Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tomorrow's Lunch: Chicken and Dumplings with Green Beans

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This is a great recipe to make after the grilled chicken meal because it's so different but uses so many of the same ingredients. I only used chicken thighs to make this (because we ate the remaining drumsticks hot-wing style while watching basketball!) but if you buy a package of both thighs and drumsticks for two servings of the first recipe, you should have two thighs and four drumsticks leftover, which should be around the same amount of meat.

The dumplings are based on the formula used in this recipe for Chicken and Dumplings from Simply Recipes. Now, I have no doubt that that entire recipe is delicious, and I'm saving it for a lazy winter Saturday when I want to do nothing but putter around the kitchen all day. But it's got a long list of ingredients and looks like it may take a lot of finesse to get right, so it's not the kind of thing I want to whip up on a weeknight. I've cut out a few steps by using store bought chicken broth and foregoing some of the finer ingredients (dry sherry?) and techniques.

Ingredients on hand:
4-6 chicken pieces (thighs or drumsticks)
Remaining onion
Remaining green beans
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
Special equipment:
None

Additional ingredients:
1 32 oz. box chicken broth (I used Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth from Whole Foods)
4 cups water (free!)
4 carrots (I used Earthbound Farm organic carrots from Key Food)
1/4 cup fresh or 2 teaspoons dried herbs, optional (I used Simply Organic dried parsley from Whole Foods)

Recipe

Serves four.

Boil the entire box of broth along with four cups of water in a large pot (much of the water will boil off.) While the pot is heating, remove the skin from the chicken. It's fine you don't get it all, you'll be taking the meat off the bone eventually anyway. When the broth is boiling, add the chicken pieces and reduce the heat. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the dumplings. Stir all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, herbs) together. Melt the butter in the microwave (about 20 seconds) and pour it into the milk. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the milk mixture in. Stir gently to incorporate everything. The dough should be cohesive but not necessarily in the shape of a ball. The problem with stirring too much is that the dumplings will be too dense (this is also why you don't want to form them into balls before you drop them in the soup.)

Remove the chicken pieces from the broth after 20 minutes and let rest until they're cool enough to handle. Reduce the heat to low and chop the carrots, onions and frozen green beans into bite size pieces. When the chicken has cooled (about 10 minutes) remove the meat from the bones (I didn't even bother with a knife) and add the chicken meat and carrots back into the stock.

With a large teaspoon (the kind you eat with), spoon chunks of the dumpling mixture onto the top of the broth mixture. Fully cover the pot and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through. No peaking - leave the cover on the whole time so that the dumplings will steam. Remove the cover after 15 minutes and check to see if the dumplings are done - I just chopped one in half and ate it to find out! Add the onions and green beans and simmer another 5 minutes, or 10 minutes if the dumplings weren't fully cooked. You're done! Either eat it now or let it cool a bit and transfer to several lunch-ready containers.

Cost

It turns that everything I used in this recipe is 100% organic too! You can of course use whatever you find at the store, but since you really only need two additional ingredients and carrots are near the top of the Environmental Working Group's list of produce items with the highest levels of pesticide residue, it couldn't hurt...

Chicken
Onion
Green beans
Flour
Baking powder
Salt
Butter
Milk
Chicken broth
Carrots
Dried parsley
Total: 
$5.15 (4 pieces, organic)
$0.61 (half onion/140 grams, organic)
$0.40 (1/3 package/100 grams, organic)
$0.83 (2 cups, organic)
$0.05 (2 tsp.)
$0.01 (3/4 tsp.)
$0.30 (2 tbsp, organic)
$0.39 (6 oz., organic)
$3.49 (32 oz. at $3.49 a box, organic)
$0.99 (4 carrots/half pound at $1.99 a pound, organic)
$0.35 (2 tsp. at $4.99/7 oz. bottle, organic)
$12.57

This recipe makes about four servings, stores for at least two days and is really filling, so for a 100% organic meal I have to say this is pretty darn good deal. About $3.14 per serving! I sent The Expert to work with a giant mug full (pictured above) and he wasn't even hungry for dinner later that night! You can just serve yourself a smaller portion if you're worried about that, of course.

3 comments:

  1. YUM. That looks SO GOOD! Great job, Di!

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  2. you know, you make it really hard to live in a van and eat only non-perishables that can be boiled on a camping stove.

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  3. Yeah, you're going to have to make these for us. They look amazing!

    ReplyDelete