Archive for the ‘main dishes’ Category

For some reason I have always avoided making this dish.  Every time we see it offered somewhere or on a food tv show, my husband asks me to make it but it just hasn’t been my thing.  I think it was the versions with the dumplings that really turned me off – the texture was just something that didn’t appeal.  When I saw a version online that has biscuits – I started to drool (not literally).  I loved the idea of using biscuits instead so that they were crunchy on the top and not doughy and boiled.  Plus, just the process of making biscuits makes me happy.  High-rising disks of pure buttery enjoyment – so perfectly round and flaky.  (I am making you hungry, aren’t I?)

I looked through a couple of other recipes for similar dishes and wound up mashing two together for what I think is the perfect combination of a light creamy soup, shredded chicken, delicious vegetables, and crunchy topped buttery biscuits.

Prep the vegetables by dicing the carrots, celery and onions.  Set aside.

Lay out the chicken pieces on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  (sorry for the raw chicken photo – I know a lot of people can’t handle it.)

Dredge a whole cut-up fryer in flour (two breasts, two wings, two drumsticks, and two thighs) and set aside.  Rather than cut up a whole fryer, you can simply purchase these all set to go.

Heat olive oil and butter in a dutch oven

In two separate batches, brown the chicken on both sides (about 4 minutes per side or until the chicken lifts easily from the pan.)  You want that really rich color on the chicken.  It adds great flavor to the finished soup.  Once all the pieces are browned, remove them to a clean plate and set aside.

Wipe the pan out if you need to (my butter solids had browned a little too much) and put a little bit of olive oil back in the pan.  Once heated, put the vegetables into the pan and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add your seasonings and crushed garlic next.  Cook for another 2 minutes.  Evenly distribute flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute.

While whisking, pour in 4-6 cups chicken stock (4 cups gives you a really thick chicken soup).  Place chicken pieces back in the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

While the soup simmers, prepare the biscuits – by far my FAVORITE part of the meal.

Cut up the butter into small pieces and place it and the shortening in a small bowl.  Stash in the freezer while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the butter and shortening until it resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the cheese.   In another small bowl, whisk the egg and then add to the buttermilk.  All at once, add the buttermilk/egg to the dry ingredients and stir together using a fork until it mostly clumps together.  Place onto a flat surface lightly dusted with flour, knead 4-5 times, and roll out to 1/2 inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out 4-5 biscuits.

Once your soup has simmered for 20 minutes, pull out the chicken and using two forks, shred the chicken into small pieces.  I used the back of the fork to slide the skin off of the meat and then holding one fork still in a chunk of meat, used my right hand to pull small pieces of chicken away.

Place chicken back into the soup and stir, adding in about 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Dropping the biscuits in is kind of funny…you have to kind of slide them in.  Don’t worry if they submerge slightly, they will pop out.

Bake biscuits for 20 minutes in the hot oven until they are golden brown on top and the chicken soup is bubbly.

Serve!  This dinner is essential comfort food.  Filling, creamy, rich, and delicious.  I will definitely be making this again and again.  A new winter favorite!

Chicken and Biscuits

4-6 cups chicken stock
3 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 whole cut-up fryer
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
3 T flour
1 t thyme
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t ground white pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
2 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 T shortening
1/3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup buttermilk

Soup: Chop up the carrot, onion, and celery – set aside.  Dredge the chicken in flour and in two batches, brown in the butter and olive oil – set aside.  Using a little more butter, cook the vegetables until the onion is clear and translucent.  Stir in the spices and garlic – cook for 2-3 minutes.  Sprinkle 3 T flour over the vegetables and cook for 1 minute more.  Whisk in the chicken stock.  Add the chicken pieces back to the soup and simmer for 20 minutes.

Biscuits: Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut in the chilled butter and shortening until it resembles coarse meal.  Stir in the shredded cheese.  Whisk the egg in a separate bowl and combine with the buttermilk.  Add the liquid all at once to the dry ingredients and stir until it just begins to combine.  Dump out on a flat surface coated with a light dusting of flour.  Knead 4-5 times and then roll out to 1/2 inch thick.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out 4-5 biscuits.

Assembly: Remove the chicken from the soup and using two forks, shred into small pieces.  Add it back to the soup along with a 1/4 cup heavy cream and stir. Drop/place the biscuits into the soup and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden and the soup is bubbly.

Serve with one biscuit per bowl!

What is your favorite wintertime dish?

PS – to cool your soup down quickly, take two frozen and sealed water bottles and drop them into the soup.  They will quickly bring down the temperature of the soup, making it ready to store in the refrigerator.  When I am done using them, I run them through the dishwasher and stash them back in the freezer for a future use.


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destroying my kitchen

I am well known in my household for my fantastic ability to destroy my kitchen.  To have every bowl occupied, both counters full (not hard to do in a small 1930’s galley kitchen), and the sink a hodge podge of scraps and dishes waiting to be washed.  My husband is not a particular fan of this state – him being one of those tidy kitchen lovers – definitely NOT a baker.

Having been on a bit of a sweet overload and having purchased nothing from the grocery store that didn’t come from the baking aisle, I thought it was time I actually fed my family – hence the destruction of my kitchen and the creation of Spaghetti Bolognese, one of my favorite pasta dishes.  Hearty, rich, meaty, and spicy (not in a bring-me-a-glass-of-milk way) – this will solve all your winter ails.  But please don’t be dissuaded by the LONG list of ingredients – it is well worth the effort and not as time consuming as it may appear.

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot.

Toss in 4 oz of diced bacon or pancetta – let cook until all the fat is rendered.  Stir frequently to prevent burning.

Throw in 1 1/2 cups onion, 3/4 cup diced carrots, and 3/4 cup diced celery.  Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are beautifully translucent.

Add in your spices and let cook for 30 seconds

Add tomato paste – cook for 2 minutes and add in the ground meats.

Once the meat is no longer pink, pour in your wine (do NOT follow my example and taste it from the bottle to make sure it is good – that will surely get you thrown out of the girl scouts.  Trust me, I should know.  I was thrown out for eating raw cookie dough.)

After the wine has reduced by half, pour in your tomatoes and beef stock.  Turn the temperature down to medium-low (I had to reduce it all the way to low to keep the right simmer) and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

Add cream, butter and parsley and simmer for 2 minutes.  ENJOY!  Tip – to bring this down in temperature safely, I use Alton Brown’s method of inserting frozen water bottles.  They help take something really hot to a safe temperature quickly – preparing it for the refrigerator.

Spaghetti Bolognese
adapted from Spaghetti Bolognese, Emeril Lagasse

1 T olive oil
4 oz diced bacon or pancetta
1 1/2 cups yellow onions, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 T garlic, minced
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 t ground thyme
1/4 t dried oregano
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 pound ground beef or ground veal
1/2 pound pork sausage (no casings)
2 T tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 14.5 oz cans crushed tomatoes – do not drain
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
1 cup beef broth
2 t sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 T unsalted butter
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
spaghetti of your choice

Heat oil over medium heat and saute the bacon for 3-4 minutes.  Add the diced onion, carrot and celery – cooking until the onion is translucent and soft – 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and next 7 ingredients, stirring 30 seconds.  Add in the ground meat and cook until no logner pink.  Add tomato paste, cooking 1-2 minutes.  Add in the wine, deglazing the pan and reducing the volume by 1/2.

Add tomatoes, broth, and sugar – bring to a boil – reduce heat to medium low and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Once the sauce is thickened, add in the cream, butter, and parsley.  Keep warm until ready to serve!  (and…search far a wide for someone to help you put your kitchen back together.)

What is your favorite winter pasta dish?

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