Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow Day!

I left early to get to work on time, and the roads were a mess. It was dangerous in spots. The schools were running 2 hours late. I called Puddleglum and told him to keep the boys home. We have to drive across town for both boys' school, and it would have taken over an hour to deliver both boys. Then when I got to work, it was so slow, I got to come home early. I stopped by the store and picked up some things. When I got home Puddleglum had made a nice fire, and we played and roasted hot dogs and made smores.

Before dinner we all had another round of playing in the snow while our chicken and dumplins cooked. Then we came inside and took off all the wet snow gear and had hot chicken and dumplins. After hot baths, all three boys are now in bed!
Mama's Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

(Takes as little as an hour and a half or you could start it earlier when Baby is napping and cook on low. If you take the chicken out in the morning and put in the black stock pot with hot water, it will thaw by just after lunchtime).

Rinse one of Alan's organic whole chickens and put in red soup pot breast up. Fill with RO water until just about 2 inches of the tip of the chicken is sticking out (you don't want the pot too full so it won't boil over). Add sea salt, parsley, white pepper, and three bay leaves and bring to a boil.

Put about 2 TBSP butter in the big copper saute pan. Add about 1/2 an onion chopped and 1 or 2 chopped celery stalks (cut stock in thirds lengthwise and then chop) and 1 or 2 carrots chopped. (You could also add chopped turnip and even some garlic cloves). Sweat the veggies, then add to soup pot.

After everything comes to a good boil, lower heat to low and put cover on. You can cook on low for a few hours or keep the temp about med low at a low boil and cook for about an hour.

Remove chicken from pot and put in the copper saute pan to cool. Use a soup ladle to ladle out as much of the yellow chicken fat at the top of the soup pot while not wasting good broth. Find the bay leaves and remove. Take the mesh strainer and scoop out as much of the onion as you can (little kids don't like too much onion in their soup and you already got all the good flavor of the onion out). You could strain out some of the celery, but never remove and carrot because the boys will eat that.

When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and start getting your chicken meat. Tear into small pieces and add to the soup pot. After you've removed all the good meat (paying attention to get as much of the good dark meat), give Sasha the skin and any yucky or tough pieces of meat and pour the skimmed chicken fat over all of it for her.

Make Quick Dumplins
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 c. milk (gently warmed in microwave)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Combine and cut in butter. Roll out on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut in 1 inch long strips. Then crosswise into about 2 inch strips.

Add one small container of organic chicken broth to the soup pot and bring to a boil. (If you are just doing soup without dumplings, add a can of corn, and make a pot of rice). If you have it, squeeze the juice of one lime into the soup pot (but no more than one- maybe even just half). Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add your chicken and reduce heat to low. Put cover on soup pot. After a few minutes, add your dumplings. Cover the pot again so the dumplings will steam and get fluffy, and cook on low heat until the dumplings are cooked through.

If you are doing Chicken Noodle Soup, add half of a 1 lb bag of egg noodles before you add your chicken. Boil for 10 minutes until the noodles are soft.

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