Chicken & Dumplings & Road Trippin’

The Covered Dish

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Being out of town this last weekend for a mere 36 hours did me a world of good.
The drive to Fort Smith, Arkansas was beautiful, and the people we encountered along the way were gracious, which is not always the way these days.

We traveled south to attend the first birthday of our nephew’s son. It was a lovely afternoon sitting in the sunshine, (not sweating) and visiting with family. I had hoped my husband, Ervin, and I would have some time for ourselves, because we haven’t had time for just us lately. As luck would have it; I got to shop a bit, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner out at AJ’s Oyster House in Fort Smith and Rumor, our Corgi, had a great time too. Our accomodations at the Hampton Inn, were also perfect.

After the wonderful dinner at AJ’s the night before we were both looking forward to another local delight at a restaurant that served fresh cinnamon rolls before the meal. The reviews on line were good, so we went. The clients kept coming through the door, but we could not understand why? I ordered chicken & dumplings because the waitstaff said they were very good. Ervin had a round steak with some healthy sides. Whenever I experience something really disturbing at a restaurant I usually come home and make it immediately, as if I need to fix my tastebuds. This time, however, I pulled up my chicken and dumplings recipe, and reading it did the trick. It wasn’t able to fix the over cooked patty that Ervin received, however; Rumor was thankful for that! Oh yes, what were my chicken and dumplings like? A bowl of mushy stuff, with about 4 tidbits of chicken, amazingly it didn’t taste extremely bad, but the look was disgusting.

Except for the intriguing meal we experienced on Sunday the trip was still wonderful. Driving through the state of Arkansas was relaxing and so very
beautiful.

My attached recipe is very simple to prepare. You could even do it in the crock-pot and get the chicken ready while you were at work. Again; fix a salad and you could entertain with this dish.

I would like to present a culinary pet peeve today, and I would love it if some of you would send me your thoughts on this subject, and your opinions. As the norm, I had a cup of coffee while we were waiting on our meal this past Sunday. Inside my napkin was a fork and a knife, being a cream & sugar gal, this meant I needed a spoon. You got it, no spoons, and no wait staffs in site to ask, etc. I had to use my fork to stir my coffee. This is fine when I’m camping or in my car, but not in a restaurant, and certainly not in my home. WHY? The first thought is how we are not teaching our children the proper way to eat at a table. The second thought is basically laziness and not wanting to wash utensils!!! My staff and myself were fastidious with the washing of silverware, we not only washed it once, we usually washed them 3-4 times!!! It was extremely important to our crew to bring the best of everything to our clients.

There are ways to solve the spoon issue, but the best is to put all 3 pieces of silverware on the table. So, what’s your opinion? In school we were never given knives after elementary school, we had to ask for one in High School. I truly would like to hear! Now; if we could just teach folks the proper way to put toilet tissue on a roller. (By the way it is over, not under!)

The temperature has cooled it is truly time for chicken and noodles. If you would like to see me working in the kitchen check out facebook @ 4OzarkSeniors and you’ll see me cooking up a storm. I can also be found in a new website coming from Northeast Missouri called the ‘LewiscountyScoop’. It’s being called an on-line magazine. This location starts in just a few more weeks. I’m planning 2 spots each month. One will be a feature recipe originating from Lewis County, Missouri, and the second spot will ‘hopefully’ be a video. Did someone say ‘busy’, yep, and it does keep me out of trouble. Simply yours, The Covered Dish.
(Sorry about the long column!)

Chicken and Dumplings

(1) 3-4 pound baking hen
Water
Your favorite seasoning salt

Place hen in greased Dutch oven and cover with 6-7 cups of water. Sprinkle the top of the hen with a 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 all ready 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
Thickening
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.

Dumplings
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon thyme, flaked
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil

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