HOMEMADE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

I had to planned to write this earlier in the week but got distracted/discouraged by the disappearance of drafts. But even as frustrating as I found the idea of having to write this in one shot, I didn't want the time I spent stopping to take pictures to go to waste completely. 💛
  1. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT CHICKEN:
  2. Some people boil their chicken while others choose to buy rotisserie chickens from the local grocery store to bring home and tear them apart. There are even tales of people who— bless their hearts— choose to use canned chicken in their chicken and dumplings.
  3. Now, I know what you're thinking— "Gosh, Kayla, are you fixing to tell us why those chicken choices are wrong?"
  4. And to that I say....
  5. The truth is I've used two of those methods myself and, like all things, they each have their own set of positives and negatives.
  6. So if you want to give that chicken its own personal version of a hot tub, then give that chicken a hot tub. And if you want to channel your favorite Viking and rip apart a rotisserie chicken then by all means, get to ripping.
  7. And if you want to use canned chicken... well, I'm probably going no to question your choice but I'll also hand you the can opener.
  8. As for me, I prefer to bake my chicken. I mean— sure, I don't get the broth that boiling it brings but I do feel like I end up with juicer chicken, not to mention that it gives me time to put my dumplings together.
  9. Now let's get SPICY:
    Or, erm, not. The truth is that you can season your chicken with whatever you want BUT you need to remember that whatever you use will play a role in the final taste. Because of that, I tend to stick with salt, pepper, and an all purpose rub that I use on most of the meats I cook.
  10. After seasoning both sides of the chicken, I pop it into a 425 degree (Fahrenheit) oven and bake it for 20-25 minutes, or until the pink is gone and it's reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
    I put my chicken on a baking rack instead of directly on the baking sheet so that the heat can circulate around it.
  11. Once the chicken's cooled enough to handle, I shred it—usually by hand— into smaller pieces.
  12. LET'S TALK DUMPLINGS, DUMPLIN':
    Because if chicken is the Astaire of the meal, then the dumplings are the Rogers.
  13. The cast of characters:
    2 cups of all-purpose flour, a tbsp each of salt and pepper, a 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 cup of cold butter [cubed], and 1 cup of milk
  14. After mixing together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, you're going to take those lovely COLD cubes of butter and cut them into your dry ingredient party.
    Wait, what? I know— it's a bit of a weird phrase but essentially what it means is that you're taking the fat (butter in this case) and making sure it has the chance to "dance" with all of your dry ingredients instead of just having one big mosh pit in the middle. And how will you know if you've got the moves like Julia Child? Look for crumbly, lumps of butter-flour goodness.
  15. After adding the milk, I mix everything until just combined and then....
  16. .... I flip the dough out onto a floured surface and...
  17. ...take out my frustrations with a rolling pin.
    In order to make sure I get an even layer, I turn my dough a quarter turn after ever few roles.
  18. Once the doughs to the proper thickness, I use a pizza cutter to cut out my dumplings.
  19. COOL BROTH, BRO 😎:
  20. For a homemade broth:
    Place 1 whole chicken**, 1 white or yellow onion (quartered), 2 carrots (cleaned and cut in half), 2 stalks of celery (with leaves and halved), 4-5 cloves of garlic (smashed), 1 large bay leaf, 3-5 springs of fresh thyme, 5 stems of fresh parsley, 2 tsp of sea salt, 1/2 tsp of of whole peppercorns, 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 2 slices of lemon, and enough water to fill the pot in a 6-8 quart put with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil before then dropping it down to simmer for 4-24 hrs.
  21. .
    **— If using a whole chicken, you'll want to remove it from the pot after about two hours, remove the meat, and return the bones back to your broth/stock.
  22. .
    After its finished simmering, you'll want to strain it through a fine mesh colander or a cheesecloth into a large bowl or pot and discard the veggies, herbs, and chicken bones.
  23. .
    The homemade broth can be used immediately or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or 6 months in the freezer.
  24. The shortcut, "Ain't nobody got time to make broth from scratch" method:
  25. Open 2-3 cartons of your favorite* chicken broth and pour into a pot:
    *— or whatever chicken broth you happen to have on hand.
  26. Bring your broth to a boil and—one by one— drop your dumplings into the pot.
    To help prevent a dumpling pile up, be sure to keep stirring as you drop the dumplings in.
  27. Cook 15-20 minutes, or until the dumplings no longer have a raw dough taste/texture. Add in your shredded chicken and continue cooking/heating until it's warmed through.
  28. Other Random Bits of Info:
  29. I like to add a cup of heavy cream and 2tbsp of butter to my chicken and dumplings at the very end in order to give it a fuller, more luscious taste.
  30. If your broth's too thin for your liking, mix a tbsp of corn starch with some of your broth in a separate bowl and then- little by little- add it back into your pot until you reach your ideal broth thickness.
    You'll want to do the separate corn starch mixture because corn starch that's added straight into a pot/mixture tends to exact revenge by clumping.
  31. I've been known to add veggies to my chicken and dumplings as well as making a non-chicken version that eliminates the chicken and the chicken broth and replaces it with veggies and vegetable broth instead.