Cheater Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients:
  • a rotisserie chicken. Almost every grocery store has them hot nowadays... just waiting for you
  • a box of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2/3 - 1 cup evaporated milk in the can
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • a can of biscuits - doesn't matter what kind
  • salt, pepper, poultry seasoning
  • flour 
  • a few sprigs of thyme for garnish (optional)
Method: 
When you get home, strip the meat from the carcass of the rotisserie chicken.  Cover the meat in a bowl, and throw the carcass into a pot covered with the chicken broth and water to cover the chicken.  Season the water with salt, pepper, and a little poultry seasoning.  Get that on first and let your broth "build" flavor while you go about your afternoon business - putting up groceries, checking homework, getting hugs and kisses, etc. 

I let it boil for about an hour and a half to extract the flavor out of the bones, skin, etc.  Using the parts that you would have thrown away (skin, bones) to make the broth really stretches the buck out of that $5/6 dollar chicken!!  If you want, you can add a few sprigs of fresh thyme.  Just throw them in whole.  The little tender leaves will separate from the stems, which you can fish out later.  (You could also do this part ahead of time and have the broth ready in the fridge when you get home.)

For the dumplings, liberally sprinkle your work surface with all purpose flour.  Arrange the biscuits on the flour.  Sprinkle the biscuits with a mixture of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.  It may seem odd to you  that I season the dough, but this ensures that I have seasoning at every level of the dish. 

Roll them dumplings out very thin (larger than my hand) and make easy work of cutting them by rolling over them with a pizza wheel.  I often let the kids help me roll out and cut the dumplings.  Don't worry if they aren't all the same.  Again - who cares?  You are spending time together and they are learning skills and having fun.  Period.  Keep it all in perspective.  Gather up the dumpling pieces with the flour and set them to rest in a plate.  The more flour you pick up with them, the thicker your final broth, so adjust according to the preferences of your family/guests. (You could also make these dumplings ahead of time and put them in the fridge.)

After the broth has "developed," remove all pieces and parts of the carcass with a spider or by using a strainer. 

Bring the broth to a boil and add the dumplings. At first, they will puff up and get super fluffy.  Don't worry.  They won't stay that way.  Add the butter and evaporated milk and give them a good few stirs.  Let them cook on about a medium to medium high boil for about 15 minutes.  The dumplings will thin out and drop down, and the broth will thicken.  It's like magic.

Now, you can turn off the heat (or turn to low heat) and add in the cooked, rotisserie chicken. At this point, we have done very little real "work" and have thick creamy broth and tender dumplings.  Adding the chicken back at the end ensures that it won't be overcooked and dry.. and also that it won't break up into sheds (we prefer nice healthy hunks of chicken).  

Serve to some people you love.. and stay dry and cozy.  Enjoy family time.