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Mother's Little Dumplings

April 22, 1998|CHARITY FERREIRA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Like a lot of great cooks, my mom prefers eating her own food to dining out. She favors simple, homey dishes like poached white meat of chicken and homemade dumplings in a bowl of seasoned chicken broth.

My mom's dumplings, essentially baking powder biscuit dough poached gently in simmering broth, are so tender and fluffy they nearly float right out of the bowl. She assured me that these delicious dumplings were easy and quick to make, and they are.

Some markets and delis sell chicken broth by the pint that tastes better than canned broth. But even canned broth picks up extra flavor from the onion, celery and parsley.

Make a salad of romaine lettuce, toss it in a vinaigrette and sprinkle it with chopped pecans as an accompaniment. To finish the meal, spread some strawberry ice cream between gingersnaps for simple ice cream sandwiches.

MENU

Mom's Chicken and Dumplings

Romaine Salad With Pecans

Ice Cream Sandwiches

MOM'S CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

8 cups chicken broth

2 stalks celery, halved

1/2 bunch parsley, tied in bundle

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut in 2-inch pieces

Salt, pepper

1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

* Bring broth to boil in Dutch oven with celery and parsley.

* Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, onion and salt and pepper to taste to broth. Reduce heat to simmer.

* Combine flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl. Whisk together vegetable oil, milk and egg in separate bowl. Add liquid mixture to dry mixture and stir just until soft dough forms. Do not over-work.

* Pat out dough on floured board about 1/3 inch thick. Cut into round or square 1-inch pieces with round cutter or knife. Remove parsley and celery from broth and add dumplings. Simmer until dumplings puff up and are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4 servings. Each serving: 501 calories; 1,915 mg sodium; 130 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 45 grams protein; 0.56 gram fiber.

COUNTDOWN

30 minutes before: Bring broth to boil with celery and parsley.

25 minutes before: Chop and saute onion.

20 minutes before: Cut chicken into pieces. Add onion and chicken to broth.

15 minutes before: Make dumplings.

10 minutes before: Add dumplings to broth.

5 minutes before: Make vinaigrette and toss with romaine. Sprinkle with pecans. Set gingersnaps on plate for ice cream sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS

SHOPPING LIST

1 bunch celery

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Gingersnaps

1 pint strawberry ice cream

1 head romaine lettuce

1 bunch parsley

1 (4-ounce) package pecans

STAPLES

4 (16-ounce) cans or 4 pints deli chicken broth

Baking powder

Eggs

Flour

Milk

Olive oil

Vegetable oil

Yellow onion

Pepper

Salt

Vinegar

Ferreira, a former Times Food section intern, is a pastry chef at Greens in San Francisco.

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