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Old 03-01-2009, 01:51 PM
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Default Dumpling Disaster! Advice Needed!

My wife does the menu planning and most of the shopping; I cook. She got it in her head that she wanted Chicken & Dumplings, something neither of us had every made and probably had never even had (it's not exactly your typical SoCal fare, and we're both natives). So she picked a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Chicken for Dinner cookbook (page 55), which like all the WS books has proved reliable in the past. Until last night.

The recipe calls for cooking a whole chicken with celery, carrots, bell pepper, onion, garlic, rutabaga, parsnip, bay, thyme, and salt & pepper in a Dutch oven with enough water to cover for about an hour. That part was quite good -- chicken was tender and very tasty.

The dumplings, however, were a total disaster. The recipe is simple enough (too simple, IMHO): sift 1 cup flour with ½ tablespoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt; cut in 3 tablespoons butter until consistency of coarse meal; add ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley; mix in ¼ cup milk with a fork until a firm dough forms; pinch off pieces of the dough and roll into 8 to 10 balls. The recipe then directs you to remove the cooked chicken from the pot, bring it back to a boil, put the dumplings into the boiling broth, and cover and cook until they "puff and the interiors are uniformly set, 10-15 minutes."

I followed the directions to the letter. I am very familiar with making dough, so I'm sure I did that part correctly. However, the dough balls pretty much dissolved into the boiling liquid, ruining the broth. Only about half of each dumpling remained intact, and although they did puff up, they were gooey and tasteless. Yuck! The would-be leftovers were dumped.

So, dumpling experts, what's wrong with this recipe? It is this the way they're supposed to be? If so, I'll have a matzo ball, please!
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Old 03-01-2009, 02:21 PM
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Default Re: Dumpling Disaster! Advice Needed!

Hard to tell....the amounts sound about right. Dumpling dough should be the consistency of biscuit dough. Probably shouldn't have used boiling broth. It should just be simmering. The boiling part is going to blow them apart.
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Old 03-01-2009, 02:27 PM
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Default Re: Dumpling Disaster! Advice Needed!

I've never covered the pot back up after adding dumplings. Seems like it would get really hot with no place for moisture to escape. I have no idea if that was your problem though. Just saying...
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Old 03-01-2009, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Dumpling Disaster! Advice Needed!

The pot should only be simmering. The rolling boil is what broke up your dumpling.
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Old 03-01-2009, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Dumpling Disaster! Advice Needed!

I suspected as much. Not only was the pot boiling per the recipe, it was full of chunks of veggies that then pummeled the dough balls to pieces!
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Dumpling Disaster! Advice Needed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama View Post
The pot should only be simmering. The rolling boil is what broke up your dumpling.
exactly what Mama said... also you dont want to overwork your dumplings before you cook them..makes then alot more dense
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: Dumpling Disaster! Advice Needed!

What Mama said, and you cooked them too long. It doesn't take long at all to cook a dumpling.....15 minutes is overkill and will cause them to disintegrate.

However, you do want them to cook down a little as this will thicken your sauce. For an easier solution, use prepackaged biscuits in a can. Just pinch off the pieces. That's the easy way.
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