pk’s rosemary chicken and dumplings

rosemary chicken and dumplingsTortillas

One of my earliest cooking tips hailed from a floury, flat, flying disc-like object; the tortilla.

Cooked in soup, tortillas were the fast and economical way to plump up chicken and dumpling soup, rather than making dumplings by hand. This cooking tip was shared with mom by our family friend and housekeeper Miss “Essie.”

I don’t remember a day when Essie wasn’t smiling. She was rich with a happiness that money cannot buy and she was a hard-working lady who helped our family for many years. She helped Mom pick-up and organize the house as Mom was more than busy raising three boisterous boys (I was the angel son, of course) and working as an independent contractor; a court reporter.

When the temperatures start to drop, I search for loose clothing, as I know chicken and dumpling season is among us. There’s no better comfort food than the warm, silky, doughy greatness of this belly pleaser.

I’m tucking this recipe here in Mom’s digital cookbook as it’s one of my favorites and certainly a dish I would make for Mom, Dad and you. Over the years, I’ve adapted this recipe and included rosemary, one of my favorite home-grown herbs.

Let’s Get Cookin’

i. soup ingredients

1 pound | boneless chicken breast, cubed. add more chicken, if you’d like.
2-3 medium | white onions (1 onion will be pierced with clove, 1-2 onions will be chopped)
splash | olive oil for sautéing (or some chunks of butter, if you’d like)a peek at ingredients for rosemary chicken and dumplings soup ~ Mmmmm! Mmmmm!
whole cloves
3-4 medium | carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 sprigs | parsley on stem (or cilantro, if you prefer)
1 teaspoon | salt
2-4 sprigs | rosemary (not chopped, just for flavor)
½ teaspoon | freshly ground black pepper
celery ribs, chopped
4 cups | water (or chicken broth, if you want to pump up the jam)
1 cup | whole milk

ii. dumpling ingredients

1 cups + 3 tablespoons | sifted flour
1 + ½ teaspoons | baking power
dash | salt (and some pepper, if you’d like)
2 tablespoons | chilled shortening
½ cup | milk for dumplings plus ¼ cup milk for a “slurry”
2 – 4 sprigs (~ 4” each) | chopped rosemary

iii. what to do

1. Make Soup: In a large pot, sauté chicken with 1 or 2 of the chunk-chopped onions and oil (or butter). Set in the pot the onion that is pierced with cloves then toss-in carrots, celery, parsley (or cilantro), salt, rosemary, pepper, 1 cup of the milk and 4 cups water (or chicken broth). Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally (between glasses of wine, of course). Reduce to low and simmer covered for one hour. Simmering will give you ample time to drink more wine and make the dumplings! [ side comment: Please realize step 1 is really 14 steps rolled into 1 but nobody will make soup that requires a lot of steps.]

2. Make Dough: Sift 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt (and pepper, if you chose) together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Cut in chilled shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ½ cup milk all at once, the rosemary and mix until dough holds together.

three cheers for dumplings3. Make Dumplings: Remove onion pierced with clove, parsley (or cilantro) and rosemary from soup and throw them away. With slotted spoon, remove the chunky items (chicken, carrots, celery, etc.) from the soup and place in bowl. It’s OK to leave the chopped onion in the pot. Bring soup to a simmer and drop dumpling mixture by rounded tablespoons on top of liquid. [ When forming dumplings, dusting hands with flour helps! ] Simmer soup uncovered for 10 minutes; then cover and simmer 10 more minutes.

4. Make Slurry & Prepare To Dismount: Stir remaining 3 tablespoons flour into remaining ¼ cup milk until smooth. You just made “slurry.” Stir slurry into soup and bring soup to a boil. Stir until thickened. Return the chunky items (chicken, etc.) and simmer for a few minutes. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley (or cilantro or rosemary).


