Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chicken Gumbo (Chicken and Dumplings)

Most people call this Chicken and Dumplings, but when my kids were little we called it Chicken Gumbo, and it stuck.  I've been making it for over 20 years, and it's still one of our favorite go to foods
Start with a small roaster chicken, or a split chicken breast, or some boneless chicken breast.  (Whatever chicken you have in the house will work) Today I'm using boneless chicken breast, because that's what I had in the freezer.  Place your chicken in a medium/large pot.  Fill with water until the pot is 3/4 full.
Add some cut up onion, some dried parsley, a couple of garlic cloves, and some celery cut up into large pieces.  (You can keep celery seed in the house for those times  when there is no celery in your fridge)  If using celery seed, add about a teaspoon.
Turn the heat to high and bring this to a boil.  As soon as it boils, turn down the heat and cover.  
Let this simmer for a couple of hours.
Meanwhile, you can make the dough for the dumplings.
In a large bowl add 
2 cups of flour
1/4 tsp of salt
2 Tablespoons of shortning
Cut the shortning into the flour and salt.  
You can use one of these tools, a butter knife or your hands to do this.   
When the shortening is all incorporated into the flour, add 1/2 cups of water, and a large egg.   
Mix this all together, and knead the dough for a few minutes.  
Cover it and set it in the fridge for later.
After the chicken and veggies have been simmering for a couple of hours, you'll have a nice chicken broth in the pot, and the whole house will smell good. Talk out the chicken and place it on a plate.  
Strain out the veggies, garlic, etc and put the broth back into the pan
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces
Put the cut up chicken pieces back into the broth in the pot.  Bring this back to a boil
Remove the dough from the fridge.  Using one small piece of dough at a time, roll it out as thin as you can.
Cut this into squares or rectangles.  
My family likes 2 inch noodles, but you can cut them as big or small as you like.
Set these aside and roll out some more dough and cut it into squares.  
Continue until you've rolled out all the dough, and cut it all into noodles.
When the broth in the pan is boiling, start dropping in your noodles. one at a time.  
They will drop the the bottom at first then rise up to the top.  
Keep dropping them in until all the noodles are in the pot.  Let this boil for 5- 10 minutes.
Last, I like to thicken up the broth in the pan to make a chicken gravy.  
Whisk together a couple of tablespoons of flour with about a 1/4 cup of water until smooth.  
Pour this into the boiling soup and stir.  It will quickly thicken up to look something like this:
At this point I add some more dried parsley, and a little bit of fresh black pepper.
Let everyone add their own salt to taste.
You can have this alone, or with some chunks of bread  or homemade biscuits for dipping. 
I also wanted to note that I always double the noodle recipe, because in our family everyone loves them, and there are never enough!  :)

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