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With fall upon us and cooler temperatures becoming a frequent visitor, I’m always looking for a hearty meal that can satisfy a crowd.
With a couple hungry buddies helping to lay in firewood for the coming season, it seemed right that I rustle up some grub that would satisfy their above average appetite.
Chicken Always Satisfies
Chicken soup warms you through and through. Plus, when it comes to feeding a group, chicken is about the most cost-effective meat you can buy.
I always keep a 10-lb bag of chicken leg quarters in the freezer. Mostly because the investment only amounts to about $5, but also because there are so many different meals you can make with that meat supply.
Today seemed fitting for a stew or soup. Of course, I could’ve popped open a couple cans of Progresso or Campbell’s finest. Both are quality products, but for friends and family, it has to be homemade.
The nice thing about soups and stews is almost anything goes. Recipes become guidelines that have plenty of flexibility built right in.
For example, I’ve made soups with noodles, even some with rice.
For this particular meal, I chose a family favorite that ends up on our supper table numerous times throughout the winter months.
Easy Chicken & Dumplings Recipe
The quantities listed here should be used as basic guidelines. Adjust as needed to suit your own cookware or anticipated crowd.
1. In a large soup pot, cauldron, or cast iron Dutch oven add 6-8 cups water and 2 or 3 chicken leg quarters (skin on and frozen is fine).
2. Bring to a low boil and let simmer for about an hour. After the timer rings, turn off the burner and remove the chicken. Remove and discard the skin and bones, then rough chop the meat and return it to the pot.
3. Peel and cube about 4 medium sized potatoes. Coarsely chop a good sized onion, 3 stalks of celery, and about 4 carrots. As Guy Fieri of the Food Network often says, “Everybody in the pool.”
4. For spices, I use a healthy teaspoon each of oregano, thyme, rosemary, and maybe a little sage. Of course, salt and pepper to taste, but don’t go crazy. I leave the final seasoning to the individual when served.
5. Simmer everything together for about a half hour.
Now… Chicken Soup or Chicken Stew?
This is where you have some choices. Do you want soup, or do you want stew? This is also where the dumplings get added to the mix.
If you like a clear soup, you can still do dumplings on top.
We like a gravy or more stew-like consistency, so next I mix 2 heaping tablespoons of flour with about 3/4ths of a cup of water. Pour this mixture into the soup while simmering and stirring, and in a minute or two things will thicken nicely making a nice stew.
For the dumplings it’s a simple matter of pouring some Bisquick or similar biscuit mix into a bowl. Add a small amount of milk until you can mix it into a thick mixture. Scoop spoonfuls of the mixture into the soup/stew. Then, cover and let it cook for another 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the cover and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or so.
You can go in many different directions with this meal.
I’ve made similar soups replacing the potatoes with noodles, rice, and even different beans and lentils. Or, replacing the chicken with some leftover ham is another good choice. You’re only limited by your imagination.
One thing’s for sure… one bowl will never be enough to satisfy a hearty appetite!
One of my all-time favorite "hobbies" is cooking at home! I especially enjoy experimenting with new ingredients …and different types of cookware. My specialties are foods that are diabetic-friendly, keto-friendly, and low-carb. I share my favorite recipes and cooking tips here at The Fun Times Guide to Food.