Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Chicken in Every Pot

I think I have a typical family of four and I think we live a pretty typical life with appointments and obligations, school and work, play and recreation.  One thing about our family that may not be typical is that we started a small farm.  We raise laying hens, meat chickens in the Spring and hogs and turkeys in the Fall.  So for those of you who do not normally follow me I will mention that my chickens do not come cut up in pieces and wrapped in cellophane.  They come whole in freezer bags and I pull one out each week for us to eat.  Each chicken typically feeds my family of four for 3 days.

Meat Chickens nearly full grown.
Meat chickens ready for the freezer.
This week we had Roast Chicken on Sunday.  I used the leftover breast meat for Chicken and Broccoli Pie on Tuesday.  Then I put the carcass, skin, a wing and the leftover dark meat into the stock pot along with the veggies that I had put in the cavity of the chicken while it roasted.  I covered it with water, brought it to a boil and then let it simmer for a couple of hours.  When it was done I put it outside in my grill or if it is summer or you are lucky enough to live where it is warm just let it cool and place in the refrigerator.  Today I brought the stockpot back in and I will be making Chicken and Dumplings for dinner.  Join me, won't you?
All of the fat will have hardened and floated to the top.
I always take this off and discard it.
I remove the carcass and chicken pieces from the broth.
Remove all meat from the bones, discarding any fat, skin and bones.
This left me with about a cup and a half of chicken.
I strained the broth through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth.
I had about 8 cups of broth, which was perfect.
You will find that most of my soups, stews, one pot meals, etc.
always include my trinity of onions, carrots and celery.
I chop up the vegetables and put them in a medium stockpot.
Cover them with broth and bring to a boil.
I added a couple of bouillon cubes to add some flavor.
Once brought to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are almost tender.
While the vegetables are cooking I measure 2 cups of baking mix into the same container I used for the broth because there is no need to dirty another bowl.
I then mix in a little less than a cup of milk.
If you don't have milk on hand you can use some of the broth instead.
You want it to be of a consistency that it will drop by spoonfuls into your broth.
When the vegetables are nearly tender add the chicken.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  If you added bouillon you may not need anymore salt.
Bring broth to a rolling boil.
Drop the dumplings by spoonfuls into the boiling broth.
They will float to the top.
The boiling broth will help them to not stick together.
Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Bon Apetit'

Chicken and Dumplings
1 1/2 to 2 c. cooked chicken, chopped
8 c. chicken broth (if homemade you may want to add a couple of bouillon cubes)
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery chopped
2 c. baking mix
2/3 c. milk, broth or water
Place vegetables and broth into a stock pot or dutch oven.  Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and cook for 15 minutes.  Combine baking mix and liquid in a large bowl, set aside.  After 15 minutes add chicken to the broth and vegetables and bring to a rolling boil.  Drop the baking mix mixture by spoonfuls into the boiling broth.  Allow broth to boil for another 10 minutes or so and then reduce heat to low and cover pot.  Simmer over low heat for another 15-20 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through.  Print Recipe

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