Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Cookbook Challenge Strikes Back: Chicken and Dumplings with Coleslaw

It's high about time I get back to some cooking, is it not? My grateful palate and ever-growing backside have reaped the rewards(and calories) of some truly delicious meals cooked by family, friends and food havens over the past couple of weeks but it's time to get back to the kitchen myself....and the Cookbook Challenge.

We tackled two of our cookbooks for the latest challenge. Keith had some apparently amazing chicken and dumplings made by Mary at Broadway and Penn (his exact words: I wanted to crawl into that bowl of dumplings) and was inspired to conjure up some of our own. We went with the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and whipped up their recipe. The result was Delicious Dumpling satisfying AND easy.

The accompanying coleslaw turned out terrific, also....but not without some issues. I found this recipe in Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Cookbook. I didn't pay close enough attention to the recipe and had to make a last-minute store run for red onions. Upon my return, I realized I STILL didn't have everything......we'd used all of our carrots for the chicken and dumplings. We substituted fresh parsnips and that worked out fine. Oh, when the fog lifts from my brain, it will be a good day. The slaw was wonderful....the combination of the mustard and caraway seeds were so tasty and I realized that I should look for more recipes that feature caraway seeds. I love me some fresh rye bread, but it hasn't occurred to me to do more with caraway. I totally dig that flavor.

The recipes follow......and these count as Cookbook Challenges #9 and #10.

Coleslaw with Hot Caraway Vinaigrette (Gourmet Cookbook)

2 small red onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
6 cups of thinly sliced green cabbage, about 1 1/2 pounds
6 cups of thinly sliced red cabbage, about 1 1/2 pounds
5 carrots, coarsely shredded
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Soak the onions in a bowl of ice and cold water for 15 minutes. Drain well. Toss onions, carrots, cabbage and vinegar in a large heatproof bowl. Heat oil in a 9-inch skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add mustard and caraway seeds, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until mustard seeds stop popping, 1 to 3 minutes. Immediately drizzle hot mixture over cabbage mixture, add salt and pepper and toss well.

Cook's note: One suggestion I might add about this dish: We upped the recipe a bit in order to have some for leftovers but after dressing the entire batch, the leftover slaw got pretty soggy pretty quick. if you're planning on leftover slaw, reserve some dressing to use on it later so that the slaw maintains crispness. Yes, this is common sense but sometimes the fog lights aren't working on the Cranial Highway. Sue me.

Chicken and Dumplings (Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook)


  • 2-1/2 to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage or marjoram, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 stalks)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot (2 medium)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 recipe Dumplings
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour


1. Skin chicken. In a 4-quart Dutch oven combine chicken, 3 cups water, the onion, salt, sage, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Return mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 10 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts, 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks). Discard bay leaf. Using tongs, rearrange the chicken pieces so they rest on top of the vegetables.

2. Meanwhile, prepare Dumplings. Spoon dumpling batter into 6 mounds on top of the chicken. (Do not spoon batter into the liquid.) Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into a dumpling comes out clean. Do not lift cover while simmering. With a slotted spoon transfer chicken, dumplings, and vegetables to a serving platter; keep warm.

3. For gravy, pour 2 cups cooking liquid into a large measuring cup. Skim fat from liquid; discard fat. Pour liquid into the Dutch oven. Stir the 1/2 cup cold water into the flour; stir into the liquid in Dutch oven. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Serve gravy over chicken, vegetables, and dumplings. Makes 6 servings.

4. Dumplings: In a medium bowl combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in 2 tablespoons shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1/2 cup buttermilk, stirring just until moistened.


Sixpence and a Blue Moon said...

Oh my this sounds so good...and comforting. Comfort food at its best. I don't get to cook much comfort food anymore.:( On my food list of blogs, there is a Canadian guy, he cooks some really interesting things, check it out. The blog is called Closet Cooking. He has a Japanese pancake recipe that I am going to have to try, made with veggies.

I haven't been blogging much, spending days and days at the doctor's office. They are doing surgery on David's feet; they're still trying to save them from the bone infection. He has to go off the coumadin (blood thinner) before they can do the surgery. Cardiology still has to give the OK for that.

I deactivated my fb account for a while. I have to have a break from politics; it’s driving me crazy.

What have you been up to? Hope all is going well. I hope to find the passion for blogging again.:) Emily is coming home for Thanksgiving; it will be nice to hear little voices echoing off the walls. I'm hoping it will help me feel alive again, at least for a little while. Give me a call sometime and we can go out for a drink, or dinner. Give Keith my love. xoxo

Confounded Cook said...

I'll do it, Darlin'. I hope you do find the passion again as you certainly display the talent....for writing, for photography, for food! Hang in there, Hon.

Kristy said...

Can't go wrong with a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It was one of my first cookbooks and some of the recipes in there are just TIMELESS!

Anonymous said...

Now this is a true flashback for me. The Better Homes and Gardens recipe for dumplings is simply the best and I used to make them often from this very recipe.

Here's a cool twist when you are ready for some additional comfort food. Prepare a pork roast, or fry--(yes, fry...) some pork chops. Reserve the drippings from either.

Pour those drippings onto a stovetop pan of sauerkraut so that the drippings remain on top and then cook the dumplings in that wonderful pork stuff that should always be used and never discarded.....amazing. Dumplings infused with kraut--what could be better?

Thanks for the dumpling flashback.


Confounded Cook said...

Holy Cow, Kak! That sounds freakin' awesome....dumplings infused with kraut....can't wait to try it out!

Kristy said...

"that wonderful pork stuff that should always be used and never discarded." Amen to that Kaki! Our mothers always had the pork grease/drippings reserved. My mom had a can of reserved bacon fat that she fried everything in LOL! And speaking of fried pork chops..Mom would lightly season and flour her bone in chops and then fry them in a cast iron skillet. At the same time she would boil some potatoes. When the chops were done she would drain the spuds,dump them in the skillet and "fry" them so that they would pick up the drippings and the crunchy bits from the pork and they would get crispy. It was my favorite dinner as a child. Of course she served it with a side of applesauce. Pork chops and applesauce. Can't be beat!

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