Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cheater Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

Now before any of you start yelling at me... I will fully admit that my posts run the entire gamut of "made from scratch," and "right from the garden," all the way to "cheater cheater" recipes that take liberal advantage of convenience foods that you can pick up quickly on your way home from work.  On one former post that ended up on Pinterest, someone wrote in horror at the use of canned biscuits and store bought meatballs.  Well you know what?  There are times when you have TIME, and other times when you have NO time but still want to cook for your family.  There are also times when a novice cook wants home-cooked comfort, but is intimidated by certain techniques.  For those times, there is absolutely nothing wrong with incorporating convenience items!  Believe me, the kids will still much prefer that to picking up take out.  

Well this is one of those cheater cheater recipes.  We had four baseball games scheduled yesterday evening, then a wave of torrential rain moved in.  Dinner wasn't exactly "planned" if you know what I mean.  And over here, dark rainy evenings demand comfort food.  .... plus my three year old asked for "chicken and dunklings," so here we are.  Nope, this may not be Grandma's "cook ALL day," made from scratch chicken and dumplings, but who cares?  They are easy, good, and the kids love them!  They also required very little kitchen skills, so you may recommend them to someone just getting into the kitchen.

  • a rotisserie chicken. Almost every grocery store has them hot nowadays... just waiting for you
  • a box of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 - 1 cup evaporated milk in the can
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • a can of biscuits - doesn't matter what kind
  • salt, pepper, poultry seasoning
  • flour 
  • a few sprigs of thyme for garnish (optional)




Step-by-step
When you get home, strip the meat from the carcass of the chicken.  Seriously, aren't rotisserie chickens one of the best things around?  They are hot, juicy, well seasoned, already cooked, and actually less expensive than buying a whole raw chicken!
The meat from one rotisserie chicken.
Cover the meat in a bowl, and throw the carcass into a pot covered with the chicken broth and water to cover the chicken.  Season the water with salt, pepper, and a little poultry seasoning.  Get that on first and let your broth "build" flavor while you go about your afternoon business - putting up groceries, checking homework, getting hugs and kisses, etc.  
chicken bones and skin, plus chicken broth and water.
I let it boil for about an hour and a half to extract the flavor out of the bones, skin, etc.  Using the parts that you would have thrown away (skin, bones) to make the broth really stretches the buck out of that $5/6 dollar chicken!!  If you want, you can add a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  Just throw them in whole.  The little tender leaves will separate from the stems, which you can fish out later.  (You could also do this part ahead of time and have the broth ready in the fridge when you get home.)

For the dumplings (dunklings), liberally sprinkle your work surface with all purpose flour.  Arrange the biscuits on the flour.  Sprinkle the biscuits with a mixture of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  It may seem odd to you  that I season the dough, but this ensures that I have seasoning at every level of the dish.
a can of refrigerator biscuits. 
salt, pepper, poultry seasoning
Season each biscuit.  The seasoning will be pressed into them when you roll them out.
Sprinkle a bit more flour so your rolling pin won't stick.
Roll them dumplings out very thin (larger than my hand) and make easy work of cutting them by rolling over them with a pizza wheel.  I often let Canon and Lily help me roll out and cut the dumplings.  Don't worry if they aren't all the same.  Again - who cares?  You are spending time together and they are learning skills and having fun.  Period.  Keep it all in perspective.  Gather up the dumpling pieces with the flour and set them to rest in a plate.  The more flour you pick up with them, the thicker your final broth, so adjust according to the preferences of your family/guests.
About this size.  Geez... that's vague, huh?
Make it fun.  Run a pizza cutter through them.  Let the kids do it.  This isn't the Food Network.  Anne Burrell isn't going to fuss at you if your knife cuts are not all the same.   (No offense, Anne.  Love ya!)
I like them rolled out VERY thin.  You can see the seasoning in them.
Let them rest while you fish out all the "stuff" from your broth.  I could have probably used a little bit more flour than I have here for a little thicker broth.


