Friday, July 25, 2014

E.Z. Chicken and Dumplings

Over the years I have learned how critical it is to have the "fixings" for quick meals in the freezer.  I  always have packs of pre-browned ground beef, ham slices, and cooked and shredded chicken.  I also have chicken broth and vegetable broth in both quart and pint size bags. Using these, on those days when time gets the best of me, I can make something really fast.

About two times a year one of our local grocery stores has chicken leg quarters for  59 cents per pound. They are sold in 10 pound packages.   When it happens I buy 40 pounds and process them for the freezer that same day.

I cut the thighs off of about half of them, bone them and freeze in packages of 8 thighs each.  I put the rest into a gigantic soup pot, seasoned with a tad of salt, a sprig of thyme and a quartered onion to simmer until they are tender.  They are removed from the cooking liquid until cool enough to touch.  I remove all the meat from the bones and package  2 cups into each freezer bag.  All the bones and scrappy pieces are returned to the cooking liquid with enough added water to cover the top by 2 inches.  This cooks on low for several  hours, with water added as needed.  I generally strain the broth through a colander about 3 times, then finish the final straining through a large sieve.  I pour the finished broth in a large pot and set it in the fridge until it cools and the fat solidifies. After removing the fat I package the broth into quart  and pint bags for the freezer. ( This broth is super concentrated).

Last night Son3 asked for chicken and dumplings.  It is one of his favorite meals and he rarely asks for anything specific to eat.  Since I had my packages in the freezer it was an easy request to fill.

Years ago his  kindergarten teacher told me this trick for "cheating" when making dumplings. This is my take on her amazingly simple meal.  Thanks Ann!

                                                       E.Z. Chicken and Dumplings

2 cups cooked chicken
1 quart rich chicken broth ( might need a bit more if using store broth)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoons dried parsley
8 large flour tortillas (fewer of you like a soupier dumpling meal)

In a medium size pot put the chicken broth and the seasonings, stir then add the chicken.  Bring to a hard boil adding water as the liquid reduces. Place the stacked tortillas on a cutting board.  Cut them into 1 1/2 inch strips,  Turn the cutting board 1/2 turn and cut them across in 1 1/2 inch cuts. ( You will wind up with 1 1/2 inch squares except for the rounded edge cuts.)  Separate them and put them into the boiling liquid one at a time.  Stir often while putting the tortillas into the pot.  Add additional liquid as needed ( Since my broth is so rich I use water, but if using Swanson or something similar more broth might be needed.  Continue placing tortilla squares and stirring until all the pieces are used.   When they are all incorporated cook a few minutes more until the "dumplings"  are soft.  This will make a  very thick stew-like dumpling meal.

Since I found how to do this I have never made traditional dumplings again.  This is one of those "cheats" everyone needs to know!

We have this about  once a month.   Add a couple of vegetable sides and you have a complete meal. If you like chicken and dumplings this will make a quick and delicious meal.  


  1. I like gooey, biscuit like dumplings. How much do these tortillas change when they're cooked in broth?

  2. They do not puff like a biscuit dumpling. They are gooey, but are a flatter version. They do taste like the flatter dumplings my grandmother used to make.