Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Chicken and Dumplings or homemade chicken stock

This is my favorite recipe of the winter! I love making this for dinner. Bonus the kids gobble it up. Because I puree the soup prior to serving, that means my kids are happily consuming all their veggies rather than picking them out. If you stop after simmering and just remove the chicken and veggies you have some delicious homemade chicken stock and can eat the chicken and veggies on their own for a meal as well. This can also be mostly made ahead of time. You can do the recipe, including pureeing the soup and shredding the chicken the day before and just bring it to a simmer and make the dumplings just prior to serving.

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, whole with skin removed
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into large chunks
1 dried bay leaf
2 tablespoons kosher salt (I use less, I think it's too salty, but the original recipe calls for 2)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup all purpose flour (I use Better Batter for gluten free)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (not skim)

1. Place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, squash, bay leaf, salt and pepper in a large stock pot. Pour in just enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables.

2. Cover the pot (with the lid tipped a bit) and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and the mixture is very fragrant.

3.Remove from heat. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables into the liquid. Blend until no large pieces remain. Return pot to the stove top and turn the heat to medium-high. Cover partially and allow the liquid to simmer.

4. In a separate bowl,  blend the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Add in the milk in a slow, steady stream, whisking as you go. Continue to whisk until batter is smooth.

5. Remove the cover from the pot and drop in dumpling batter by the spoonful, allowing a little space between each dumpling. The dumplings will swell as they cook. Cover the pot partially and allow dumplings to simmer until they are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

6. While the dumplings are cooking, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and shred. Add the chicken back into the pot. Serve when the dumplings are done cooking.

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