It’s time for WTF III this week. Calm down all you Puritans. WTF = Wedwand Talks Food. However, I have been thinking about this and perhaps the WTF connotation that sounded clever is not the best image to create for this otherwise usually somewhat in the vicinity of wholesome, blog. So if you prefer, WTF may also be called February Food Fare from Wedwand.

Speaking of wholesome, what’s better eating than “comfort food” in the winter? OK, winning the lottery may be better, but you know what I mean.

While Wedwand often researches definitions for terms, an exception will be made here as we offer original prerequisites for a dish to be considered a comfort food. Here they are:

1) Tastes good
2) Relatively easy to make
3) Has an element of “I shouldn’t be eating this, but there ARE some vegetables in it, aren’t there?”
4) Should be made in a big batch for second helpings and/or leftovers for later
5) It’s a nice warm dish on a chilly night

Chicken and dumplings meets the criteria. I don’t normally follow conventional recipes so while I took pictures this time, please extend forgiveness if forgot something or didn’t give a measurement. Use your best judgment if you try this at home.

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

INGREDIENTS
MEAT
2-3 boneless chicken breasts (slice them in half horizontally so they are thinner and cook quicker)
4-6 boneless chicken thighs

HEALTHY STUFF
1, 2 or 3 carrots thinly sliced
3 stalks celery also sliced
8 ounce package sliced mushrooms
2 onions diced
1 red pepper & 1 green pepper chopped
1 bag of frozen green beans

LIQUIDS
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup (cream of celery might work too but I didn’t have any)
1 32 ounce carton of chicken broth
½ cup white wine (for quality control it is recommended that you taste test this prior to adding, while adding or after adding)

SEASONINGS
Black Pepper
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning
Thyme
Bay leaf

TOPPING
A tube or two of biscuits depending on how many dumplings you want. (The Grands work best but any will do)

DIRECTIONS
1. in a big pot, sauté in olive oil:
Chicken breasts and Chicken thighs

2. While these are cooking swiftly slice, dice, or chop the:
Carrots, Celery, Mushrooms, Onions, Red and Green Peppers

When you’re done, your vegetables should look something like this
IMG_1656

3. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and put in a bowl to cool. I actually exposed my breasts and thighs to cool outside in the chilly Chicago February weather and they looked something like this
IMG_1658

Add the chopped vegetables to the now emptied pot. Stir and simmer in the remaining chicken drippings for a minute or 3, then add

1 32 ounce carton of chicken broth, maybe not all of it but most of it
Cover and cook until the mixture is slightly tender, but not nearly all the way mushy. You may call this “Al dente”, but I think Al Dente is actually a pitching prospect for the Chicago Cubs. Then add

The “cream of” soups (I like to swirl the white wine in the can afterwards to get more of the soup mixture, cause you never get all of the “cream of” from the can. Then toss it in the pot)

Stir and simmer on low heat while you chop your chilled chicken into ½ inch cubes that look like this
IMG_1660

Add the chicken to the pot and stir in spices. Might be a good time to add the green beans too. You may not use the whole bag, just enough to add color and a different texture

Turn up the heat to a medium high (I used to be in a band called “Medium High”)
Pop open a couple of tubes of biscuits, tear them up into the size you want your dumplings to be and drop them in the simmering stew then cover

Simmer for 5 minutes or so, then stir it up and flip the biscuits that have now transformed into dumplings, not the ugly dumplings, but the tasty dumplings. Cover and simmer another 5 minutes.

Do not overcook or your dumplings will become white hockey pucks and you will not achieve your goal

When finished the masterpiece looks something like this

IMG_1663
Boom sha ka laka. Chicken and Dumplings. Takes about an hour.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, “cream of something soup and biscuits in a tube?” If you wanna be a purist, make your own dumplings from scratch, but don’t scratch your face when you’re making them or you’ll have dough all over your eyebrows. And good luck cleaning the dough off your fingers when you drop them. And, if you want to use some magic thickening agent other than “cream of” soup, be my guest.

Feel free to share your favorite comfort food with Wedwand. Thanks for your support during February Food Fare.

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