Chicken and Dumplings, ala Brainwagon

December 8, 2004 | Cooking and Recipes, General | By: Mark VandeWettering

It’s cold (or what passes for cold in California) and rainy today, so it’s time to cook up something healthy and delicious. Here’s my recipe (such as it is) for home-made Chicken and Dumplings, inspired by a similar recipe that I saw on Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals. Nothing about this meal is cast in stone, substitute whatever you like.

  • Begin by putting your largest pot onto the stove and heat it to medium high. Dice a largish onion or two smaller ones, and cook those in a tablespoon of olive oil until they are translucent. Or until you get the rest of the veggies chopped.
  • The rest of the veggies are a couple stalks of celery and two carrots. Dice them up, and add them to the onions. Add a pinch or two of kosher salt. Cook until bored.
  • Chop up some boneless chicken into inch size chunks. Dump into the pot. Stir occasionally. Brown until bored.
  • Open a big can of lowfat/low sodium chicken broth. Add it in, and then turn up the heat until it begins to bubble.
  • Peel and chop two russet potatoes. Dump ’em in.
  • Let cook at a strong simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Take two cups of Bisquick, 3/4 cup of milk, and some chopped sage. Mix into a biscuit batter, which you drop by spoonfuls into the boiling pot of chickeny goodness. Dump some sage into the broth too.
  • Wait 15 or 20 minutes. Serve in big bowls with some fresh ground black pepper.

Each batch I make turns out a bit different. My wife loves this stuff. Guaranteed to make you feel warm inside. Chicken thighs actually make for a better tasting stew, but a little higher in fat. You can also add bayleaf or oregano or thyme or rosemary, whatever you like. This dish goes back to my basic philosophy of food: start with good ingredients, don’t screw with ’em too much and you’ll make something tasty.

Addendum: Cooking is a great geek hobby, with obvious benefits. Plenty of gadgets and books to buy, a modicum of science and lots of hands on work.


Comment from Julian
Time 12/8/2004 at 7:29 pm

Mmm.. sounds perfect for Seattle winters (where it unquestionably DOES get cold)! I’d replace the canned chicken soup with the stuff that comes in the rectangular paper brick containers, even it’s from the same company (i.e. Swanson’s) – something about canning seems to ruin the flavor. (By the way, I call these “Tetrapaks”, but Susan gives me a funny look whenever I say that.) Of course my mom gets appalled when she finds out I *buy* chicken soup instead of making it from scratch..

Editor’s Note: Well, of course home made chicken stock is better, and I’ve begun to make my own more often, but it is kind of a weekend project, rather than something I can put together after work. If you want to make stock from scratch, you coul do worse than following Alton Brown’s formulation for chicken stock. I normally don’t cook whole chickens, so I tend not to have chicken carcasses, so I use wings instead (good plain ones, not those broth/salt infested kind you get frozen). Works great, and pretty economical. 3lbs of wings can cost as little as $6 or so, and makes a gallon or more of stock. Good stuff.