Mother's Best by Lisa Schroeder with Danielle Centoni;TauntonPress(2009)Photographsby Ellen Silverman
|8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, for the Chicken gravy||1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, for the Dumplings|
|1 cup all-purpose flour, for the Chicken gravy||1 scant teaspoon kosher salt, for the Dumplings|
|7 cups chicken broth from Belle's Chicken Soup (Love Note 1), for the Chicken gravy||1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, for the Dumplings|
|2 teaspoons kosher salt, for the Chicken gravy||3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, for the Dumplings|
|1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, for the Chicken gravy||2/3 cup whole milk, for the Dumplings|
|2 large carrots, peeled and diced (1 1/2 cups), for the Chicken gravy||5 cups cooked chicken (you can use the cooked chicken from making Belle's Chicken Soup; remove the skin and pick the meat off the bones, keeping the meat in large chunks; or cook a 3-pound chicken), for serving|
|5 ribs celery, diced (2 1/2 cups), for the Chicken gravy||2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, for garnish|
|2 cups all-purpose flour, for the Dumplings|
To make the gravy: In a large (8- to 10-quart), heavy-bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and mix well to make a roux. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles fine, wet sand, about 3 minutes.
Whisk the broth into the roux a little at a time, allowing the roux to absorb the liquid before adding more (this will help prevent lumps). Add the salt, pepper, carrots, and celery. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, and then lower the heat and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally and skim off any scum (Love Note 2) that rises to the surface.
To make the dumplings: Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley together in a large bowl, and then cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two knives, or a whisk until it’s in small pieces. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor: Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Add the parsley and pulse once or twice to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse until it is in small pieces.)
Add the milk and stir or pulse once or twice to moisten the flour mixture. (Do not overmix or you will develop the gluten in the flour and the dumplings will be chewy.) Gather the dough into a ball.
Using a large spoon or your hands, scoop out 1⁄4-cup chunks of dough, lightly roll them between your palms to round them out, and then drop into the simmering gravy (it’s OK if they sink), spacing them apart. Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are done (a knife inserted in the center should come out clean), about 20 minutes. (Avoid lifting the lid while the dumplings are cooking because it slows down the cooking process, and “if you’re lookin’ you’re not cookin’!”)
To serve: Gently stir the cooked chicken into the pot with the dumplings, return the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes to heat the chicken through. Using a serving spoon or tongs, divide the chicken and dumplings among soup bowls. Ladle the gravy over the dumplings and chicken, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.
Love Notes: This recipe is delicious with the broth from Belle’s Chicken Soup (you need just the broth, with no other ingredients or additions). In a pinch you can use canned low-sodium chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken and still have a good meal. When you add the chicken, feel free to stir in any leftover vegetables you have lurking in the fridge, such as steamed broccoli or green beans or braised greens.
When simmering gravies or sauces that include flour, be sure you skim off any scum that rises to the surface with a large serving spoon or ladle. This scum contains proteins and fibers from the flour that can make a sauce gummy.
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