(You could also make these dumplings ahead of time and put them in the fridge.)
After the broth has "developed," remove all pieces and parts of the carcass with a spider or by using a strainer.  Bring the broth to a boil and add the dumplings.
See how nice and rich our broth has gotten from all those "left over" chicken parts?
At first, they will puff up and get super fluffy.  Don't worry.  They won't stay that way.
Add the butter and evaporated milk and give them a good few stirs.  Let them cook on about a medium to medium high boil for about 15 minutes.  The dumplings will thin out and drop down, and the broth will thicken.  It's like magic.
3 Tbsp butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk.  You could use regular milk or even cream if you want.  It's your dish.
Give it a good stir and walk away for a while.
It seems they have disappeared.  I told you they would drop down.
Now, you can turn off the heat (or turn to low heat) and add in the cooked, rotisserie chicken.  I am enlisting a helper for this.
Adding the chicken is a good activity for Lily... but one piece at a time was gonna take a while!
By the spoon full worked better.  LOL
Yummm... is it starting to look more familiar now?
At this point, we have done very little real "work" and have thick creamy broth and tender dumplings.  Adding the chicken back at the end ensures that it won't be overcooked and dry.. and also that it won't break up into sheds (we prefer nice healthy hunks of chicken).  

Serve to some people you love.. and stay dry and cozy.  Enjoy family time.  
Don't let anybody make you feel bad about taking short cuts in the kitchen.  If it works for you, do it.  I actually began making the dumplings this way on a ski trip years ago... You know the kind - where you have a very limited pantry and some of those mountain town grocery stores are iffy.  I was so pleased with the result and the EASE that I continued to make them this way.

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Looking for more comforting soup recipes like this?
Please visit my Recipe Index for lots of ideas to cook with/for your family.  Almost all of my recipes have step-by-step photos, and things that your kids can help you with for good old "together" time.  

Here are a few recipes to get your wheels turning:
Cajun Corn Chowder

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

French Onion Soup
Taco Soup

Written Directions:
Strip the meat from the carcass of the rotisserie chicken.  Cover the meat in a bowl, and throw the carcass into a pot covered with the chicken broth and water to cover the chicken.  Season the water with salt, pepper, and a little poultry seasoning.  Boil for about an hour and a half to extract the flavor out of the bones, skin, etc.  If you want, you can add a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  Just throw them in whole.  The little tender leaves will separate from the stems, which you can fish out later.  (You could also do this part ahead of time and have the broth ready in the fridge when you get home.)

For the dumplings, liberally sprinkle your work surface with all purpose flour.  Arrange the biscuits on the flour.  Sprinkle the biscuits with a mixture of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  Roll them dumplings out very thin (larger than my hand) and make easy work of cutting them by rolling over them with a pizza wheel.  Gather up the dumpling pieces with the flour and set them to rest in a plate.  The more flour you pick up with them, the thicker your final broth, so adjust according to the preferences of your family/guests. (You could also make these dumplings ahead of time and put them in the fridge.)

After the broth has "developed," remove all pieces and parts of the carcass with a spider or by using a strainer.  Bring the broth to a boil and add the dumplings. At first, they will puff up and get super fluffy.  Don't worry.  They won't stay that way.  Add the butter and evaporated milk and give them a good few stirs.  Let them cook on about a medium to medium high boil for about 15 minutes.  The dumplings will thin out and drop down, and the broth will thicken.  It's like magic.

Now, you can turn off the heat (or turn to low heat) and add in the cooked, rotisserie chicken. At this point, we have done very little real "work" and have thick creamy broth and tender dumplings.  Adding the chicken back at the end ensures that it won't be overcooked and dry.. and also that it won't break up into sheds (we prefer nice healthy hunks of chicken).

32 comments:

  1. I love what I like to call semi-homemade meals! I use rotisserie chickens all the time. Way better than going out! I'm not a dumplings fan but I'm making your chicken taquitos for lunch tomorrow! I love egg roll wrappers and I love that these are baked! I am always looking for ways to make a meal a little healthier.

