I have learned that food has to have a story for him to be interested in it. The story behind chicken and dumplins is that it is my absolute favorite food in the world. Even more than gravy! When I was a kid, I would help my Nanny roll them out, cut them and put them in the boiling pot of yumminess. When I was pregnant with Squirdle, I once ate an entire pot, which could theoretically feed 6. I LOVE chicken and dumplins. Plus, you get to make a big huge mess in the kitchen and get flour everywhere, and to a kid, that is the best part.
I wanted to carry on this messy kitchen tradition with my boys, so I told him I really needed his help. Well, you tell a boy they get to mess something up without getting in trouble, and they are all over it. So here I am telling him about when I was a little girl, and we are dropping dumplins in the bubbles and he is giggling and says it smells good. (SUCCESS for Mommy! Woot!) I always let him be my taste tester and he tells me if it needs salt or pepper. I gave him a spoonful of the thickening broth and after we got the seasoning just right, he said it was the best thing he has ever eaten. Better than pizza. Better than tacos. I gave myself a mental high five and vowed that all of our food would have a story behind it. Normally, we have to set a timer for him to eat because he will take ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL night. Not that night.... he beat me! And then ate it the next day for lunch. If he eats it as leftovers, I might as well publish that recipe!
And, finally, after all of that exciting build up, here is the recipe!
Chicken and Dumplings
One package chicken breasts ( that way you don't have to pick meat off the bone later) OR chicken thighs (I prefer thighs-more flavor)
One onion, diced up
2 carrots peeled and diced
2 stalks celery diced
2 cloves garlic chopped super small
Water OR chicken stock (about 4 cups)
2 T olive oil (or canola)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
About 1 tsp. of each Thyme and sage, dried (or poultry seasoning)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-6 tablespoons SUPER COLD butter cut into small cubes
3/4 cup milk
1) Cut the chicken into small fork-sizes pieces (about 1/2 inch cubes)
2) Season with salt and pepper
3) Heat oil in dutch oven or soup pot over med heat
4) Add in diced chicken (may have to do in batches)
5) Brown chicken on all sides (There will be little brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Those are good. Those are flavor )
6) Add the onion and garlic to the pot (with the chicken)
7) Once onion gets slightly tender, add carrots and celery, 1tsp thyme, 1 tsp sage
8)Cover with water and stir to bring up those brown bits.
9) Bring to a boil.
10) Reduce to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for about an hour. You are creating a flavorful broth.
11) Remove the lid and bring back to a boil
12) Prepare the dumplings. To do this, be ready to make a mess. Have an ample sized counter-top clean and sanitized
13) Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together
14) "Cut" in the butter (which means, basically, to distribute the butter throughout the flour by rubbing the flour and butter together in your hands. There might be a You-Tube with a better explanation.)
15) Slowly stir in the milk
16) Flour the countertop surface and pour the dough out onto it. Flour the top and then roll out to desired thickness (I like mine thin so they aren't all gummy. They puff when cooked, so keep that in mind)
17) Cut strips into the rolled dough and break the strips into squares. Drop squares into the bubbles of the boiling broth. They have to be dropped into the bubbles or they all stick together and it is gloppy and gross. When you are out of bubbles, stir the pot. Keep dropping until all the squares have been dropped in.
18) Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and if desired, seasoned salt. Let simmer for about 10 minutes to cook the dumplings and then eat! There is an easier "dumpling recipe" on the Bisquik box you can make instead if cutting butter into flour is not your idea of a fun time.