Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken & Dumplings

My great grandmother was venerated in the family for her cooking. I have none of her recipes, but I do know that one of her dishes was chicken and dumplings. The day I was born, my mother has lamented, she missed a meal at her grandmother's table. I taught myself how to make chicken and dumplings based on a tip my great grandmother gave me when I was ten- she was in her late eighties then. She told me, "Use Bisquick, it's easier." I think she would like the ease of this version too.

Having forgotten the soup pot for two days, I was uncertain if I could resurrect the chicken stock. I bought the extra items I needed anyway. Luck was with me, an advantage of a cold house, the stock was fine. This soup is reason enough to roast a chicken. It is also quick to assemble and reasonably healthy.

Put the carcass including the skin and bones into a pot, fill with water to just cover the bird, and boil it for 45 minutes or longer as you have the time- skimming off foam as needed. Put the lid on it when it's boiling and turn it off. Allow to cool down without removing the lid. This should prevent any bacteria from getting into it. The next day you can open the pot, skim off the fat layer, and discard the bones and skin. Shred any meat and place back into the broth. Bring broth to boil and follow below for a delicious soup.

Chicken and Dumplings Japanese Style
Chicken broth with fat skimmed and chicken pieces shredded, about 6 cups
Salt, 1 tsp
Daikon radish, 1/2, cut into 1/2" rings, then quartered
Carrot, 1 large, cut into 1/4" rings, half moon cut
Dried Mochi Rounds, 1-2 per person
Harusame Bean thread noodles, 1 package- cooking times vary so refer to package
Momen Firm Tofu, 1 block, cut into 1" chunk
Mitsuba Japanese herb, rinsed, chopped
Soy Sauce, 2 Tbsp +
Ponzu Sauce

Wash and cut daikon, carrot, and mitsuba. Drain and cube tofu. Over medium heat, bring broth and shredded chicken to boil. Add daikon and carrot, cook 5-8 minutes until tender. Add mochi, harusame, and tofu, cook another 3 minutes. Stir in mitsuba and soy sauce. Serve soup hot and insure that each bowl contains mochi. Soy sauce and ponzu can be added as needed at the table. This is nice accompanied with steam buns and bean sprout salad.