Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chicken and dumplings

So today was a very strange day, but better than last night.

3 year olds and emergency rooms are a combination I don't like one bit. My daughter was very sick this week and ended up in the hospital. There were some intense moments that I don't care to describe here, but the good news is that she's fully recovered. The bad news is that she'll be there for a few days, and Momma will too.

I had been planning a big family dinner of chicken and dumplings, and had made an amazing chicken stock over the weekend just for it. I didn't freeze it because I was going to use it - but then all this happened and I knew I had to make it or throw the stock away, so I made the chicken and dumplings by myself, and so far I'm the only one who has eaten any of it.

But don't feel too sorry for me yet, because OMG the stuff rocks. Turns out I make damn fine chicken and dumplings, and I've never even done it before. But first, full disclosure - I did cheat; I used frozen dumplings. I know, it's sad - and I promise next time I will try to make the dumplings from scratch too. (Ingredients: water, flour - how hard can it be?)

You see - this all started last week. I had a powerful craving for chicken and dumplings from Hog Heaven, which is a spectacular hole in the wall BBQ place in Durham. I'd had it once before, and it's just awesome, my first experience with 'southern' chicken and dumplings (More about that later). Anyway, I talked my wife and daughter into going there last weekend. I drove with visions of chicken and dumplings in my head, walked in the door almost drooling with the anticipation of the chicken and dumplings I was about to have, placed my order....and they were OUT of chicken and dumplings. OUT! Out?? What??! Is this a sick joke? Nope. Someone had come by earlier and cleaned them out.

Defeated, depressed and dejected I "settled" for BBQ (which was awesome). I never sated that craving - and when I get a craving - something has to be done...time to take matters into my own hands.

Really not hard; (especially if you cheat with the dumplings) but time consuming. Especially making the stock from the chicken carcass, which I highly, highly recommend.

Oh yeah, also - by the way, this is southern chicken and dumplings - which is very different than the "C&D" that I grew up with. For example; I'm used to 'drop' dumplings. Not here - they are more like flat noodles, like non-ruffle edged lasagna noodles. And there's nothing else in it (besides seasonings of course) just chicken and dumplings. No carrots, no celery, nada - chicken and dumplings. Simple. Simply awesome.

The C&D from my youth was more like pot pie filling; creamier, like there might be some milk in it, and always with carrots, maybe some celery and peas. I like both a lot, but if pressed to choose one, the southern variety is probably my favorite for it's simplicity and flavor.

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