It's been horribly, bitterly cold here in Indiana. And with so much ice! I have never before actually fallen on my ass trying to walk to class, but this winter it has happened no less than four times. All of those times, there were people watching.
So, how to survive? Since hibernation isn't an option (I wish), the only alternative seems to be to make warm food and drink alcohol. Drinking warm alcohol is also a plus.
I did just that last night. I had been eyeing a recipe on Bread and Honey for chicken and dumplings. I kept putting it off, because I didn't want to buy a carton of heavy cream and then waste half of it, but since I had to get the cream for the vodka cream sauce, I decided to go ahead and make it.
My friend Victoria was feeling sick. That was another good reason to make it.
Chicken and Dumplings, via Bread and Honey:
6 or so cups of broth (we made our own chicken broth last night.)
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery (oh my god, try not to freak out about how LONG IT TAKES TO CHOP IT), diced
1 med-large yellow onion, diced
handful of minced garlic
2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces
Oil, butter, flour
about 1/3 cup (or like, a glug) of heavy cream
Saute vegetables in a good sized hunk of butter and a drizzle of olive oil (starting with onions & garlic) for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Throw in a handful of flour and stir in quickly to make a roux. Toast for a moment, then add stock. Stir rapidly until liquid begins to boil, then drop to a simmer. Add the chicken breast, and a glug of heavy cream. Toss in a bay leaf, and let simmer for a few minutes.
In a mixing bowl, prep your dumplings:
2 cups of flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
generous dash of salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
fresh thyme leaves
Mix together dry ingredients, then add cream until "desired consistency" is reached. Jason didn't tell me what the 'desired' consistency is, but I'm guessing something thick enough to spoon into the hot soup that will keep its shape. Cook's Illustrated describes is as "very thick and shaggy." I like describing dough as "shaggy."
Spoon dumplings into the soup pot, covering the entire surface of the soup. Put a lid on the pot and let simmer for 20-30 minutes until dumplings puff up.
Well, I didn't use celery. But not because I thought it would take too long to chop it, I just didn't have any and didn't want to make my boyfriend buy it at the store, although I did send him to get broth. I didn't make my own broth either.
When I started making the dumplings, the dough was way too thick, so I ended up adding milk, which did the trick. I didn't have enough cream left from the vodka sauce to make it entirely out of cream and flour, but I think that's perfectly all right, because my GOD they were rich. I finished my bowl, but didn't go back for seconds. Now, I am craving the leftovers like none other. I decided to try to brave saving the leftovers, because they were so good I didn't have the heart to throw it out.
As far as the drinks, there was a bottle of red wine, a six pack of Heineken dark lager (which I think tastes a little like soy sauce), a Bailey's and milk on the rocks, a good portion of limoncello and a good portion of Chartreuse. A post on Chartreuse is yet to come, because it really deserves its own.
I highly recommend that you make dumplings. I had never had real homemade dumplings before, only the canned kind or the kind you get at Cracker Barrel, or the kind in Campbell's soup. This completely blew them out of the water. But I might suggest using a little bit less cream, at least in the broth. Because it was incredibly rich.