|Part of my collection of chicken salt and pepper shakers|
So usually, my rotisserie birds (or roast chicken carcasses) end up making an encore performance later in the week as chicken and dumplings. My crew will eat dark meat served in soup or stews, so none of it goes to waste. Plus, I keep a stock bag in my freezer of onion skins, carrot ends, limp celery stalks, pretty much any kind of vegetable trimming will work except potato peels. Made out of stuff I would have normally thrown away, chicken and dumplings are the most thrifty recipe I make - in my view, it's virtually free.
Here's how I make it....first, right after dinner, I dump the chicken carcasses and the contents of my stock bag into my crock pot, along with a couple bay leaves. I cover the chicken bones with water and set the pot on low and cook it overnight. The next morning before work, I strain the stock and put it in a container in the fridge. In a separate container, I save what was in the strainer - bones, chicken meat, veggie scraps. The next day, or whenever I have time, I pick all the meat off the bones - this takes a little time, but it's well worth it.
Chicken and Dumplings
Reserved chicken stock (see above)
Reserved chicken meat (see above)
2 carrots or parsnips or a combination, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
Put all ingredients in a crock pot, cook on 4 hours high or 8 hours low, and then transfer it into a Dutch oven. Or, you can cook it on the stove top in a Dutch oven for about 40 minutes until the carrots are soft. Taste the broth at this point - add salt and pepper as needed. Don't be afraid to add enough salt! When you've got it right, turn the flame up to medium high until the broth is boiling.
Meanwhile, make the dumplings. I like to make my dumplings out of self rising flour;; I buy it to make biscuits, so I am always looking for other uses for it. It makes for a nice light dumpling.
1 1/2 c self rising flour
1/4 c shortening, cut into small cubes
1/2 c hot chicken stock
In a medium bowl, cut shortening into the flour until it resembles small peas. With a soup ladle, add about a 1/2 cup of hot stock from the simmering pot and stir with a fork until combined. On a floured countertop right next to the stove, spread the dough out into a rectangle until it's about a 1/2 inch thick. With a knife, cut the rectangle into 1 inch squares. Drop squares individually into the boiling broth, taking care not to crowd them or they will stick together, stir them gently to separate. Put the lid on the pot and turn down the heat a little and cook until the dumplings are done, about 15 minutes. The flour will naturally thicken the broth and the dumplings will float on top when it is done.
That's it, super easy and super thrifty! This also works for turkey carcasses....Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I always have a crockpot of turkey remains going every Thanksgiving evening.