chicken and dumplings... or "attack of the mystery bouillon cubes"
I debated for a while whether or not to post this blog, but if you're going to get a virtual view of life in my kitchen, you should know things often go awry, and a large portion of cooking is making mistakes and bouncing back. A metaphor for life, if you will.
Last night, I searched the Web high and low for a suitable chicken and dumplings recipe that did not require a Dutch oven or two hours of prep and cooking time. It was harder than it seems.
I finally found a feasible recipe from food and cooking bloggers Kevin and Amanda. And nearly destroyed it.
If I use substitutions for more than two ingredients, it's automatically anyone's guess as to whether the dish will turn out well. By that rule, it's a miracle this dish was as tasty as it was. So here's the recipe and here's how it went: Creamy Chicken & Dumplings
First of all, this is the first time I've cooked with chicken bouillon cubes. I'm curious why I need special seasoning to make chicken taste more like chicken, but I forge on.
The only bouillon cubes I have are all in Spanish and have been in the back of the cupboard for at least a year, if not longer. They look, smell, and taste like the seasoning you get in a ramen noodle packet. Maybe that should be my first clue. Any way...
I am missing Bisquik, so I use this quick fix substitute of flour, baking powder, salt and shortening.
Lastly, there is no whole milk in the house. So what do I do? Use mostly 2% milk and a tablespoon or so of heavy cream.
In my defense, despite what it looks like, I am thinking this through. The flour/baking powder/salt/shortening combo is how people made biscuits before there was Bisquick. The milk situation has worked for me in the past (after a few regretable experiments with soy milk). And as for the bouillon cubes... well, it was all I had.
I proceed to cook the recipe as directed. Boiling the chicken in the cubes. Boiling the eggs. I even decide to add carrots and onions to the celery and a hint of sage and thyme to round out the flavor.
Midway through the cooking, things are going amazingly well. Eggs look good, my portions for vegetables are all cut and ready to go. My dumplings are sitting pretty in the pot.
And 20 minutes later, still sitting pretty in the pot... and not cooked in the least.
I test one after the alloted time passes and it is just as spongy and doughy as the moment I put it in. I tell my roommate it looks like I'm cooking brains.
Thank God for a roommate who cooks too by the way. She notes that the left burner on the oven is tricky, and lo and behold she is right. What I dialed as "low" was barely keeping the pot warm.
I turn it up to medium. It simmers but still doesn't cook. I'm starting to use language unbecoming of a lady.
Last resort, I pour the whole thing into a deep glass pan and put it in the oven at 350 degrees. That does it.
I'll be honest, the dish is a bit salty. I'm blaming the mystery bouillon cubes. I needed to use about one less. But overall, really tasty. I think the sage and thyme are excellent additions.
To store it, I seperate the dumplings from the chicken soup so they don't dissolve into each other (another tip from my roommate).
So hats off to Kevin and Amanda for this indestructable chicken and dumplings recipe. Even I couldn't ruin it.
P.S. Tonight, when I reheated it, I added potatoes to ease the saltiness. It works.