Sunday, 31 May 2009

Chicken and dumplings...

This is where I left the chicken yesterday... cooked in what is now stock,  and didn't take the lid off no matter how much I wanted to see how it looked.... if you take the lid off, you let the bacteria and fungi in,  and you'll get mould and wierd stuff on top.  Resist the temptation and leave the pot until the next day.
Ready to cook the dinner.... and I took the chicken out of the stock.   I used the spaghetti cooking pan, so I lifted it out easily.  Discard the vegetables and such,  and take the chicken meat off the bones...  no elegant way to do this,   just pull the meat off the bones.  If the chicken cooked for an hour or so,  the meat should come away easily.  The other pot shows the stock in which the chicken has cooked.
The chicken meat...  in fact I used only half of the meat and about two thirds of the stock for tonight's dinner.  The rest (meat and stock) will make chicken noodle soup later.  It is in a container in the freezer right now... chicken noodle soup next week!
Back to the chicken and dumplings.  I added some left over vegetables from dinner on Friday night...  there were a few carrots, brussels sprouts, mushrooms and mashed potato.  By the time that it began to boil,  the vegetables mixed in though I added a little bit of flour/water mix to thicken the gravy.  (About 2 tablespoons of flour mixed with a cup full of the stock from the pot.)   Then bring it to the boil and it's all looking like a chickeny soupy stewy thick broth...  a bit more watery than a "stew" is probably better than too thick because you can't stir it once the dumplings are added and you don't want it to stick to the bottom.
Now to the dumplings....   I used two small cups of self raising flour... (equivalent to about one and a half  "proper cups" full of plain flour with about 3 teaspoons of baking powder added.) This can be a bit flexible,  as this is a very forgiving recipe.  Add  a little bit (pinch or two) of salt now.  Rub in about 100 gm of butter until the texture is like bread crumbs (see below) and the only way that I know to do this is by hand...
I added two eggs (because I have chickens and plenty of eggs, though less or even NO eggs would work also.)  Then add some milk.  I had some sour milk (it had been left out of the fridge for too long) and that is just as good as fresh!  The mixture can be made in several different ways,  depending on the amount of liquid added...
1)  lots of milk...  mushy liquid mix like a cake mix.  This is added to the chicken in big spoonfuls.
2) medium (as I did today)  so that each dumpling can be formed with wet hands, rolling the dough in to a soggy ball.... then dropping it into the chicken mix.
3)  You can mix the dough to be like a scone dough that is rolled out and cut with a scone shape or into squares with a knife...   and the "scones" can be dropped onto the top of the chicken mix.
Below is my mushy mix that I could roll between my hands into balls... there were nine dumplings.
These are the dumplings that were made into balls (wet hands)  and dropped into the watery chicken mixture...  just in there,  and not cooked yet.
Lid is on and the dumplings are cooking (below).  Once again,  you can't take the lid off.  That would let the heat out and the dumplings won't cook evenly.  But notice my glass of wine nearby...  time to sit and wait!  It takes about 45 minutes...
And here they are cooked...  they really do increase in size a lot, but remember that you mustn't take the lid off while they cook... you need the steam.
And here are the cooked dumplings with gravy, chicken and bits and pieces on John's plate.  I probably need a food stylist to photograph my dumplings,  but the budget doesn't quite run to that!  They tasted so good though!


Fiona (posts by her mum and dad) said...

I think wel'l have chicken and dumplings for dinner this week. I'll let you know how it went. When you were here fro fiona's arrival you made this. It was jsut as wonderful as I remember from being a kid. Fluffy dumplings, wonderful sauce. I hope fiona likes it too.

Jane said...

Let me know how it goes.

In fact, I used a bit more than half of the meat and "juice" for dinner that night, and I still have some chicken meat and some stock that will make chicken noodle soup later this week. I'll make the noodles from flour and eggs (recipe to follow, I suppose

We had left overs for dinner last night also... one small chicken is three meals here... at least.