Onions, carrots and chicken broth are topped off with warm dumplings in this classic recipe. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Onions, carrots and chicken broth are topped off with warm dumplings in this classic recipe. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

A meal to warm up sleepy snow days

Chicken and dumplings are a simple, homey classic

A couple months after we moved into our first home together, my then boyfriend and I decided to go visit the local animal shelter “just to look” for a little creature to keep Base Camp warm while we were on our grand adventures.

We met all the cats in the shelter but kept going back to the lobby where two black kittens (the last of their litter) were kept in a large cage, waiting for a home. We left without them to take me to campus, but by the time my classes were done for the day, the brother and sister were safe with their forever family.

Now, six years later, my girl is curled up and purring on my husband’s office chair beside me while her brother lounges in my lap, and I think they’ve finally forgiven us for bringing a baby home.

This past weekend, we returned to the same shelter with my sister and her family to find two cats to add to their home as a surprise for the children who have been begging for a cat for a year. They brought home a pair of adult brothers, surrendered to the shelter with the rest of their siblings after someone decided to keep an unplanned litter — but just until they were grown. Those two lucky boys will never know rejection again but will be adored and cherished until the end of their days, like all pets deserve to be.

Through the recent snowstorms and sickness, we have been snugly nestled inside with our feline companions. I made chicken and dumplings for dinner and while I was picking meat off the chicken my kittens were right at my feet, eyes up in hopeful anticipation for the little nibbles I was sure to give them.

Chicken and dumplings

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I used store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time and energy)

1 cup diced white onion

½ cup diced carrot

½ cup diced celery

4 cups chicken stock

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/3 cup cream

3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the dumplings:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

¾-1 cup milk (variable)

1 tablespoon chicken base

½ teaspoon baking powder

Directions:

Saute your onion, celery and carrot in a little butter until tender.

Add the stock and chicken and bring to a simmer.

Whisk the chicken base into ½ cup milk until dissolved.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, eggs, and ½ cup milk and chicken base.

Add more milk as needed until the paste is thick and sticky — not dry or crumbly. You will need more or less milk depending on the size of your eggs.

When the soup has come to a simmer, use two spoons to scoop out the dumpling dough and form them like you would cookies, then drop them directly into the hot soup. You can make the dumplings as big as you want, but I think dough balls the size of ping-pong balls make the best finished dumplings.

Cook for 20 minutes. The dumplings should float when they are finished.

Make a slurry with the cream and cornstarch and add to the soup. Cook for another 10 minutes to thicken.

Garnish with extra pepper and chopped chives and parsley.

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