Gathering around the table to enjoy a meal is the fiber of a good life. We all need to eat to live so why not make memories, create joy, show love and enjoy a good meal at the same time? I love to listen to the podcast each week of The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kasper.
A few weeks ago, Lynne was conducting an interview with a chef and I experienced one of those classic “aha” moments. The topic was, “Eat to Save”, particularly referring to not wasting food but additionally referring to the experience we have each enjoyed when we taste a food or smell an aroma from the kitchen that reminds us of home or a particular time in our life. Eat to save is what I hope my family and friends experience when they enjoy a meal at our table. It is probably the number one reason that my life and career has been devoted to food. My mom and dad created the most amazing food experiences and traditions at our table. It may have been for our family of four or a meal for thirty four but each of those memories was an eat to save moment. The rhythm of food preparation in our kitchen growing up will always be a part of me and music to my ears.
Our family shared the tradition, as most families do, that you are allowed to select your favorite meal for your birthday. Hands down each and every year, my selection was chicken and dumplings. My mom’s mom and probably her mom’s mom made chicken and dumplings and oh my what an experience. Now what we call chicken and dumplings may not be what you call chicken and dumplings, but with this holy grail of eating to save, that is certainly ok. I will admit that our dumplings are more like noodles but who cares? We enjoy every last bite and I hope you will too. At the very least, I hope you begin to think about eating to save and create your very own food moments with those you love.
Chicken and Dumplings
1 5-pound hen or roasting chicken
1 carton (32 oz.) chicken broth
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, well beaten
Place chicken in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add chicken broth and water to almost cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently for about 2 hours. Carefully remove chicken from the pot (it will be falling apart). Allow to cool and remove meat from the bone and cut into bite size pieces. Remove about 1 cup of broth from pot and allow to cool. Return chicken pieces to broth in cooking pot.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour eggs into the well. Using a fork, gently stir the flour into the eggs to form a dough. You may need to add some of the reserved broth (about 1/2 cup) that has cooled to the mixture to form a nice dough similar to a pie or pastry dough.
Flour the work area and roll the dough until thin or thick, whichever you prefer. Cut the dough into strips to form noodles.
Bring the chicken and broth mixture to a simmer and add noodles. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overcook or the noodles will be tough.