Making chicken stock is much like making beef stock. It requires your bones/meat, aromatic vegetables, herbs of preference, peppercorns, salt, and water. The length of simmer time is considerably less than beef, due to the size difference in the animal. A general rule is the larger the animal, the longer the simmer time. Beef stock requires a long period of time (24-48 hours) to break down the collagen and extract the marrow flavor from the bones. Chicken bones are much smaller with less marrow so they do not take as long to break down and extract flavor (12-24 hours).
Because chicken is such a widely consumed and readily available meat, it is a stock that people will typically make over others. Beef marrow bones aren't something that you get when you purchase meat at the grocery store, you have to purchase them separately. Chicken stock can be made with either a roaster chicken carcass, or any bone scraps leftover from dinner.
If you don't have a whole chicken, save any drumstick/thigh/wing bones you have leftover from dinner. Because the bones are so small, the stock requires more in order to develop flavor. Save the bone scraps in a bag in the freezer until you get a good stockpile that you can use to make stock. However you gather your bones, making chicken stock is super easy and prevents waste. The taste difference between homemade and store bought is undeniable, and because chicken stock is a pantry staple it is well worth the effort!
One of my top all-time comfort meals without a doubt has to be chicken and dumplings. Its a hearty, rich, and rustic stick to your bones meal that's great if you're in the mood for a satisfying mostly hands free dinner. For some reason though despite my love for vegetables, I prefer a non-traditional take on it. Most chicken and dumpling recipes have carrots and celery in a pale gravy with dense and heavy dumplings. This just doesn't do it for me, and I prefer a different approach.
When I think of chicken and dumplings I think of a rich darker gravy with a bright, fresh, herby and mushroom flavor with flaky biscuit-like dumplings. By omitting some of the classic ingredients such as carrots and celery, and replacing them with a wild mushroom blend and bouquet of fresh herbs, you get a different take on a classic dish. Then by preparing the dumplings like a biscuit, it ensures a light and airy texture that isn't heavy and dense. Whether you love the traditional style or just want to try something different, this dish does not disappoint!
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