A recipe for my beautiful, wonderful sisters!!
All of us are struggling with these allergies/cold/that virus we have had since last October (I kid you not)/whatever this is. Whatever it is, it seems to be perfectly at home in our sinuses, ears, and lymph nodes...much to our dismay. It has been going on long enough that we have developed a family cope: whoever looks/feels the worst automatically gets the extra sympathies for that day. When it is one of the kids, they get extra naps, when it is me, I get to not have to make supper, when it is TWS he gets cooing from me and last night he got QUICK chicken and dumplings....(I was in town most of the day and we do not have much chicken in the freezer).
Now, for REAL and PROPER chicken and dumplings, you take whole pieces of meat, with bone AND skin, and boil them in seasoned water until the meat falls off, then you pull the skin and bone out. But this uses canned chicken, canned broth, and homemade dumplings.
Now, before we get farther, we need to have a chat ;). There are northern dumplings (which might also be eastern dumplings--there seem to be some similarities in those regions) which are fluffy biscuit type things that rise to the top of the bowl. THEN there are traditional southern dumplings which do not have leavening, and are thick and dissolve slightly in the broth, making it more of a VERY thick stew instead of a soup.
(You might say "How does SHE know which is northern and which is southern?!? My southern grandma always made them fluffy!" Actually I googled it because I was curious! If you are a GRITS who eats fluffy dumplings, I PROMISE that no one will take away your membership to the Daughters of the Confederacy :-). Likewise if you are a northerner who likes dense dumplings, no one will toss you, shotput-like, below the Mason Dixon! :-) ).
Either way, this is how I made them last night. It takes about 20-30 minutes to make, maybe 40 at the most.
Expedient Chicken and Dumplings for 2 (possibly 4 if the kids are small and do not eat a ton lol)
1 or 2 cans chicken (dark meat gets less stringy than white, but either is good)
1 box LOW SODIUM chicken broth (or no sodium)
about a cup of AP flour
about half a stick of butter
Put the broth and the chicken (undrained) in a 2 quart pot and start to medium boil. Slice the COLD butter into very thin pats and put in the flour. Slide the butter in the flour between your fingers until you have broken it up some into dime sized pieces. Add milk to make a STIFF dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and quickly fold and turn about 5 times (you do not want the dough to fall apart too quickly). Roll to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut squares around 1.5-2 inches (it is not necessary to measure, you just do not want them narrow). Put in the boiling water but do NOT shake the excess flour off.
Add a splash of soy sauce to give "depth" of flavor. This is probably a tablespoon or three. Do not add too much, it is salty, BUT because we did not boil the bones and skin, there are "flavor notes" missing that the soy sauce adds.
Pepper liberally also while the dumplings are boiling.
Much of the dumplings will start falling apart--that is fine! You want a very thick, stick-to-your-ribs sort of broth. Start testing the dumplings for YOUR desired doneness at probably 15 minutes and checking every 5 minutes thereafter. It does not take long for the dumplings to be done.
WATCH THE POT! This is not one of those "fix and forget" type dishes. Because part of the dumplings fall apart, the starch will stick to the bottom of the pot and BURN! And it happens quicker than you think! Burnt flavor goes all through the pot, so it makes good sense to stir it occasionally and keep it cooking at just above a simmer. (I like to do dishes while it is cooking).
There ya go. Make sure that there is enough pepper to give it some flavor, if you like pepper. Also make sure to go LIGHTLY on the soy--especially if you have used full sodium broth. You can always add more.
This is like chicken soup--the pepper helps clear the sinuses, the broth adds hydration, the salt soothes and disinfects the throat and helps you hold on to water that you are probably losing from runny noses or post nasal drip or fever, both chicken and dumplings are easy on the digestion, and the hot, soft food is good on a sore throat or when you just feel punk.
Of course if you have the time, make the proper chicken and dumplings from scratch--much more nutrients from the bone and fat, and frankly the flavor is better. However, this is a good quick meal.