The Chicken N’ Dumplins Recipe

For nm, and the others I promised this to.  Y’all are going to get to know what I’ve felt like all my life.   I learned this from my mother, whose favorite saying when teaching me a recipe is “Just add ‘x’ till it looks right…”  I really don’t have many measurements to give you.  But, I’ll try.

OK, this couldn’t be simpler.  This is one of those dishes that isn’t completely from scratch.  I’d be interested in how other folks from around here do it.

For my family of four:

You need some kind of chicken (either boneless breasts or some kind of boned chicken).  I use boneles skinless, because it’s easier and has less fat.  You also need Bisquick, or a Bisquick-like product, and milk.  There is the possibility you might need about a cup of chicken broth.

Fill a 4.5 qt dutch oven about 2/3 of the way with water, and boil about a lb of thawed boneless, skinless chicken breasts in it.  If you want real authenticity (and better flavor) , boil a whole chicken, or a couple of quarters,  but that’s a lot more work.

For the boneless/skinless type, boil about 15 minutes.  For the boned type, boil it till the meat starts falling off the bone easily.

While this is going on, make the dumplins.  I usually use the biscuit recipe on the box, which is 2 /14 cups of baking mix, and 2/3 cup of milk.  The important thing is that you have that thick biscuit-y consistency.

Continue like you are making biscuits.  Heavily flour a surface on your counter, and turn your dough onto it.  Flour the top of the dough and pat it down to about a half inch thick.  Fold and pat about 5 times, always adding more flour so the “sticky” goes away.

Then, roll the flour out like you are making a pie crust.  What is that, about an 8th of an inch thick?  Anyway, it should be darn thin.

Take a pizza cutter, and slice the dough into strips that are about an inch wide, and maybe three inches long.  You’ll have some long ones and some smaller ones.

Hopefully, by now the chicken’s done.

When it is, take the chicken out and set aside.  DO NOT drain. Turn the heat down to low.  I usually throw in about a teaspoon of pepper and a tablespoon of salt.  IF you are using the super-healthy kind of chicken, you might not have much chicken fat in your water – not good.  This is where you add the cup of chicken broth. 

Shred the chicken (no matter how I cool it, I usually mildly burn my fingers), and place the shredded chicken back in the stock. 

Now, drop each dumplin strip into the stock. Don’t dilly-dally, because you’ll end up creating a dumplin wall and your later dumplings won’t make it into the stock, and you’ll be forced to stir.  You can force them under the water once, if need be.

Cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  By now, you’ll definitely have a dumplin wall.  Pull back a little, and if the broth still seems too soupy for you (some people like it that way), add in a roux:

Mix two tablespoons of flour with enough water to make it into a liquidy paste, mix well, and slowly stir into the broth.  Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.  The thicker you want it, the more roux you would add.

Remove from heat, allow to cool for AT LEAST 10 minutes to get a thicker consistency.

Enjoy.

I know this is a mess.  I wish I had a recipe recipe, but that’s not how I learned to do it.

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MMMM-Bap

As promised, I give you the saga of my first ever cooking of dolsot bibimpap for Lintilla’s birthday.  I took photos as I could, although you’ll have to use your imagination on a couple of steps.  At the end, I’ll review what worked, and lessons learned (this WAS my first time, after all).

First off, here are most of the ingredients, laid out on my stove.  The stone bowls (dolsots) were available at K&S World Market in Nashville ($4.99) .  As with much of Asian cooking,  most of the work is in the preparation for cooking.  The carrots and zucchini were julienned, although I cheated and shredded half the carrots with the food processor:

Bibimbap1

The meat is sirloin (good ole lean meat).  At K&S they have it thin sliced, so all we had to do was cut the slices into little strips.  Lintilla got her bulgogi recipe from a Korean friend, and she won’t let me divulge the whole recipe for the marinade, but I can tell you it involves sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, and some certain spices.  Here’s the meat getting ready to marinade:

Bibimbap 3

The first thing you want to do when the cooking starts, is put on the rice.  I use that wonderful smelling Jasmine rice, and I cheat and cook it in an all-purpose kettle (remember, don’t stir till it’s done!):

Bibimbap 2

While that is going on, cook the bulgogi (this dish is actually supposed to be made with leftovers, so next time we’ll cook the bulgogi the day before).  Bulgogi, the way we make it, is a sweet meat.  It is also quite lean:

Bibimbap 4

While all of this is going on, heat your stone pots (which have been basted with sesame oil).  More on this later.  The step I can’t show you, because it was far too hectic, is the quick stir-frying of the veggies.  All I did was a quick fry of the bean sprouts, carrots, and zucchini, separately, in a sesame oil, garlic mixture.  I made a mistake with the bean sprouts (more on that later).  Lintilla also made her patented Korean spinach at this time. 

Anyway, once all the veggies are done, take the bowls out of the oven, and immediately put about a cup of rice in the bottom.  It sizzles and smells wonderful!  Notice the eggs in the background:

Bibimbap 5

Both bowls with the rice base:

Bibimbap 6

Almost there!  now, the fun part.  Each veggie and meat is arranged on top of the rice, making an absolutely beautiful presentation:

Bibimbap 7

Now, you’d think we’d stop there, but tradition Korean Dolsot bibimbap involves cracking an egg over the whole thing.  Everything is so hot, it cooks right there.  However, Lintilla is not one for yolks, so I cheated a little and fried some over medium, and placed those right on top:

Bibimbap 8

Now at this point, Lintilla’s was done.  But I have bibimbap the traditional way, with chili sauce poured over the top.  This was just the cheap stuff you can get a Kroger, but it was still great!

Bibimbap 9

It must then be stirred and eaten immediately.

