Posts Tagged ‘southern’

This was one of my dad’s favorite dishes that I can remember from my childhood. It was usually always served for his birthday and maybe one other time a year, but this was not something typically made in the home. For me, Chicken and Dumplings is comforting and healing the way Matzo Ball Soup is for my Jewish friends. I simply cannot get enough and there is no pot that can ever make enough dumplings.

I think it’s because the length of cook time can be incredibly long if you make your own chicken stock (which I cannot recommend enough). But if you utilize a pressure cooker, this dish can be put together in about 75 minutes from start to finish. And if you don’t have a pressure cooker, do yourself a favor and still make your own chicken stock ahead of time.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 lbs chicken, shredded
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp thyme, fresh
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4c chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place the chicken stock and shredded chicken in a large stock pot. You can add some of the vegetables from the chicken stock or you can add some fresh celery, carrots, and/or onions to the pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. If adding fresh vegetables, allow 20 minutes or so to soften before eating.

2. Place the butter in the bottom of a medium size stock pot over high heat. When the butter has mostly melted, add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. The flour will immediately soak up the liquid and form a dough. Cook this until the color turns a mustard-ish yellow.

3. Place the dough in a mixing bowl with the two eggs. Mix with a hand mixer until the mixture just comes together. The batter should be thick like cake batter. You do not want to over mix this. Season with pepper if you wish. Add the thyme to the dough and fold in with a wood spoon.

3. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter into the simming chicken stock. When you have filled the pot, cover with a tight fitting lid. Allow the dumplings to cook for 10 – 15 minutes until they are puffed, but firm.

4. Ladle the soup mixture into a wide mouth bowl. Ensure everyone gets a sufficient amount of dumplings. Garnish with more fresh thyme.

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Why kid ourselves? Fried things are delicious and have been for centuries.  But everytime I read an article about health conscious people or doctors trying to scare the world into succumbing to a non-fried, non-carb, all vegan diet, I can’t help but wonder why no one is talking about the concept of moderation. In fact, in the ten years that I’ve really researched food and diet, Weight Watchers is the only organization that makes any attempt to teach people how to make better eating decisions instead of completely cutting out an entire portion of the food pyramid.

From where I sit, it’s relatively simple. If you eat fried foods consistently and make it a staple at your work lunches and last minute dinners, you’re body is not going to react well and you are putting yourself at risk for major health problems. But is there anything wrong with enjoying a fried meal once a week especially if it contains healthier ingredients? I say no. So in that respect, I submit for you a cornmeal based vegetarian fritter that is incredibly easy to prepare and sure to appease most anyone that sits at your dinner table.

Ingredients

  • 1 c packed zucchini, grated
  • 1 c frozen corn kernals (can use fresh off the cob, never canned)
  • 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1/4 c white onion, minced
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • vegetable oil, for frying

1. Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place the corn, zucchini, thyme, and onion in the sauté pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the pan off the heat and let cool.

2. Combine the flour, muffin mix, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. Mix the egg and milk together and pour into the dry mix. Whisk until just combine. Fold in the sauteed vegetables and cilantro. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

     

Note: The batter will be lumpy. This is normal and should be ignored. If you whisk the batter too much, you will develop more gluten and your fritters will be dense. Dense = bad.

4. Heat 2″ worth of vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil has come up to temperature (around 325 degrees), drop a heaping tablespoon of batter into the oil. Repeat until the pan is full but the fritters are not touching.

     

Note: Work in batches. Don’t try to overcrowd the oil. Not only will too much batter lower the temperature of the oil, but your fritters will stick together.

5. When golden brown, flip the fritters over and finish cooking. Set the fritters on some paper towels to drain.

     

Note: To keep fritters warm between batches, set the oven to 200 degrees and place fritters on a sheet pan.

6. Serve fritters alone or with a dipping sauce.

Note: I’m serving these fritters with a spicy remoulade sauce.