Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 15: Chicken and Dumplings

Do you ever have one of those days where everything goes wrong? Today was one of those. I should have just stayed in bed and saved myself the trouble. The great thing about those days is that they do end--thank heaven--and we get to start over with a new day. All I can say is that tomorrow WILL be better! I have to admit that the disasters included cooking dinner. I certainly learned a few things about my dutch oven today! I struggled through the entire cooking process, but the recipe had nothing to do with the problems...that was all me. I think by the end of the day my brain had had enough and was not firing on all cylinders. And when you are only running on 2 cylinders to begin with...well you see the problem. :) Keep reading and you will see where I went wrong.

Chicken and Dumplings
10" dutch oven

1 1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 Tbs. melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. chicken bouillon
Simmer celery and onion in chicken broth until tender. Next time I will also add some shredded or thinly sliced carrots to add some color. Make a roux with the butter and flour. Add roux and whisk until smooth. Add milk, bouillon and chicken. Cook until thickened. At this point I added some frozen peas.
1 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
chives or parsley, chopped (optional)
Combine salt, flour, and baking powder. Stir to blend. Cut in butter. Add milk and chives or parsley and stir just until moistened. Bring chicken mixture to a gentle simmer (just bubbling) and drop dumpling batter by spoonfuls on top of the soup. Cook uncovered 10 minutes; cover
and cook 10 minutes more. I would probably use about 18-20 coals on the bottom for this one.

The Finished Product

What I learned

This is the part where I have to admit just how little I thought about how this recipe should be done. In my kitchen I could have whipped it up with no problems right on my stove top. I would have never put it in my oven to bake--which is what I tried to do in my dutch oven. I should have cooked it like a stove top meal with all the heat on the bottom. Because I tried to bake it (I know--what was I thinking) it never thickened. So to clarify--stove top/skillet meal =bottom heat.
The Review
Even though I did everything wrong, this still tasted great. It would have been better if it were thicker and next time it will be now that I know what I am doing. I was really nervous making something in my D.O. that I had never made in the kitchen. Overall, this one was a success. First, because I learned a lot; second, because it was good. I will make this recipe again. Even with the problems this one gets a solid B+. I will try this recipe again and update the number of coals needed.

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