Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken Commits Savory Suicide in Crock Pot of Tasty Broth: Film at Eleven

There is a recipe for chicken and dumplings on the Crock Pot Girls website that calls for canned chicken (YEGADS!) or some folks swap out boneless, skinless breasts, but I did not like the sound of either of those options. I like to use the whole chicken which creates a very flavorful stock. But I did succomb to the "cheater" option on the dumplings using...wait for it...refrigerator biscuits! I still think that you can't beat Reame's frozen egg noodles for this type of application, but the biscuits made fine little "quickie" dumplings, not unlike those that one enjoys at Cracker Barrel. The following describes my methodology, beginning with a humorous picture of the chicken dropping trou and diving head first into the broth to meet his savory fate. (Tee hee.)

I put a whole (still partially frozen, I must admit) chicken in my five-quart crock pot and filled it with water. I added a generous tablespoon of chicken soup base and a bunch of fresh thyme, two sprigs of fresh sage leaves, and a couple of bay leaves. In a skillet, I sauteed one large onion, two stalks of celery, and two large carrots, all diced, along with about a teaspoon of minced garlic (2 cloves) and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. When the veggies were tender, I tossed them in the pot with the chicken.

I cooked this on high for about six hours until the chicken started to break apart. (I turned it over a couple of times when I happened to be passing through the kitchen, because it wasn't entirely submerged in the broth.) I removed the chicken, and let it cool, fished out the whole herbs and threw them away. I also skimmed the excess fat from the top of the broth. Then I deskinned and deboned the chicken, breaking it into bite-sized chunks with my hands.

In the meantime, I added three cans (or one family-sized can) of cream of chicken soup (actually, it was two chicken and one mushroom and roasted garlic this time around) and about a cup of chopped, fresh parsley to the broth. Then I used two cans of buttermilk biscuits, each piece of dough cut into quarters, and cooked them in the boiling liquid for about a half hour. I added the reserved chicken pieces back to the pot, et VOILA! Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings! DELISH, and we have plenty of leftovers which I plan to serve tomorrow night over mashed potatoes, in the midwestern tradition. YUM!

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