Thursday, August 16, 2012

deep south dish - chicken and dumpling bake

Back in June, I tried out this recipe for the first time.  The first time around, I followed the recipe closely except I added a layer of green beans and corn on top of the chicken.  Scott really likes chicken and dumplings - his mom makes a good chicken and dumplings dish with Bisquick (which I have also made), so I figured I would give this one a try.

The first time around, the batter was pretty thick - which made it hard to spread on top of the chicken/vegetables.  Also, I wasn't sure if the 1/2 stick of butter on the bottom was necessary, and it definitely adds plenty of fat/calories.  It turned out okay - Scott liked it, but I thought it was rather bland.  When I reheated leftovers I added garlic, black pepper and salt, which made it somewhat better.

I tried it again this week with a few changes.  First step was to mix the two batters and make sure they weren't as thick (I used just a liiittle extra milk).  One other change here was that I used cream of mushroom instead of cream of chicken soup... mostly because that's all I had, but also because I wanted to see if Scott would notice/dislike the cream of mushroom!
I also had to cook and chop/shred the chicken.  This is possible the most annoying part of this recipe.  I made note of it the first time - for a weeknight, cooking and shredding chicken and THEN baking it for ~45 minutes is just too long of a process.
Next, I sprayed the pan with cooking spray and skipped the butter, layering chicken, then vegetables, then the flour mixture, then the cream of soup mixture...
I added in garlic, parsley, black pepper, salt, and a little bit of hot sauce to try to kick up the flavors a notch, and then I baked the casserole for 45-50 minutes at 400.  I do think it had more flavor this time ,but I might have gone overboard on the pepper and added too much.  Scott still liked it (didn't notice the mushrooms) and I think the mushroom flavor added a lot.  Overall, this is a good, easy, everyone-will-like-it type of recipe... but unless you have pre-shredded chicken you might not want to make it on a weeknight.
Next time, I'll probably add black pepper (but less) and salt again and maybe try either Dijon Mustard or Honey Mustard - something to give it more flavor!  Other veggies would be good too (but Scott friendly veggies are hard to come by).

Scott commented that I've been making a lot of casseroles lately... so maybe I need to try something new and exciting... any fun recipes that you would recommend?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sara! I like to grill in the summer & grilled some Italian sausages tonight along with Vidalia onions and red pepper chunks brushed with olive oil for sandwiches, along with a cucumber, tomato and onion salad dressed with olive oil and vinegar. Don't know if it's fun, but it's a super easy meal & delicious too! I like to put the sausages in a skillet with about a 1/2 inch of water, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, then take them to the grill for about another 10.

    On the recipe, gosh I'm really sorry that the casserole didn't quite meet your expectations either time. It's one of the most popular & well loved recipes on my site! Here's a few tips I thought I'd share that might be helpful if you ever try it again. If you use a Healthy Request or lower sodium/fat cream soup, I do find those to be bland. They are also much more watery than the original cream soup. You definitely have to bump up the seasonings in the casserole with those products & maybe even reduce some of the liquid. I use the original version of cream of chicken soup.

    The advantage of boiling a few chicken breasts is that you have the broth to use from it. That also adds some flavor to the casserole, but to have already prepared chicken on hand, one thing that I do on a weekend or when I have a little more time, is to cook a whole chicken - in the winter I often roast two at a time even. I put up some of the shredded meat in the freezer so that it's ready to go whenever I want to make a casserole. You can boil it, crockpot or pressure cook it, roast or bake it. Eat some, put up the rest. I usually have several bags in there - saves a lot of time!

    The butter adds flavor & richness to the casserole of course but it also helps to keep the cooked chicken moist. I don't mix the next two layers together because I was looking for a reaction similar to a cobbler, where sections of the flour mixture would push up around the soup and broth layers to form a texture resembling a dumpling. The idea was to create a casserole that resembled chicken and dumplings. Casseroles aren't the healthiest meals I guess, but they sure are comforting! Here's the link to the original recipe if you'd like to include that in your post so that folks can see the original method and tutorial:

    Just wanted to share those tips in case you ever decide to give the casserole another try! I hope that you do. Thanks for visiting Deep South Dish and good luck with your marathon!