We had a wonderful holiday with the family. It was the first time we had seen them since Christmas and the changes in little Rachel were quite noticeable. She will be three in May and is now communicating with great enthusiasm. She helped me prepare dinner one night and although we made quite a mess, she was very good at rolling chicken strips in breadcrumbs and placing them on the baking pan.
The only down side to our visit was that I got food poisoning from a fast food sandwich and lost all interest in eating and cooking. Even a trip to Trader Joe’s, which I was looking forward to, was a disaster. My plan was to stock up on hard to find condiments while getting the chicken and panko crumbs for dinner. I ended up spending all of my time in their bathroom – quite nice, by the way – and rushing through the check out line with my meager purchases.
On the way back to Lake Lure we had to stop for groceries for dinner and the only thing that appealed to my sensitive stomach was the thought of chicken and dumplings; a mild, filling and therapeutic dish. I am finally back to normal and will get back my enthusiasm for blogging, but for a while there I was worried that I would never want to look at, or for that matter, think about food again.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
1 3 to 4 pound whole chicken
2 stalks of celery
6 cups of water
1 or 2 chicken bouillon cubes
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup minced parsley and chives
Place chicken in large dutch oven and add the two stalks of celery, carrots and onion, roughly chopped. Add the six cups of water, thyme sprigs, and bouillon cubes. Bring water to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for one hour. Remove chicken to cool slightly and strain broth.
Return broth to dutch oven and add the 3 stalks of chopped celery and 2 chopped carrots. Simmer for 10 minutes while removing the chicken from the bones. Add the shredded chicken and frozen vegetables to the broth.
For the dumplings, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the chopped fresh parley and chives. Add melted butter and milk. Gently mix with spoon until mixture comes together. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls into pot. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Do not lift lid while cooking.