Enjoy Cool Weather’s Last Hurrah
by Tom Stieber, Big City Chefs CEO
Yes, it’s almost June, and that means summer is just around the corner. But much of the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast have been much cooler than average lately. We’ve even been getting some highly unusual showers out here in California. Before trading your boots for a bikini, we think you deserve some really great comfort food. And what could be more comforting than good ol’fashioned Chicken and Dumplings?
This recipe is taken from the Pennsylvania Dutch — the consummate masters of American old-fashionedness — and adapted by one of our Wisconsin-to-California chef transplants. And c’mon, who knows comfort food better than a Midwestern chef? Enjoy this recipe before the summer heat arrives!
Chicken with “Slippery” Dumplings — adapted from the Pennsylvania Dutch
1 medium Whole Chicken
1 large Yellow Onion, chopped
4 large Carrot, scraped and cut in 2″ pieces
4 stalks Celery, scraped and cut in 2″ pieces
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Unbleached Organic Flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon Shortening or Vegetable Oil
6 tablespoons Hot water
Fresh thyme, for sprinkling, chopped
1. To cook chicken the “old fashioned” way: Put chicken in a large stockpot along with chopped vegetables and seasonings, then add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Salt and pepper generously.
2. Bring water to a boil then reduce immediately. Let slowly simmer for 2-3 hours. As chicken simmers, skim off foam that forms on top and around edges.
3. When chicken is done, remove from pot (shredding instead of chopping), let cool, and remove meat. CHEF’S NOTE: Poaching boneless chicken breast is an appropriate shortcut to this method. Alternatively, a fully cooked rotisserie chicken from the Whole Foods prepared foods department may be used. In this case, organic chicken stock could be used for the broth.
4. Keep meat in a separate bowl for and reserve the vegetables.
TO PREPARE DUMPLINGS:
1. Sift together 1 cup flour, salt, and thyme in a mixing bowl.
2. Add shortening and mix and enough water to make dough soft, but not sticky.
3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap for 15 minutes to rest.
4. Place dough on floured surface and roll very thin and cut into squares, keeping flour on them.
5. Heat broth back up to almost boiling and add dumplings.
6. Gently stir (constantly at first) to keep them from sticking to each other. Keep lid halfway on pot. CHEF’S NOTE: The flour on the dumplings will help thicken the broth.
7. Cook dumplings for about 10 minutes, add shredded chicken back to the pot, and re-heat.
8. Make sure dumplings are cooked all the way through.
“Hurry up and skate faster, before the Chicken and Dumplings are all gone!”