Lola Cooks: TexMex Chicken and Dumplings

Isn't it interesting how food affects mood?  Many of my childhood memories circle around meals or gatherings where food was part of the supporting cast.  As an adult, I make plans and even consider vacation spots based on the cuisine involved.

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To relive our fond food feelings we often make dishes that are familiar.  But what happens when our tastes have changed?  Today we offer up a classic dish from my childhood... with a twist.  The majority of my childhood was spent in Michigan.  Chicken and dumplings was a common meal for us.  Not only is it warm and hearty for those chilly falls and chillier winters, but it is cheap to make.  However, the words cilantro and chorizo were not part of our vocabulary.  It wasn't until I moved around that I started experiencing other flavors.

As I prepared this comfort food dish I was transported to a simpler, more cozy place.  Lifting the cast iron lid and seeing those dumplings took me right back to a cozy seat next to the wood stove.  The flavors have changed a bit, but the feelings are just the same.  

savour... comfort with a spoon

Get the rest after the jump... 

TexMex Chicken and Dumplings    

Before you start:

The dumplings will easily double in size so give them a bit of space between.

The steam cooks the dumplings.  Therefore, it is critical that the lid remains in place for the 15 minutes it takes for the dumplings to cook.  Any release of steam will hinder the process.

Make yours more or less spicy by adding some fresh jalapeño to the stock.

You may prefer to add a bit more salt and pepper depending on your preference and the spiciness of your chorizo.

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The ingredients:

  • 1 chorizo link (about 4 oz)
  • 2 – 2 ½ pounds of chicken pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup sliced celery (about 3 or 4 ribs)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour

For the dumplings:

  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • milk enough to make up 2/3 cup liquid with egg (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoon of butter (melted)
  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ tablespoons diced jarred jalapeño

The method:

  1. Put chicken stock and water in large pot over medium heat.  Bring to a low simmer.
  2. Cook chorizo in bottom of dutch oven type pot over medium heat. Remove from pan.
  3. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken pieces.
  4. Brown chicken with skin on in chorizo renderings.
  5. Remove chicken from pan and allow to cool to the touch.
  6. Remove skin from chicken and put in stock to poach for 20 min.
  7. Remove chicken from stock and cool to the touch.
  8. Pull chicken from bones and cut into one inch pieces.
  9. Bring dutch oven back to medium high heat.
  10. Cook vegetables for 4-5 minutes.
  11. Sprinkle with all purpose flour.
  12. Stir continuously for another 3 minutes.
  13. Ladle in stock stirring after each addition to loosen up flour coated vegetables.
  14. Add remaining stock.
  15. Add chorizo and chicken pieces and keep at low simmer.
  16. Make dumplings by sifting together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  17. Stir in cilantro and cheese.
  18. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk and egg.
  19. Stir just until moistened.
  20. Use two teaspoons to drop rounded mounds of dough into the pot on top of the simmering stew.
  21. Place the lid and cook covered for 15 minutes without lifting the lid.
  22. At 15 minutes check dumplings for doneness.  If not done, cover again and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  23. Serve warm.  Approximately 6 servings.