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 made that took all day and all that effort told you that you were loved.  You can make 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.  I've included instructions for cat head dumplings (floaters) and sinkers.

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
1 tsp
salt
4 sprigs
parsley
3 qts
water

chicken skin, bones, etc. (from the chicken above)

Soup
cup
canola oil
1 cups
carrots, peeled and diced
cup
onion, diced
cup
celery, diced
cup
flour

chicken stock (from above)
3 cloves
garlic, minced
2
bay leaves
cup
fat free half and half

chicken stock (from above)

salt, pepper, and granulated garlic to taste

Cat Head Dumplings (floaters)
2 cups
all purpose flour
1 tbl
baking powder
1 tsp
salt
2
eggs
1 cup
buttermilk

Sinker Dumplings
2 cups
AP flour
cup
ice water
1 tsp
salt

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 granulated garlic.  Melt the butter, stir in the rosemary, parsley, and thyme.  Spread 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 the meat aside in one bowl and the bones and skin aside in another.  The meat will go in the soup and the skin and 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, skin and 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 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 you made earlier in 1 cup at a time making sure you mix it very well before adding the next cup.  The roux will thicken the stock a lot at first but there is enough stock to make soup.  Add the garlic, bay leaves, half and half, and chicken, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

While the soup simmers make the dumplings.  Choose the kind you want.  Floaters or sinkers.

To make the floaters, stir the dry ingredients for the dumplings together in a mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, beat 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.

To make the sinkers mix the four and salt together in a mixing bowl.  Using a mixer with a dough hook, turn the speed to 4, and start slowly adding the water.  When the dough comes together let the mixer knead it for 2 minutes.  Now spread some flour on a  smooth surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it is approximately ⅛" thick.  Then use a pizza cutter to cut the dumplings into strips approximately " wide and 2" to 3" long.

After the soup has finished the 20 to 30 minutes of simmering, cook the dumplings.  If you are making floaters, drop heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter on the top of the soup. 
The dumplings should cover the soup.  If you are making sinkers, drop the dumpling strips in, spreading them around the dish.  For both floaters or sinkers don't stir the soup, put a lid on it, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve.

Lastly, if you want chicken noodle soup instead of 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 dumplings but don't simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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