Chicken Soup

Best Ever Chicken & Dumplings

If there is a better comfort food than chicken & dumplings I don't know it.  This stuff is great.  This is the kind of chicken & dumplings your mama or grandma cooked that took all day and you knew you were loved.  It takes forever to make, but it's worth every minute. You can make it as chicken & dumplings or forget the dumplings and add cooked noodles during the last two minutes and have great chicken noodle soup.  Another option is to just bake the chicken.  It is wonderful by itself.  Lastly, there are two types of dumplings.  Floaters and sinkers.  These are cat head dumplings (floaters).

Bird
1
whole fryer (3 to 4 Lbs)
2 tbl
fresh rosemary
2 tbl
chopped parsley
1 tbl
thyme
1
lemon, cut in half
1
onion, cut in half
2 tbl melted butter

salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste


Stock
2 tbl
olive oil
2
carrots, peeled, and cut in quarters
2 stalks
celery, cut into quarters
1
onion, peeled and cut into quarters
2
bay leaves
1 tsp
thyme
4 sprigs
parsley
3 qts
water

chicken bones (from the chicken above)

Soup
3 tbl
canola oil
cup
carrots, peeled and diced
cup
celery, diced
3 cloves
garlic, minced
2
bay leaves
cup
flour
cup
fat free half and half

chicken stock (from above)

salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste

Dumplings
2 cups
all purpose flour
1 tbl
baking powder
1 tsp
salt
2
eggs
1 cup
buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 375.  Remove the giblets and other loose chicken parts and save them for the stock.  Rinse the bird, pat it dry, and season the inside and outside with salt, pepper, and garlic.  Melt the butter, stir in the rosemary, parsley, and thyme.  Pour the butter mixture over the chicken and rub it in well.  Put the lemon and onion in the chicken and put the chicken in a baking dish.  Bake the chicken for an hour and 15 minutes.  You can stop now with a delicious baked chicken if you are running out of time.

Take the chicken out, let it cool, and remove the onion and lemon.  Pull the meat off the bones and set both aside.  The meat will go in the soup and the bones will be used for the stock.  

Now make the stock.  Put the olive oil in a large pot, add the carrots, celery, and onion and saute' for three or four minutes.  Add the water, bones, giblets, herbs, garlic, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, cook for an hour.  Strain the stock and set it aside for later.

Now make the dumplings.  Stir the dry ingredients for the dumplings together in a mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, bet the eggs and buttermilk together.  Pour the egg mixture into the flour and mix until you have a thick cake like batter.  Adjust the consistency with additional flour or buttermilk if necessary.

Now make the soup.  Put a large pot or dutch oven on the stove, turn the heat to medium high, add the celery and onions, and saute' for 5 minutes.  Stir the flour in a little bit at a time and make a blond roux.  Stir in the chicken stock from above 1 cup at a time making sure you mix it very well before adding the next cup.  Add the bay leaves and chicken, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.  Add the half and half and salt and pepper if needed.  Return to a simmer.

After the soup has started simmering, drop heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter on the top of the soup.  The dumplings should cover the soup.  Cover the soup and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve.

If you want chicken noodle soup instead of the dumplings, cook a half pound of what ever pasta you want while the soup is doing the 20 to 30 minute simmer.  Add the noodles when you would normally have added the dumpling batter and serve immediately.


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