drop dough by the tablespoon directly onto chicken in bubbly broth.  Return to boiling.  Cover tightly.  Reduce heat, do not lift cover.  Simmer 12 to 15 minutes.   If  broth needs thickening, mix 2 heaping Tablespoons of flour into 1 cup of milk; stir carefully into pot so as not to break dumplings, and simmer for a few minutes with lid off.  Serve.

My notes: This can easily be doubled or tripled if you have a big enough pot!

These are 'drop' dumplings, not the rolled variety.  I'm not a fan of the rolled variety, too heavy for my liking.  I took the photo below of a dumpling I cut in half to show you how it is cooked and fluffy all the way through.

I have never had this dumpling recipe fail...dumplings turn out light and fluffy every time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shrimp Gumbo...

I'm really, really trying to cook things on the weekend that can either make two meals, freezing one for another meal later, or at least that will make a couple of lunches to take to work.

Tonight I made Shrimp Gumbo.  It's not a traditional gumbo made from roux, but it is really fabulous.  It even gets compliments from lovers of authentic Cajun gumbo.  It's become our Christmas Eve dinner tradition, but we didn't have it this year, and I've been craving it.

4 slices bacon, cut into about 1 inch lengths
1/2 cup ham, diced (optional)
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups hot water
2 15oz cans of diced tomatoes
6 to 8 drops hot sauce
2 cups sliced fresh okra
2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup corn meal
salt and pepper

In a large pot, fry the bacon (and ham if using).  Before bacon gets crispy, add onions, celery, and green peppers.  Stir.  Saute till vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.  

Add water, tomatoes, seasonings, hot sauce and a dash of Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire.  Stir.  Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Mix cornmeal with a little salt and pepper, and dredge the okra.  (OR just buy a bag of breaded okra ready to fry like I do.)  Heat oil in a frying pan, and fry the breaded okra until brown.  Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels.

Now, ideally I would use fresh shrimp, but tonight I was trying to use up what I had on hand, and I had frozen cooked salad shrimp.  Pour the flour over shrimp, and stir to coat.  

After the vegetables have been cooking for their 15 to 20 minutes, add the fried okra to the pot.  And by hand, add the shrimp, leaving any extra flour (not sticking to the shrimp) in the bowl.

Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  (During which time you can cook some rice.)  At the end of the cooking time, the gumbo should be adequately thickened from the cornmeal and flour (from the okra and shrimp), but if it needs further thickening, use a little more flour.

Serve over rice.