Monday, September 20, 2010

Simple Suppers: Chicken & Dumplings

It's unanimous. You want some simple supper ideas.

Your wish is my command.

First up: chicken & dumplings.

Oh, how this dish brings back memories of childhood. It is comfort food in its finest form.

There are endless recipes out there. Many of them are rooted in family tradition. Passed down from generation to generation. A foodie version of a folk tale.

This is not the chicken & dumpling recipe I grew up with. I'm breaking ranks.

This is my own version. It's a bit healthier; there is less sodium, more vegetables, whole grain dumplings. It has a thicker, richer broth. The dumplings are more dense. And the simplicity can't be beat.

Confession: I like this version better. Shhhhhh.

My recipe isn't really a recipe. You won't need a measuring cup for this meal.

Mind you, all these amounts are approximate and can be adjusted for your family's tastes. Add or take-away as you please. You really can't mess it up.

Simple Chicken & Dumplings

1 package of chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 large carton of low sodium chicken broth
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
4-5 stalks of celery, chopped
half a bag of cut carrots
large pinch of thyme
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can whole wheat biscuits
salt & pepper to taste

Heat a large pot and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add the chicken broth. Add the chicken thighs. Cover and let cook over medium heat until chicken is done.

Add the celery, carrots, thyme. Cook until vegetables are soft.

Add the cream of chicken soup and stir to incorporate. Heat until just boiling. Tear the unbaked biscuits into bite size pieces and drop them into the broth. Cover with a lid. Let cook until the dumplings have cooked through and puffed up.

Eat a bowl and take a trip down food-memory lane.

Some notes:

Use chicken thighs. The flavor it imparts makes this dish a star. Trim the excess fat to ease guilt.

Leave the chicken thighs in large pieces. It's less work and it seems to give the broth a richer flavor.

Obviously you can cut your own carrots and make your own dumplings from scratch. But this is all about simplicity. Ready to go items can be a lifesaver during the dinner time crunch.

Feel free to add more vegetables. I went basic for this version.

This recipe makes a large pot of deliciousness. More than enough for dinner and lunches the next day.

Trust me. You'll want some leftovers.