Recipe Review: Chicken and Dumplings

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Chicken and Dumplings

From Eat at Home

http://eatathomecooks.com/2009/07/homemade-chicken-and-dumplings-its-easy-really.html

chicken and dumplings served up

chicken and dumplings served up

When I’m blogging I usually let the occasion or what sounds yummy dictate the recipe I choose. This time, I was a little stumped on which direction to go. I asked Chris for his opinion on what I should make for the blog. “Something good”, he replied. When I pressed him to elaborate, he shrugged. “I don’t know…comfort food, something Southern and something I’d like”.

What Chris and I find comforting are two totally different things. I like things such as fettuccine alfredo, pad thai, and chicken tikka masala. Chris finds comfort in Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes smothered in gravy. We both can (for the most part) appreciate the other’s comfort cravings, but what speaks to the soul for one doesn’t translate for the other. One of the things I know that soothes Chris is the very southern chicken and dumplings, so I decided I would make it for him.

The ingredients for the comfort food extravaganza

The ingredients for the comfort food extravaganza

This chicken and dumplings recipe from the blog Eat at Home is very straight forward. I suggest using leftover cooked chicken if you have it. Otherwise save yourself the hassle and buy a rotisserie bird to shred. To me part of this recipe’s appeal is the simplicity (AKA: quick cooking time). If you really want to roast your own bird and let it cool, go right ahead. Just be prepared to add a few hours to your prep-time.

shredded rotisserie chicken

shredded rotisserie chicken

the rolled out dumplings, before they go into the pot

the rolled out dumplings, before they go into the pot

The dumplings themselves couldn’t be easier. They’re flour, baking powder, milk, and salt. I added ground pepper to the dough because I find the dumplings too bland without it. Actually, I season the recipe the whole way through. This includes the dumplings, cooking liquid, and one final time before I serve. I also think a dash or two of hot sauce would be fantastic, though I’ve yet to try it.

the dumplings starting to simmer

the dumplings starting to simmer

The recipe states that the dumplings cook in 15-20 minutes. I’ve found that getting them fully cooked actually takes about 25-30 minutes plus it gives the sauce more time to thicken. I mix in my shredded chicken three minutes before I serve so that everything can get all saucy together.

the dumplings just before serving

the dumplings just before serving

Once completed and bowled out, I think chicken and dumplings resembles mod-podge or clumpy grade school glue; but don’t be alarmed by its unappealing appearance. This recipe is meaty, silky, creamy and comforting.  Chris loved it; he had two bowls that night and asked to take it for lunch the next day. When he requests leftovers from the night before, I know it’s a success.

Yes, I needed to add some green

Yes, I needed to add some green

I don’t have cravings for Chicken and dumplings like Chris does but I do enjoy a bowl from time to time. It’s the kind of meal that suits a rainy movie night or a weekend where you’re recovering from a cold. I’d also recommend this recipe for college students who need a good southern meal, cold or not. I also think it’s good for those times when you need to comfort a boyfriend from North Carolina… and it’s a lot nicer than heating up a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle.

This is so much better than Campbells

This is so much better than Campbells

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Recipe Review: A Batch of Cumber-cookies

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Sugar Cookies

From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Sherlock and Dr. Watson cookies

Sherlock and Dr. Watson cookies

                I have a small obsession with the BBC television series Sherlock. I stumbled upon it around three or four years ago thanks to Netflix.

BBC Sherlock

BBC Sherlock

I was instantly blown away by the writing and the performances of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes. I think I’ve watched “A Scandal of Belgravia” at least 20 times; I idolize Lara Pulver’s Irene Adler and would kill for her wardrobe. And Cumberbatch…oh Cumberbatch…. He has the voice of a jaguar, the eyes of an angel , and his goofy little smile…*sigh*

Via the Huffington Post. Isn't he dreamy?

Via the Huffington Post. Isn’t he dreamy?

Ok, anyway, most of my friends know of my love for Sherlock and support me in my habit. For my 30th birthday last week I received two gifts relating to the “high functioning sociopath”. Chris gave me the Sherlock version of Cluedo, which can only be purchased from Great Britain (have I mentioned that Chris is awesome lately?). My friend Natalie gifted me with 3 Sherlock themed cookie cutters found on Etsy. I decided I would use these cookie cutters as soon as I could and make sugar cookies.

                Several cookbooks I own have sugar cookie recipes but most called for an odd ingredient I didn’t have or have enough of in house. This Martha Stewart Baking Handbook recipe was straight forward and required no shopping. It does include 4 sticks of butter, so if you were looking for a less caloric recipe, you might wanna skip this one.

                A note to readers, the sugar cookie recipe I’ve found on Martha’s website is not the one found in her baking cookbook, I am not sure how different the one on the web is, sorry!

                The sugar cookie dough took fifteen minutes at most to mix, roll out, wrap in plastic, and stick in the refrigerator. I ended up rolling out cookies the next morning.

a Cumbercookie

a Cumbercookie

The recipe states that the dough should be a ¼ inch thick, which I figured I could easily eyeball. After transferring my first batch to the baking sheet, I put a ruler on my shopping list. I suggest you may want to do the same if you don’t already have one. While I’m giving advice, I also recommend lots of flour on your work surface, rolling pin, and cookie cutters. Flour is a big help in making sure your cookie cutter details don’t get ruined when you try to remove the cutter from the dough. I also suggest an offset spatula to move the cookies to the baking sheet. If you don’t have that kind of spatula be prepared for some malformed doors and a few Sherlocks with eyes missing. Somehow my Watson cookies didn’t suffer from any injury or deformity. I find this funny, given John’s limp in the first episode.

Perfect Dr. Watson Cookie

Perfect Dr. Watson Cookie

Deformed Sherlock....

Deformed Sherlock….

                My cookie batch (hee hee) baked in less time than the recipe describes. It took more like 12 to 13 minutes, not 15. The cookies are simple, sweet, and buttery, which is exactly what I hope for in this type of cookie and Chris also seemed to be a really big fan. The recipe suggests icing the cookies, but I couldn’t wait that long to take a bite out of Mr. Cumberbatch (though licking icing off his face does sound appealing. I might try icing the next set I bake; I still have a good amount of dough in my fridge. But for now, I think I will re-watch “The Empty Hearse” and look into the case of the missing sugar cookies.

My first baking sheet of Baker street. I think I was starting to get the hang of it

My first baking sheet of Baker street. I think I was starting to get the hang of it