So, there you have it.  All in all, it was wonderful, tasted great, and most importantly, Lintilla enjoyed it immensely.  It cost about a third of what it would cost to have two orders of dolsot bibimbap and two orders of bulgogi for the kids at a good Korean restaurant.

I made two mistakes: 1) I put soy sauce in the fry mixture of the bean sprouts (only works on VERY high heat, which I didn’t have), and 2) I didn’t quite get the bowls hot enough.  They are actually made to be warmed on a stove-top (preferably gas) but my stove-top was pretty full, so I used the oven.  This would have been OK, but I was too cautious with the heat, I did 375 when I should have made it 450.  The heat in the bowl is supposed to make the outer rice crispy (yum!), and that never happened with my bibimbap.  Next time I’ll know better.

Anyway, believe it or not, this isn’t too hard of a dish to make, if you prepare the ingredients ahead of time.  Next time, we’ll make the bulgogi the day before, and the spinach before we start cooking anything else.  For a very short amount of time, you have to do many things at once, but you can cut that down with some preparation. 

All in all, a great meal (the kids even want some next time!).

Today is “For My Own Good” Day

I have an early workout with the Redneck Canadian today because some yahoo at Sirius Cybernetics decided that it would be a good idea to call a meeting during lunch hour.  Even though last Monday hurt, Thursday didn’t do much for me.  It’s time to take off the training wheels.  I’ll raise the weight, or the reps (probably the weight because I’ll be short on time because of the yahoo).

Then, early this afternoon, I have my yearly physical (which I haven’t bothered to attend in two years).  Men, when you reach that magical age of 40, the doc adds a new element to your yearly physical.  It is at this point that it would be a good idea to have either a female doctor, or a jockey-sized male doctor.  Why?

Smaller Fingers.

[…and all the women said “you big baby – you should see what WE have to go through!”]. 

Everything is relative.  I never had to deal with this before, so to me, it’s a big deal.

Finally, I tried something for my own financial good last night.  I had been eating a South Beach Diet Southwestern breakfast wrap every morning for breakfast.  At $3 bucks a box (contains 2), this makes for some expensive breakfast.  So, last night, I decided to assemble my own. 

I got some of those very low calorie whole wheat tortillas ($2.85), two packs of Kroger brand “Egg Beaters” ($2.50) , and frozen pepper & onions mix.  At home, I already had a bag of Costco-sized crumbled bacon, 2% shredded cheddar cheese, and hot sauce.  I scrambled the eggs with everything else but the cheese, then spooned into a cheese-lined tortilla.  I froze them, and I got 2 weeks worth  (10) of breakfast tortillas for the price of 4 singles of the South Beach variety.  AND, I estimate that the calories are actually about 30 lower than the South Beach wraps (which are 160 cals).

The verdict?  Next time, I’ll use fresh pepper and onions (the frozen ones water down the scrambled eggs a little too much to my liking).  And more hot sauce.  Otherwise, I have no complaints.  Was it worth the hour of effort?  Time will tell.

A Recipe: Show Me Some Leg!

I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, so I think it’s about time.  I can’t post this one in the “Man About the House” series, because the boundary being crossed this time is by me, into the manly world of grilling (I don’t call it Barbecuing because barbecue is a specific thing, and the verb is reserved for making that specific thing).

But anyway, this won’t be a controversial post.  Y’all are going to love this.

If you’ve ever been to a theme park (especially Disney World), or a Titans game, or various other places where they have you captive and serve you food, you may have been lucky enough to get a smoked turkey leg.  The ones in the American section of Epcot may be the best turkey legs in the world.  Well, a few years ago, I found a recipe for them (I’ve long since forgotten where I got it, so sorry, no attribution)

Y’all.

They are the only thing I cook that my kids ask me to make again the very next day.  They are that good.  This recipe calls for grilling, but I actually prefer them smoked in the smoker for about 3 hours.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The first step of the recipe might seem strange, but believe me, it’s worth it!

Grilled Turkey Legs

1 (2 Liter Bottle) lemon-lime soda (Do NOT GET DIET!!!)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4 turkey legs (get some big, honkin’ ones!)
2 tablespoons homey
1 tablespoon steak seasoning

Directions

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil grate*

In a large pot, mix the lemon lime soda, sugar, hot sauce red pepper, pepper and onion.  Place the turkey legs in the mixture, and bring to a boil (yes, you are cooking Sprite).Cook 30 to 45 minutes**.

Remove onion slices from mixture, and arrange on the prepared grill.  Place turkey legs over the onions.  Drizzle with honey, and season with steak sauce.  Cook, turning once, 20 minutes, or until a crisp browned crust has formed on the turkey legs.

*When smoking, arrange the onions as directed above (they’ll eventually caramelize and burn.  That’s OK,they are protecting your legs).  Now here’s where you’ll have to use the force.  I’ve got one of those wimpy-man smokers that doesn’t have temperature, the thermometer has labels like “warm”, “Ideal”, “hot”.  Ideal is in the middle, and that’s where I like to get the heat when I’m starting out.  If your smoker has a water pan, fill it up.  Then, smoke for 1.5 to 2 hrs, turn and smoke for another hour.  They’ll come out so sweet (yet spicy), tender and juicy they just melt in your mouth.

**Like I said, I enjoy slow cooking these babies.  So, if you’re using a smoker, cut the Sprite boil time down to 20-30 minutes.  They’ll cook the rest of the way in the smoker.

Trust me guys, if you aren’t a vegetarian, try this recipe just once.  Awesome!  

Hey Grandpa, What’s For Dinner? Supper?

Chicken Divan.  4 points per serving.

Divan

Anybody want the recipe?