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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables

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2018-03-03 17.44.34

What’s the definition of comfort food?, Chicken And Dumplings With Vegetables. It’s so comforting you’ll get warm fuzzies inside! I do have to honest here, I didn’t make my own dumplings or this dish, I took some help from my local grocery store. I mean, making your own from scratch is probably best and can make all the difference in the world to the finished dish except if you’re like where the value of your time is really important, these store-bought dumplings are a quick alternative to making your own, a great time saver.

One ingredient that’s a staple in my frig is, chicken fat. Steve loves to grill chicken thighs and doesn’t use the skin, he gives those to me. I render the skin down and collect all the drippings for recipes such as Matzo ball soup and this dish. Chicken fat can add extra flavor to your dish. I’ll show you how I incorporate it.

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Equipment: 4-quart sauce pot with glass lid, 6-quart stockpot
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time For Poaching Chicken: 30 minutes
Cook Time For Soup: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Note: While chicken is poaching, prep the vegetables.
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 tablespoons chicken fat (or 3 tablespoons of olive oil)
1 yellow diced yellow onion
3 diced carrots
3 ribs diced celery
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, poached and shredded
pinch of dried rosemary (crush up in your hand)
1-1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1-10 1/2 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 package of Mary B’s Open Kettle Dumplings (12 ounces, break strips in half- freeze unused dumplings)
1 package frozen peas – optional
6 cups of low sodium chicken broth (make sure there is enough broth to come over the half-way mark)
4 tablespoons of corn starch
4 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of finely chopped, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley

Tip: While chicken is poaching, prep all the vegetables for this dish.

Directions For Poaching Chicken:
To start, place 3 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, in a single layer, 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and a sprinkling of Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, into a large pot. Cover the chicken with either water or (I’m using) unsalted chicken broth. If the 1 quart of broth does not cover the chicken completely, add water so that it will cover the chicken by at least 1-inch.

Bring the chicken to a boil on medium-high heat. You’ll see some white scummy foam collecting on the surface as the liquid starts to boil.  Since I’m not using the poaching liquid for this recipe, there is no need to skim this off, it’s fine to leave it.

As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer. The chicken will typically finish cooking between 25 to 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat and whether it has a bone.  The chicken breasts are done when they are opaque through the middle, and an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken reads- 165 F.

Remove the chicken from the poaching liquid, transfer the cutting board, and begin shredding them using two forks, transfer to a bowl.

Directions For Frozen Dumplings:
Gently separate the dumplings right before adding them to the broth.

Directions For The Chicken And Dumplings:
In a small dice, dice the onions, carrots, and celery.  Finely mince the garlic. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil, and chicken fat over medium heat. Add in all the vegetables, poultry seasoning, bay leaves, and a pinch of dried rosemary. Season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Saute until the onions until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add cream of chicken soup to the pot and stir. Next, add the chicken broth (making sure to add enough broth to where it comes up to over the halfway mark in the soup pot), and give another good stir. Turn the heat to medium-high and wait until it returns to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the dumplings one by one. Let them boil in the soup, (45 minutes according to the package), stirring occasionally until they are all tender. Next, carefully fish out the two bay leaves.

Return cooked shredded chicken to the pot and gently stir through.

To Thicken Broth: Optional
In a small bowl combine 4 tablespoons of corn starch with 4 tablespoons of water.
Add to the boiling broth, a little at a time, stirring to reach desired consistency.

 

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Pavlova With Fresh Berries

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There’s a long standing argument, on whom credit is given, New Zealand or Australia, for creating this beautiful dessert. This dessert was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who first toured Down Under in 1926. It was said that this dessert was created by a Wellington chef in her “honour”.This meringue- based dessert’s origin was created somewhere else. After tireless research, it turns out this dessert actually belongs to the Americans and English. This meringue-based dessert with it’s crisp crust, and soft light inside, usually, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit is as elegant as it is delicious.

Pavlova is a dessert that can be made in advance and just assembled right before serving. I’m going to use all types of fresh berries and modestly toss them in a delicious raspberry sauce. I’m also going to make a fresh whipped cream kissed with pure vanilla.

Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: Food Processor, Sheet pans, Stand or hand held electric mixer, pastry bag with star tip

Ingredients:
For Meringue:
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 cup of sugar
3 teaspoons of sifted corn starch
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

For Sweetened Whipped Cream:
1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract

For Raspberry sauce: yields 2 cups
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of raspberry jam with seeds (seedless optional)
1 tablespoon of Chambord ( raspberry liqueur)
Fresh berries:
1/2 pint of hulled and sliced strawberries
1/2 pint of fresh blueberries
1/2 pint of fresh blackberries
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
Fresh mint for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw  the outline of 4 inverted- 6 inch creme brulee dishes,using the dishes as your guide, two on each paper. Turn the paper upside down so the pencil marks won’t get on the meringue.

Place the egg whites and salt n the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about a minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about another 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the sifted corn starch, white vinegar, and vanilla extract to the beaten egg whites.

Fill the piping bag with a star tip with the egg whites. Starting in the middle moving outwards, draw out the meringue to complete the traced outline of the creme brulee dish. Once the outside of the line of the dish has been reached, go around one more time on the outer line to make a lip. This will allow for you to fill the meringues to be filled. Refer to the pictures above.

Bake for 1-1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven, for at least another hour. They will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

While the meringues are baking and cooling in the oven, this gives plenty of time to make the raspberry sauce and prepare the whipped cream.

