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Chicken and Dumplings

My thanks go out to Emma in the blogosphere - this recipe is for you!

Ingredients

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces
8 cups chicken broth
a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme (or a ½-1 tsp of dried thyme)
kosher salt, fresh ground pepper to taste

Dumplings

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup water

finely chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

Warm a large wide pot and pour in EVOO, two turns of the pan. Put in the onion, garlic and carrot, cooking in the oil until softened. Add the chicken pieces, broth, thyme and salt and pepper, simmering until the chicken is tender, 30 minutes or more. Remove the chicken and set it aside. When cool enough to handle, skin and bone the chicken and shred or cut it into bite sized pieces. If desired, skim the chicken fat off the surface of the broth.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the flour baking powder and salt. Using a food processor, pastry blender, or two knives, cut in the butter until it is the size of very small peas and distributed throughout the dry ingredients. Add the water and knead 8 to 10 times. If the dough seems too sticky, add a little more flour. Roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares.

Bring the broth up to a rolling boil, drop in the dumplings, cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through. Toward the end of the 10 minutes, put the shredded chicken back into the pot. Be careful not to overcook, as it will cause the dumplings to fall apart. Stir in some finely chopped flat-leaf parsley to brighten the flavor.

My 2 Cents: Some people ask why I put the carrot in my recipe, which is somewhat different than a "traditional" dumpling recipe. I like the depth of flavor it adds to broth. Even though it will mostly cook away since it is grated, the flavor remains. I would also add that I cut the dumplings fairly small in order to speed the cooking process up. Growing up, my mom would actually form the dough into a larger ball shape, and just cook them a bit longer. It is tasty either way! Lastly, you can speed up the cooking process by purchasing a roasted chicken from the grocery store and using it instead of a fresh chicken. I would recommend that if you do this, cut the wings off the bird and simmer them with the broth for a few minutes in order to get that "cooked all day" flavor. Just scoop them out when you would normally scoop out the chicken in the recipe.

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