Retro Recipe Redux-Chicken And Dumplings
Retro recipes fascinate me and this is one I have been meaning to re-create. Honestly, I never had it growing up but had heard about it and always thought it sounded delicious. When Food52 announced the latest contest, Your Best Cheap Feast, I felt this recipe fit perfectly. Chicken and Dumplings was created sometime during the Great Depression and was a great way to feed a family for very little. You basically have a big pot of chicken soup that you drop biscuit dough in and this creates a thick and hearty stew. I updated the dumplings by adding herbs and lemon zest, this gives another layer of flavor. There was leftovers, both the biscuit dough and the stew and I repurposed by making a couple of pot pies, I added some frozen peas, put in a ramekin and covered it with the dough, this was meal number two. The whole meal cost less than $20 and when broken down it’s less than $5 a person. Good food on the cheap!!
Serves 6-8 depending on serving size
The Chicken And Vegetables:
- 1 whole chicken approx 3-5 lbs
- 8-10 cups water (If you happen to have stock you can use that instead of water)
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced into rounds or at an angle
- 1 large onion chopped into small pieces
- 2 stalks celery sliced
- 1 parsnip peeled and sliced into rounds or at an angle
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the chicken and place in pot or dutch oven, pour in water, season and bring to a boil on high, reduce heat to med/high and low boil until chicken is tender, it takes approximately 1-2 hour. Note: If using water I boiled the chicken for about 2 hours so that the broth is tastier.
- Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool, pour broth into a container. Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of the pot, add the onion and saute until they soften, add the celery, carrot and parsnip and saute until the vegetables begin to soften. The onion will be translucent. Add the broth back in the pot and simmer for approximately 30-40 minutes, just until the vegetables are tender.
- While the vegetables are cooking in the broth remove the meat from the chicken, remove the skin also and set aside covered and start the biscuit dough.
The Dumplings And Finishing The Dish:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon + 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
- 2 tablespoons cold butter (I used salted but unsalted is fine)
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup milk (whole is preferable but 1 or 2% is fine)
- In mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, herbs and lemon zest, cut in the vegetable shortening and butter until it resembles peas. Add the milk and mix just until combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead for a minute or two and pat into a disc approximately 1/2 inch thick. I use the smallest biscuit cutter or a cordial glass and cut into small round shapes.
- Bring the broth and vegetables to a boil and drop in the dumplings, Don’t over crowd as you don’t want the dumplings to absorb all the liquid (you can always bake the remaining biscuit dough or make pot pies from the leftovers). Boil the dumplings in the broth for approximately 10-15 minutes they will thicken the soup substantially and will partially break down a bit.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the chicken and serve. I like to garnish with chopped parsley.