Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Chick'n" & Dumplings

Every Sunday I plan meals for the next week to formulate a shopping list and mentally prepare for the week ahead. Every Sunday I ask the boy "What should we have for dinner this week?" Every week he answers "Chicken and Dumplings?" I'm fairly certain he would eat it every week if I'd make it every week, but I demand more variety. This week, being his Birthday week, I've planned a few of his favorite meals, including the infamous "Chik'n & Dumplings." This meal, of course, contains no chicken, but it does contain dumplings, and anything + dumplings = yum. Very basic math.
"Chick'n" & Dumplings
As with most recipes, the amount of veggies you use can vary depending on size and personal taste. This is also a great recipe for using up veggie scraps you've got in your fridge. Tonight's soup contained 1/2 a red bell pepper and 1/2 a yellow summer squash. This is just the "base" recipe -- do what you like from here

6 cups unchicken broth
1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 -2 stalks of celery, diced
1-2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 cup frozen peas
8 oz (by weight) "chick'n"* - chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
Handful chopped fresh parsley

Dumplings
1 cup flour **
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup soy/rice milk - unflavored
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Start with the dumplings. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl, then add the wet, stir the mess together until a sticky dough is formed. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large soup pot. Brown the "chick'n," then remove and set aside.

3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in the same pot (again). Add the garlic, carrots, and celery and sautee until they look brighter in color -- about 5 minutes.

4. Add the broth and bring to a boil. [This is also the time you'd add any other veggies you want in the soup, unless they are especially hard veggies (i.e. potato, parsnip) which you'd add in with the carrots and celery. If you've added other veggies, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to simmer until the veggies are fork tender, then proceed to step 5)

5. Reduce the heat to simmer and add the peas, "chick'n," and parsley

6. Retrieve your dumpling dough and drop it by spoonful into the hot soup (the bigger the spoon, the bigger the dumplings). They will puff up a LOT! Simmer the dumplings in the soup uncovered for 10 minutes, then covered for 10 minutes. To test if they're done, spoon off a piece of one. If the inside looks dry and bubbley, it's ready to go!

Soup pot full of soup with puffed up dumplings covering the top

* Options for "chick'n" include -- Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips, White Wave Chicken Style Seitan, Homemade Seitan, or any other protein bit you enjoy. Tonight I used homemade chicken style seitan.

** This is one recipe I actually use 100% white all purpose flour. For reasons beyond my understanding, whole wheat dumplings disintegrate into the broth.