Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chicken and Dumplings

Two weeks ago we invited my brother and his fiancee over for dinner. It was a work night, so I was hoping for something relatively fast to put together. I also had a hankering for chicken noodle soup but also had an extra tube of Pillsbury biscuits in our fridge that I wanted to use. So... I went with chicken and dumplings.

To be clear, I'm not sure I've ever eaten chicken and dumplings, which in turn means I certainly haven't ever made them before. I googled for recipes and found a bunch that had various features I liked, but none that really were amazing or fit my desires. So I pieced some ideas together and came up with my own version. (When you have some time, google chicken and dumpling images. There are some very bland, monotoned looking photos out there, people!)

Without further adieu, the recipe
Chicken and Dumplings
{source: multiple, but ultimately me}
Makes ~8 servings

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts [I used 4 breasts]
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, diced
5 carrots, chopped
3 c. chicken stock
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup (reduced or no sodium, if you can find it)
3 c. water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 T fresh thyme
1 can of corn, drained + rinsed (low sodium, if you can find it)

1 can of green beans, drained + rinsed (low sodium, if you can find it)
1 small tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
1/4 c. chopped parsley

Before I cooked the chicken, I prepped all of the veggies. If you are a master-dicer, you can probably just do this as the chicken cooks.
To cook the chicken, to a hot skillet (next time I would just do this in a soup pot) I added ~1 T. olive oil. Once the olive oil was hot, I added the chicken breasts and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Once the chicken was browned on one side (~4 minutes), I flipped them over and allowed them to cook another 4 minutes, until juices run clear. I removed the chicken from the skillet set on a plate, covered with foil and allowed to cool. Once cool, shred the chicken by fork or by hand.
Then I started on the stew portion. I poured the pan juices from the chicken into a soup pot, added the onion, carrots and celery to the pot and cooked over medium heat until the veggies were tender. Next I stirred in the bay leaves, chicken stock, condensed chicken soup, water, bouillon cubes and thyme. Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Add chicken, canned veggies (drained and rinsed) and chopped parsley, stir to combine.

I simmered the stew for a few minutes while I prepped the "dumplings." This was seriously the easiest part: open the tube of biscuits (there were 10 biscuits in the tube I used). Separate the biscuits and cut into quarters. Give the stew one final stir *before* adding the dumplings. [At this point, if the stew is thicker than you would like it, add more water or chicken broth.]

Add the dumplings to the stew, they should sit on top of the stew. From what I've read, don't stir once the dumplings have been added [this may cause the dumplings to dissolve]. Instead, gently submerge the dumplings, reduce heat to low, cover the pot and allow to simmer for ~7 minutes or until dumplings are no longer doughy.
Serve and enjoy!!
{I forgot to take a picture of the finished product at dinner, so this is from lunch the next day. By the way, this makes for great left overs!!}

Oh - and the nutritional breakdown isn't that bad either. Okay, it's high in sodium. I did use low or no sodium where I could (condensed soup and canned veggies); unfortunately those choices are not reflected in the table below.Last thing: I am contributing this recipe to Jen's cookbook. I'm late (a week + 1 day past the deadline), but am hopeful she will still accept it. :)

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