November 04, 2007
I'm sure there are a million ways to make chicken and dumplings, but this is the way I do it, which really works well on a cold day. This recipe is adapted from Southern Living's "Cooking across the South".
5 lbs. of chicken. (dark meat works best)
1/2 an onion, sliced
1 stalk of celery, with leaves if possible, chopped.
2 slices of lime (or lemon)
2 bay leaves
6-7 whole peppercorns
Arrange a layer of the chicken pieces in the bottom of a pot. Add about half the onions, celery, a slice of lime, a bay leaf, and some of the peppercorns. Another layer of the chicken, and the rest of the aromatics, and seasonings. Cover all that with water, and bring it to a boil for 10-15 minutes. Let that cool. I usually take the chicken out with tongs, and put it in a collander. Then run cold water over it. When it's cool enough to handle, you want to get the skin off, and de-bone the chicken, returning the meat to the stock. Once you have all the meat back, let it simmer, covered, for about 2 hours. Meanwhile, you can make your dumplings. After 2 hours, add the dumplings, and let simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes.
For the dumplings I use:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk with 1 egg mixed in
Mix your dry ingredients, cut in the shortening, and add the milk and egg mixture a little at a time until you have a fairly firm dough. Roll it out to about 1/4" think, then cut your dumplings. I usually use a pizza cutter and cut 1" strips, then cut on a diagonal to get diamond shaped dumplings.
November 02, 2007
My best friend was down this past weekend for a visit. It was good to see him. It's always good to spend time with him. I busied myself Friday morning with sundry errands, and on the way home stopped by the local fish market, and got a pint of shucked oysters, and a dozen blue point oysters. They had Chincoteague, Choptank, Prince Edwards, and Blue Points. The locals here can be particular about their oysters. Seriously. And I'll admit, I've never had an oyster that can compare to an east coast oyster. The blue points I bought came from Long Island, so they're not exactly local, but they're close enough that the trip didn't bother them much. I love it when the fish monger taps the shells, I leave much more confident that all 12 will be good. Next to the fish shack, there's a liquor store. I stopped in and got a 6 pack of Belgian white beer.
That evening, Joe and I stood over the kitchen sink, shucking and slurping some of the most delicious oysters I've had in a while, and washing them back with some delicious white beer. Here's the beauty of these oysters, -- they don't require anything. No sauce, no condiments, nothing but the oyster -- heck, it even comes in it's own dish! It's the essence of simplicity. Good friends, excellent food, no fuss. Friday was good.