–Believe it or not, you can feel a seasonal change in the air today. The usual warm breezes have a slight, and trust me not unwelcome, chill to them.
Late October through late April in the Florida Keys brings mostly sunny days, low humidity and moderate temps (60F-80F). In celebration of the upcoming arrival of my favorite time of year here, I decided to make Chicken and Dumplings in the crockpot instead of a Dutch Oven so I could be outside enjoying this most beautiful time of the year.
Crock Pot Chicken
1 whole cut-up chicken, trimmed of all
excess skin and fat, rinsed & pat dry
“Scarborough Affair” seasoning:
-basically equal amounts of
parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme,
sea salt, to taste
1 cup, more or less, baby carrots
Wondra flour/extra fine “instant” flour
Turn crock pot on to the HIGH setting.
Rub pat dry chicken pieces with the oil. Place chicken pieces, skin side down, in the crock pot. Generously and evenly sprinkle chicken with the seasonings. Cover and cook for one hour. Turn chicken pieces over (skin side up). Add just enough water to almost cover the chicken pieces. Add baby carrots. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours or until the chicken is pull off the bone tender. Throughly mix about a quarter cup of Wondra flour in a 1/2 cup of water and stir in the liquid in the crockpot.
Now prepare your dumplings.
Light & Fluffy Dumplings
-based on a classic Ladies Home Journal recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 TBSP baking powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup milk
4 TBSP Canola oil
Stir dry ingredients together well with a fork or a whisk. Combine milk and oil, and pour all at once into the flour mixture. Stir briskly with a fork until the mixture is evenly moistened, but don’t overmix it. The batter should be sticky, slightly wet, and almost as thick as dough.
Set the dumpling mix aside for 15 minutes. Then, scoop out spoon-sized lumps and drop them atop simmering stew. Cover the crock pot and allow to slowly simmer for 20 minutes. Don’t lift the lid and peek at all or the dumplings won’t rise!
Makes about a dozen or more dumplings.
If the batter is too thick, sprinkle in a little more milk or some water to make it very soft and sticky. Letting the dumpling mix “rest” is the secret to extra-fluffy dumplings.
Casually, I prepare plates directly from the crock pot but, if serving it to guests for a nicer presentation:
Remove dumplings and baby carrots to a large, shallow serving dish.
Pull the chicken from the bone in whole pieces as much as possible and then cut larger breast meat into as many pieces as desired (4-6)
Add to the serving dish scattered amongst the dumplings and carrots.
Strain the liquid into a bowl. Pour enough of this gravy into the serving dish until it is about halfway covering the chicken and dumplings. Serve the remaining gravy on the side.
The aroma of this cooking and its belly-warming, great taste make Chicken and Dumplings the ultimate cold weather comfort food.