Shredded chicken, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and cannelloni beans in chicken broth with small dumplings.
Three weekends ago, the temperatures went from the high 90s to the high 60s. My husband and two oldest children had planned to hike the nearby mountain peak. One thing they didn’t count on was the time of day that the high temperature would occur. It happened to be at 8:00 in the morning. They left at 6:00 AM for their 10 mile hike. By 8:30 AM, it started to drizzle.
They are a very determined bunch. They didn’t let a little rain get in the way. They didn’t let a lot of rain get in the way either. In fact, it was blowing a steady rain sideways at them for the about half the time. The kids were wearing shorts and t-shirts, and at the top there were still snow piles that hadn’t melted yet.
Meanwhile, I was at home, excited that the temperature was in the 60’s and I could bake in the kitchen without making the house too hot.
Last winter, my oldest was disappointed that I never made chicken and dumplings, and so I thought it would be nice if they could come home from their wet, cold hike to a hot bowl of chicken and dumplings even though it is supposed to be summer.
I started out with my normal soup base of sauteing onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. I got a little excited with other vegetables I had on hand and almost ran out of room for the dumplings. I had 100 lbs of potatoes in my storage room that my dad just sent down from Idaho. So, I added a few potatoes. A can of cannelloni beans would be nice too, so in went the beans. I used chicken breasts that I had previously cooked in the crock-pot, shredded and frozen. (A great way to store chicken when it goes on a great sale in 40 lb boxes–I do have 7 growing kids). Then, there was some zucchini in the fridge–there is always room in the soup kettle to squeeze in a little zucchini.
I make my dumplings very small. I like them to taste like little puffs of a noodle, not a heavy soggy biscuit.
The little kids all loved the soup, especially the one-year-old. As for the wet, cold hikers? They made it home about 2 pm cold and hungry, and just about finished off the rest of the soup before huddling in blankets on the couch and watching Star Trek.
Chicken and Dumplings with Vegetables
2 Tbls oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 diced medium onion
5 long carrots, sliced
3 cubed potatoes, baking size
3 cups shredded chicken*
3 cans, 14.5 oz each, chicken broth
1 quart of water (more if needed)
salt (at least 1 tsp, more if desired)
1 can cannelloni beans
1-2 zucchini in small chunks
Dumplings (recipe follows)
In a large stock pot, heat oil. Add celery, onions, and carrots. To save time, I place my cutting board next to the pot, and chop and add while I go. I like the flavor of the sauteing my vegetables before adding the broth. Add potatoes and stir. Let cook for a few minutes before adding the liquids. Add beans and chicken. Bring soup back to a boil and let cook on a medium-low heat with a lid on, until the potatoes and carrots are starting to be tender, about 20 minutes. Add zucchini and let cook another 10 minutes.
Add dumplings. Let simmer for another 10 minutes. Add more water as necessary to make sure you have enough water, but the soup should be a thicker, stew-like consistency after adding the dumplings.
*If you don’t have shredded chicken, cut a couple of chicken breasts into small pieces. Fry in the oil in the soup pot before adding any vegetables. After the chicken is browned, add celery, onions, and carrots–finishing the recipe as listed above.
Dumplings for Chicken and Dumplings
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add oil and mix until the oil is evenly distributed. I like to use my big whisk to mix in the oil. With a fork, add the water, but don’t over mix.
Break off small chunks of dough. Flatten to the dough to 1/4 inch thick and one inch across. Drop into the boiling soup. Gently stir the dumplings, Simmer 10 minutes, or until dumplings are cooked.