What is your favorite comfort food? One of our favorites is chicken and dumplings. I remember with great fondness spooning into my mother’s version of this dish—fluffy, billowy dumplings atop delicious chicken soup. In our house, chicken and dumplings is the perfect ending to cold, blustery winter days. Of late, we have been eating more veggies. My husband has been craving chicken and dumplings, so when making it this last week, I added green beans, peas, turnips, and parsnips to the veggie mix I normally put into my chicken soup. He loved it.
Have More Veggies with your Chicken and Dumplings Serves 4 to 6
For the broth: 2 pounds chicken breasts, bones in and skins on 2 quarts water 1 carrot, roughly chopped 1 celery stick, roughly chopped ½ white onion, roughly chopped 2 bay leaves 4 sprigs thyme 4 sprigs parsley 1 tablespoon minced garlic 2 teaspoons salt ¼ teaspoon large grind black pepper
In a large kettle, place chicken breasts with just enough water to cover (about 2 quarts). Add carrot, celery, onion, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil over a high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 2 ½ hours, or until tender. Remove chicken breasts from the broth and cool. Using a slotted spoon, remove carrot, celery, onion, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley from the broth. Remove skin and bones from chicken and shred chicken meat into bite-size pieced. Set aside.
For the soup:
1 cup green beans, ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces 1 cup carrot (about 1), peeled and thinly sliced 1 cup parsnip (about 1), peeled and thinly sliced 1 cup turnip (about 1), peeled and cubed ½-inch thick 1 cup frozen peas, thawed ½ white onion, chopped ¼ cup fresh parsley, snipped Reserved shredded chicken
To the large kettle, add green beans, carrot, parsnip, turnip, peas, onion, and parsley and cook over a medium low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Add shredded chicken back into the broth.
For the dumplings:
1 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ¾ teaspoon salt 15 grinds black pepper 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped 2 tablespoons butter, melted ⅔ cup buttermilk In a medium bowl, place flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and chives and whisk together. In another bowl, place butter and buttermilk and whisk until blended. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir until moistened. Drop dumplings on top of simmering soup, one at a time. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer dumplings for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID. After 12 minutes, to determine if dumplings are cooked through, insert a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, dumplings are done. If it is sticky, cook a bit longer.
Fresh parsley, minced Ladle dumplings into bowls. Ladle chicken soup into bowls. Garnish with parsley.
Tip on making dumplings: When mixing the batter for dumplings, stop mixing when the ingredients are well combined. Overmixing will cause the dumplings to be too tough.
Tip on cooking dumplings: Overcooked dumplings will fall apart in the broth. To ensure your dumplings are not overcooked, after 12 minutes insert a toothpick into the dumplings. When the toothpick comes out clean, the dumplings are done. If the toothpick is sticky, cook an additional 1 or 2 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean.
Tips on selecting carrots: Select well-shaped carrots with smooth exteriors and closely trimmed tops. My father taught me the brighter the color, the sweeter the flavor. Do not buy soft, wilted, or split carrots. Dark, slimy, yellowed tops that are beginning to sprout are an indication of decay. For the freshest carrots, buy bunches with bright green, leafy tops. The tops deteriorate quickly once the carrots are harvested, so if the tops are green, it means they were recently picked.
Tips on selecting celery: Good quality celery will have straight stalks and rigid ribs that snap crisply when bent. The leafy tops should look fresh with good green color. Do not buy celery with slimy leaves. When celery is overly large with dark green stalks, it may be bitter or stringy.
Tips on shopping for onions: Onions should be dry, ﬁrm, and shiny with a thin outer skin. Do not buy onions that have sprouts. They will taste bitter. The neck of an onion should be tightly closed. Do not buy onions that have dark patches, soft spots, or black mold.
Tips on shopping for parsnips: Parsnips should be small to medium, well-shaped, and free of pitting. It is the age rather than the size of parsnips that determines tenderness. Old specimens that have been stored too long may be tough and woody. Do not buy shriveled or spotted parsnips. When thin and long, this vegetable tends to be stringy.
Tips on shopping for turnips: Turnips should feel heavy for their size. Look for smooth, ﬁrm, unblemished skin and fresh green leaves. Do not buy turnips that are larger than 3 inches in diameter because they may be woody.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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