26 December 2009

Southern Comfort Revisited

This is a rare photoless posting. But the comfort and satisfaction of this recipe are worth sharing even without photos. And besides, chicken and dumplings is a pretty bland photo subject.

I almost followed this Southern Living recipe to the proverbial letter, but it was just too bland. (Thanks here to my parents for renewing my SL subscription each year.) So I added 1 tablespoon of white pepper, and it set this recipe on fire. (Not spicy fire; it just made it freakin' good!)

Here's what to do...

Greg's Adaptation of Southern Living's Easy Chicken and Dumplings

6-quart pot w/ lid
large wooden spoon for stirring
ladle for serving

4 cups broth (for this recipe, Greg recommends his own low-sodium low-fat turkey broth made from the carcasses of the neighbors' Thanksgiving birds)
1 can cream of anything soup (SL magazine says chicken soup, but I think a cream of veggie would be great)
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (hello, salt!)
1 tablespoon white pepper (black pepper will work, but you'll have speckles in your finished product)
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, meat pulled into bite-size pieces (white and dark), about 4 cups
1 small can pop-em-open biscuits
1/4 cup flower for dusting the canned biscuits
4 carrots
4 ribs celery

Yep, that's one TABLESPOON of pepper. The Southern Living version of this was just too bland. This pepper really flavors it up without being too spicy.

Put the first 4 ingredients into your 6-quart pot. Cook on low while you decimate your chicken, pulling each bit of meat and flavor from the bones. Save that carcass for more broth.
Add the pulled chicken to the pot. Simmer while you...
Dice your carrots and celery. (Greg recommends his new Kramer chef's knife. :-)
Pop open the biscuits. Dust them in the flour and then press them into 1/4-inch disks with your hands. (If you really want to mess up more implements, you can get out your rolling pin.) Cut them into 1/2-inch strips, and cut the strips to 1 inch each.
Drop the biscuit bits into the simmering chicken mixture one-by-one, stirring after each few additions to ensure that the used-to-be-biscuits don't stick. If you don't stir, they will and you'll wind up with chicken and dumpling.
After all the used-to-be-biscuits are added, continue to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serve with salad or something else seemingly healthy if you need to remove any guilt.