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    1. Thanks, Ashley_Nichol. And I completely agree, serving your family at home is way better than going out. Good luck with the taquitos.. and thanks for visiting my blog!

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  2. Great blog! I'm a newlywed wife, still trying to find my way around the kitchen (and the grocery store!). I am a grazer...eating fruits, veggies, and cheese all day...but my husband likes full meals and lots of meat. So I'm learning. I'm making this recipe right now and perusing through your other ones. Very impressive and easy to follow. Thanks!

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  3. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe..I am actually very excited that I will have time to make this for my family. Working full time & caring for three children is very time consuming & most nights its just easier to pick up fast food. Again cant wait to get home to try this meal.

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  4. Hello! I made this for dinner all though it is a little time consuming its WONDERFUL and well worth the wait. Best if all it is super easy! I can't wait to try more of your recipes!

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    1. I'm SO pleased that you enjoyed it! I am all about easy if it gets a hot, home cooked meal on the table... and tastes great. :) This is my daughter's ULTIMATE comfort meal, and makes her feel that all is right in the world. So I'm very happy to share it!
      Thanks so much for dropping me a line, and for visiting the blog. Please come back again!!
      Julie

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  5. This recipe is very vague. Need more details and less fluff.

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    1. I am not certain which part of the recipe you find offensive. Since you weren't very specific in your comment, I'm afraid I am unable to speak to it directly. The perspective of this recipe is one of very little "science" and lots of "just go with it." Many novice cooks worry about everything being very exact, such as the dumplings being a certain millimeter of thickness. All of those things are poppycock in a recipe like this. It's touchy feely for a reason... although the measurements are there. As for the "fluff," well this is the beauty of having a personal blog. If I want to show my young daughter helping out, I don't have the sterile constraints of a "recipe website" ... a blog truly is very personal.

      Best wishes. I hope you find the type of recipe that suits your needs. Julie

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    2. awesome response!!

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  6. I am not sure how many more "details" Anonymous needs for this recipe, I find it to be precise on what is needed. As for the "fluff", I love the fact that you add your personal notes, such as your daughter helping place the chicken in one piece at a time lol! It shows that you have actually made the recipe and you are not just copying to your blog! I have went through quite a few of your recipes this morning and have copied the ones I will be trying! Thank you so much, you are definitely helping people like me, that tend to get stuck making the same meals over and over again! By the way, the definition of "blog" is: A Web site on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc.
    Have a great day!

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    Replies
    1. Oh Missy.... I'm sending you a great big cyber hug and smooch for that!!!!! You've just made my morning!
      Thanks for finding me, and tagging some of the recipes for later. I appreciate you stopping by. I hope that you will subscribe to the blog (right about the logo on the right), that way, you can receive the newsletters and notifications of new posts. And if there's something else you'd like to see on there, let me know.
      Please drop me a line when you try the recipes and let me know what you think.... despite all the "fluff!" :)

      Julie

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  7. I am in the process of making this recipe right now. My house smells wonderful and I can only imagine how amazing this will taste! Thank you for sharing this. As a child I remember my grandmother working hours on homemade chicken and dumplings. It was always one of my favorite meals, but never one that I mastered. I love the picture that you included of your daughter helping out. It is so hard to find easy homemade meals to fix after teaching all day. I have subscribed to your blog for lots of new ideas. Thank you again for sharing.

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  8. OMG this is so funny! I do this too...BUT I haven't thought of rolling out the dough and cutting it. That's a pretty good idea :) Here is my recipe from my blog. Check it out to see what I have done with my version. I originally started making it this way years ago when my husband and I were just "poor college students" LOL.
    http://thethriftyhippie.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/fast-and-easy-chicken-and-dumplings-stew/

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  9. Hi Julie - just found your blog and so far love your recipes! I've made chicken and dumplings with rotisserie chicken, but instead of biscuits I use refrigerated pie crusts - less rolling, less work. Hadn't thought to season the dumplings themselves though - great idea, I'll have to try that too!