Raspberry sauce:
Place the raspberries, sugar, and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and the Chambord, into the bowl of the food processor, fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Transfer the raspberry sauce to the frig and chill.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Note: Do not over beat!!!
Yields: 2 cups

Carefully place the meringues onto the serving dishes. When ready to serve, fill the centers of the meringues with sweetened whipped cream. Place 1/4 cup of the mixed fresh berries (per meringue cookie) in a bowl. Ladle 1-2 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce in with the fresh berries and toss. Then ladle the sauced berries onto the top of the whipped cream in the center of each of the meringue cookies. Take a tablespoon of the raspberry sauce and drizzle some around the meringue. Finally garnish with fresh mint.
Yields: 4 servings

 

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Sweet Chili Fire Chicken With Red Bell Peppers And Pineapple

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How about making “take out” at home? I’m saying “why not”! Sometimes grabbing fast food once and a while is sometimes a necessity. Making delicious Chinese “take-out”dishes at home is even better. The reason, because you know exactly what’s going into the dish.. A few simple ingredients with a heavy bottom pot can make this dish a reality.

 

 

Yields: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Equipment: heavy bottom pot and a spider

Ingredients:
1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 red bell peppers, julienned
2-1/2 cups of drained pineapple chuncks, fresh or canned
2 bottles of Thai sweet chili sauce
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 cup of thinly sliced snow peas ( thinly sliced on bias)
3 tablespoons of finely minced chives
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

For The Chicken:
2 pounds of 1 inch cubed skinless-boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 teapoon of freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups of vegetable oil
2 cups of all- purpose flour
4 cups of corn starch
6 large eggs, beaten

Directions:
Prep all the veggies first, having them on stand-by.  Using a meat cutting board, dice up all the chicken, tossing them into a bowl along with the salt and pepper.  Using tongs, make sure the salt and pepper is distributed evenly on the chicken. Grab the largest bowl you have or a large Tupperware container, making it easier to coat the diced chicken pieces. Next, add the flour and toss so that all the pieces are coated.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottom pot, like a Dutch oven. Over med- high heat, and  using a candy thermometer, have the oil temperature reach 360 degrees F. The oil will take a little while to reach the perfect temperature for frying. Move on to sauteing the veggies.

Add olive oil to saute pan. On med-high heat, add the veggies and minced garlic in. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Saute until just soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the pineapple chunks last just to warm them through. Turn the heat off.

Next, transfer the sauteed veggies and pineapple, from the saute pan, to a large skillet, one that has deep sides. This will be necessary in accommodating all the ingredients. Set the skillet with the sauteed veggies to the back of the stove before starting the frying process.

Going back to the dredging process for the chicken. In one large bowl have the beaten eggs and in another bowl have the corn starch. In small batches, dip the diced chicken into the eggs and then into the corn starch. Place the finished coated chicken pieces onto a large sheet pan.

Check the temperature of the oil. Once the oil is ready, add the battered chicken in small batches, about 5-6  at a time, into the pot.Continue dipping the chicken into the egg mixture and then into the corn starch. Cook around 2 minutes per side or until golden and crispy. Remove from the oil, then transfer them onto a sheet pan lined with paper towel. Repeat this process until all the chicken pieces are cooked.

Bring back the skillet and turn on medium heat. Add in all the crispy golden pieces of chicken to the sauteed veggie with pineapple. Pour in the bottles of the Thai sweet chili sauce and toss all the ingredients through. Let simmer for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once everything is hot, then turn the heat off and sprinkle on the minced chives. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

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Homemade Plum Crumble

2016-03-31 15.33.32

I guess it’s the English and Italian in me that makes it impossible to resist a fruit crumble. I never really understood the difference between a fruit crisp and a fruit crumble, but I do now. The difference is the oats that go into the topping. It makes the topping extra special. There’s the English. Now I’m guessing the Italian part are the plums. My grandmother always had plums, the really dark red ones in her house.

This dessert is elegant enough to serve when you’re hosting a dinner party.  Stored in the refrigerator, the topping can be made a day in advance. Hot, room temperature, and with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream, it’s the perfect ending to a meal.

Yields: 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Equipment: a ceramic pie dish or a 9 x 13 baking dish, baking sheet

Ingredients:
2 pounds of large dark red plums, pits removed, cut into 8 slices per plum ( 6 cups of sliced plums)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of organic apple juice

Topping:
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup of packed light brown sugar
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 cup of whole oats
2 sticks of cold cubed unsalted butter, reserve half for the top of the crumble.

Directions:
Butter a baking dish really well. In a large bowl throw in your sliced plums. To the plums add granulated sugar, flour, apple juice,  orange zest, and a pinch of Kosher salt. Mix all this together so all the plums are coated nicely. Transfer the plums to   a buttered baking dish. I like my fruit crumbles to be piled high. It gives it an old fashion look.

In another large bowl, add the ingredients for the crumble topping. Flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, whole oats, a pinch of Kosher salt. Whisk all those ingredients together before adding in the cold cubes of  unsalted butter. Reserve back 1/2 a stick of the butter to dot the top. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it looks coarse meal, shown above.

Sprinkle the crumbled topping evenly over the plums. If some of the topping slips down between the fruit, that’s fine. If some of the plums are showing through that’s also fine. Using the reserved butter cubes to dot the top. Using a baking sheet to place under the pie dish, bake for 50-60 minutes, at 350 degrees F., until the plums are tender and bubbling, and the top is golden brown.  Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

 

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