Like many, this time of the year, I find myself reaching for one-dish meals that warm the soul and body. You just cannot go wrong with a hearty batch of chicken and dumplings. Especially if you’ve been working on the ranch/farm, this meal is just perfect. Not to mention just about everyone I know loves chicken and noodles and chicken and dumplings!
This past week it felt like our household took a shift change. We now have a boot jack at the back door! There’s something a bit symbolic about having a boot jack at the door. For me it takes me back to my grandparents’ farm in Monticello, Missouri. There were jacks and definitely scrapers at all the entry doors. Then I took a step towards ‘ranch-style’ with a new winter work coat. I think the cold weather we incurred in Kansas two weeks ago got us moving in this direction.
But I’m not done yet, this week I bought a winter hat! There’s something about being prepared for winter that truly makes a person feel safe. A bit like knowing you have supplemental heat, energy and plenty of food in the freezer.
As a parent I was glad that our son, Phillip, had the opportunity to experience a super cold road trip. With our parental concerns he certainly learned the importance of being prepared. He even insisted we stop and purchase a face mask. Too bad he didn’t make this recommendation after Ervin, my husband, and I both got wind burn from the wind/cold.
The motivation is in place to accomplish as much as possible in my time away from Silver Dollar City. This week I’m packing away the final holiday décor and moving on to more organization in the basement and closets. I am stopping to relax and enjoy my morning coffee. There’s lots to catch up on in a short window of time.
Platte County, look out, I’m headed your way on Sunday, January 21st. I’ll be cooking up a storm at the Lion’s Club building from 1-3 pm. I have five items on the program, but I’m sure 1-2 more will slip in. There are door prizes and a great deal of fun for those attending.
McPherson, Kansas, you will be next with the big Salute to ‘Super Bowl 2018’. I’ll be bringing many of my staff with me to ‘The Cook’s Nook’ in downtown McPherson, Saturday, January 27th, beginning at 10am. The cost at both locations is $35.
In Platte County it’s best to mail reservations to my home address at 160 Queensberry Road, Branson West, 65737. I could handle 2-3 walk-ups, but after that it becomes a bit ‘edgy’, when you’re working with food and numbers.
Press forward to a new week, a good challenge and family. Enjoy the chicken and dumplings. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Chicken and Dumplings
(1) 3-4 pound baking hen
Black Kettle Seasoning salt
Place hen in greased Dutch oven and cover with 6-7 cups of water. Sprinkle the top of the hen with ‘Black Kettle’ Seasoning salt. Place in a 350 degree oven and cook until the juices run clear and the chicken is tender. (Also use a meat thermometer!) The duration of time will vary as to whether the hen is totally thawed or partially frozen. Be sure and remove the gizzards & liver from the internal cavity of the bird. Check the hen in about one hour and fifteen minutes.
When the Hen is done allow to cool and remove all the meat from the bones into bite size pieces. After the stock has been strained and cooled, refrigerate, allowing any grease to congeal to the top. Remove excess fat from top, measure out 6 cups of stock and begin the main recipe.
*This can also be done in the crockpot or on top of the stove. You can also add vegetables and spices to the chicken while it’s baking.
*If you already have stock in the freezer 3-4 boneless chicken breasts would be ample for the recipe.
6 cups fresh chicken stock
1 small onion, chopped
2 large ribs of celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon thyme, flaked
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Black Kettle seasoning salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons cornstarch
Combine all the ingredients together in a large saucepan. Cook until the vegetables are tender. While the vegetables are cooking prepare the dumplings. Make dumplings into a ball the size of a walnut and then pat down. Place on top of the stock and put down the lid. (Should be simmering.) Depending upon the size of the dumpling these should be ready in 6-9 minutes. Remove the dumplings to a plate. Place the remaining dumplings in the stock and cook the last batch. Remove and place on plate. This usually makes 20-24 dumplings. Now mix together the thickening ingredients and add to the stock, stir until consistency thickens. Return dumplings to the stock pan, remove from heat and place lid on top until serving.
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon thyme, flaked
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
Debbie Dance Uhrig