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  10. Hi Julie ... Just made the Chicken & Dumplings. It was fantastic, flavorful and best of all easy.

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  11. Found your blog today looking for some easy, but still homey recipes that this pregnant mama can muster the energy to make. Just tasted this and omg! Tastes like I worked really hard. Loving this super simple comfort meal for a cold night like tonight!

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  12. Just made this for dinner, and it turned out amazing! It would be a perfect meal for the middle of winter, and it cooks up so quickly. For those wanting more specific measurements, I did not use a rotisserie chicken. I made a whole chicken for dinner last night, and used the carcass to make stock. I used 6 cups of homemade chicken stock and 2 cups of water, brought it to a boil and added the cut up biscuits, butter, and just shy of 1 cup heavy whipping cream (it's what I had in the house). Then I added the leftover chicken. Turned out nice and thick and rich, perfect comfort food.

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  13. I love this recipe I've made it twice now...and the only thing I think I would do next time is add another can of biscuits bc I love the dumplings part!!! And I never get enough of them!

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  14. Made this tonight! The taste was amazing. Even my very picky 4 year and 6 year old boys ate it. Will make this again!

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  15. Can't wait to try this! Sounds amazing!

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  16. When I was a child my grandmother made her chicken & dumplings with canned biscuits just the plain, cheap biscuits. She did not roll them but separated them by the layers. Of course rotisserie chicken was not around back then. She also made her peach cobbler with canned biscuit dumplings & a criss-cross pie crust topping rather the the more cake like peach cobbler. Both were some of my favorite childhood meals; brings back memories

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  17. You remind me of ME...about 20 years ago. It is a life lesson...haters gonna hate and someone is always going to bitch and gritch about every little thing. I will not repeat my phrase for this but it is not even slightly polite and that is followed by total disinterest in their further opinion. you are doing a GREAT job. Your children are eating good food, home cooked with parents present. I think this makes you a 1 percenter in the US today. Do not listen to anyone who says otherwise. this looks like a great recipe and I can't wait to try this one and several others. Carry on! Samantha

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    1. Samantha - big cyber love to you! Julie

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  18. I always use canned biscuits for my chicken and dumplings. I learned that from my grandmother and mom. I use either evaporated milk or half and half. I also have used flour tortillas cut in strips for dumplings if I don't have biscuits. Never apologize for shortcuts. If it tastes good in the end, that's all that counts. Donna

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  19. This was ah-mahh-zing!! Loved it. Next time I might use two cans of biscuits!

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  20. These were very good and relatively simple to make. Both my kids loved them. Definitely making this again.

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  21. I love soups and this one looks yummy! Perfect for the weather.chowringhee satya niketan menu

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  22. Made it tonight... I did add a bit of salt and pepper to each of the biscuit "dumplings" I also because I didn't have fresh herds decided to grab the dried Italian mix from the cabinet and sprinkle on each of the biscuit! I also had to thicken it a little because I prefer a "thicker" chicken and dumplings. My family is so in love right now! Thank you for sharing this recipe. As a base recipe there is so much you can do to make it your own. Add asparagus, mushrooms and carrots. Beautiful!

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  23. My husband loved this!!! So did I, and I loved that I could do it in stages while I chase around my 7 month old who just learned to crawl. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  24. This is my first visit and I must admit that I find the comments and replies quite amusing. I love cooking and finding new recipes is sooo much fun. Especially when they include semi homemade items. I will most assuredly be visiting this blog often. Thank you for creating this blog.

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  25. Just made this and it was FANTASTIC!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  26. Made this tonight. My husband loved it. I loved how quick and easy it was. I used 3 cans of biscuits, but I love dumpling. This is definitely going on the make more often list. I'm used to making ckin and dumplings from scratch, but this is just as good, and less time consuming.

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