Monday, November 10, 2014

Chicken N' Dumplings

When the weather gets cold, all you want is some good, hot, comfort food and this one pot dish fits the bill. It is sort of like a southern style chicken soup but a little thicker and with a deeper, richer flavor than the typical Jewish chicken soup. Then you get to the goodies inside- the meat of a whole shredded chicken, hunks of hearty veggies and big pillowy dumplings, it is goodness in a bowl. I very rarely have time to make my own chicken stock but I had been planning on making this dish for a while and wanted to put as much love in as possible. Using chicken stock made this dish super flavorful and rich tasting though you could use vegetable stock or even water because the chicken simmering in the soup will give it plenty of flavor. With winter around the corner, I highly recommend you add this to your dinner or Shabbat menus! Enjoy!

1 2-3 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup flour
2 Tbl olive oil
5 carrots, cut into chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced
2 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 tsp turmeric (optional but gives great flavor and a rich yellow color)
15 cups chicken stock (you can use water, the chicken simmering in the water will give it flavor but the end result is much richer when you use stock)
3 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Season the flour with salt and pepper and coat each piece of chicken in the flour. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven and brown both sides of each piece of chicken, then remove to a plate. Add the carrots, celery and leek and saute scraping up the brown bits from the chicken and cook until the leeks are translucent. Add the stock, turmeric, season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back in, lower to a simmer and simmer for half an hour. Add the zucchini in and simmer for another half an hour, add the parsley and taste for seasonings. Remove the chicken and shred the meat off the bones and add it back into the soup. Prepare the dumpling mixture and while the soup is at a low boil add the dumplings in by heaping tablespoons full, Depending on the size of the dumplings they need to cook for between 20-30 minutes.

For the Dumplings:
2 3/4 cups flour
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold water

Mix the flour and salt together and stir in the eggs. Slowly add in the water until a sticky, gloppy dough forms.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wild Rice Stuffed Butternut Squash

I know it isn't Thanksgiving yet, but it is Fall, which also happens to be my favorite season and by my rules you can eat Thanksgiving inspired food all Fall long. I am one of those people that Pinterest makes fun of with all their pumpkin memes; the second Summer passes and I can start making orange fleshed things I am on it! Pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, persimmon- orange is my food color! This is a great, healthy, pretty, and  easy side dish with lots of presentation wow factor and would make a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any other Fall meal. I used wild rice for the color and the texture it provides but you can also use quinoa, brown or white rice,wheat berries or lentils or a combination of a few of them. Either it way it will taste and look fresh and delicious. Enjoy!

2 butternut squash, halved, seeds scooped out
1 cup wild rice
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
3 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup dried cranberrries
1/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans (optional)
2 Tbl freshly chopped parsley
salt, pepper, granulated garlic

Preheat the oven to 375. Drizzle some oil over the squash halves, season them with salt and pepper and roast in the oven till just tender about 30 minutes and then let the squash cool.

While the squash is cooking, rinse the wild rice and then put it in pot with the stock or water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 35-45 minutes until the rice is tender but still has a little bite and some of the grains have popped open. Drain the rice and cool.

In a saute pan, heat the 3 Tbl olive oil and saute the onion, celery and garlic, seasoning with salt and pepper until the vegetables are soft.

Once the squash is cool, gently scoop out the flesh leaving some to line the squash skin. Cube the squash and place it in a bowl. Add the rice, onion mixture with its oil, cranberries, toasted pecans and parsley and season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic to your taste and mix gently. Gently place the mixture back into the squash halves and serve. Best served lightly warmed or room temperature.