Foodie Tips ~

 Add more pepper if you have a cold. Trust me.
You can add more herbs if you like. Bay leaves, cilantro or thyme are all good. You can place the herbs in a cheese cloth and tie-off the ends so you don’t have to “fish” the herbs and stems out of the soup.
 Need more fillin’? I’ve tried this with a couple of cans of yellow corn and chopped green chilies. My taste buds and tummy “high fived” each other.
 If you haven’t already read here on Betty’s Cook Nook, when I say butter, “Falfurrias Butter” is implied. Thank you, Nanny!


patrick’s rosemary smashed potatoes

tah dah! my rosemary smashed potatoes!
his special recipe is dedicated to my niece Laura ~
her naturally beautiful spirit reminds me that I love her
“a bushel and a peck” more than my never-ending love of potatoes!

~      ~

Mom’s mom “Nanny” used to make her well-known “lumpy mashed potatoes” for special holidays, which were Roger’s favorite time of year. Why? well, on fancy occasions, like Thanksgiving, Roger would perform his signature “choking napkin-in-the-mouth trick,” which usually resulted in Nanny tabbing out, saying “oh, stop it!”

When it comes time to make your own mashed potatoes, I offer-up my home-grown recipe, compliments of freshly-claimed rosemary. After making and tasting these potatoes, you might get all “choked-up” yourself.

In a good way.

i. ingredients

6 | medium-to-large russet, yukon gold or red potatoes
a dash or 2 | gray sea salt
a hearty splash | evoo
38 twists | freshly milled medium/course pepper
6-8 | 6″ long fresh rosemary sprigs (leave rosemary on the stems)
1/2 stick | salted falfurrias brand butter (per Nanny)
1 cup | sour cream
2-3 handfuls | shredded cheddar and or mozzarella cheese (even better if mixed)
to taste | lawry’s brand black pepper seasoned salt

meet the cast of ingredients for my rosemary smashed potatoesii. what to do

1. Chunk-cut the potatoes 1″ square and place them in an large, empty stock pot. Leave the potato skins on; they add texture and more Vitamin C vs. peeled.

2. Fill the pot and add the salt, evoo, fresh pepper and the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil and stir periodically for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender (when you can easily separate the chunks with your wooden spoon).

3. Drain (do not rinse) the potatoes in a strainer but leave the “loose” rosemary and pepper, clinging to the potatoes. Remove/toss the rosemary twigs, reserving any rosemary leaves for the potato mixture.

4. Return the warm potato mixture to the stock pot and fold-in the butter, sour cream and cheddar cheese. Stir with a wooden stick, leaving the potatoes somewhat lumpy. Make sure the cheese is melted (reheat a bit if you have to).

5.  Serve potatoes on your serving plate (platter) and top with a dash of freshly ground pepper or Lawry’s brand black pepper seasoned salt. Maybe even more butter. Go on, it’s the Kiker way.

Foodie Tip ~

  If your rosemary is stubborn and won’t fall from the stem during cooking, make sure and clip the green leaves into the potatoes before discarding the stems. These are, after all, *rosemary* smashed potatoes!
  These potatoes are best experienced fresh. You *can* store them in the fridge, but you’ll need to reheat them on stove top or microwave.

Fun Fact ~

  What the heck’s “A bushel and a peck?” Mom’s mom “Nanny” used to say she loved us a “bushel and a peck.” I never really knew the true meaning of the saying until I researched it for this recipe post. Now I get it! “A bushel and a peck” was a song sung by Doris Day. See it here and read the lyrics below.

a picture of my niece laura in an appropriately themed picture frame
Doris Day’s “A Bushel And A Peck” Lyrics

I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I’m talkin’ in my sleep
About you, about you
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do

A doodle-oodle-ooh-doo

I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck though you make my heart a wreck
Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess
Make my life a mess, yes a mess of happiness
About you, about you
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do

A doodle-oodle-ooh-doo

I love you a bushel and a peck
A bushel and a peck and it beats me all to heck
It beats me all to heck, how I’ll ever tend the farm
Ever tend the farm when I wanna keep my arm
About you, about you
‘Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your purdy neck I do

A doodle-oodle-ooh-doo
~      ~