Column by Sharyn Thompson | Photo by John Lister
Cornwall Ontario – Here is the Canada Day edition of Sharyn Thompson’s From My Pantry: We have so much to be grateful for being a Canadian citizen. We live in such a beautiful country. When you see the violence and bloodshed in so many countries, we stop and appreciate that our country offers refuge and peace to those in need.
I read a wonderful book years ago about an American man being sent to Russia to help them to learn how to build cars on or about 1915. I believe he was also taking part in the Olympics there. Whatever happened, he was mistakenly taken for as a spy and was banished to Siberia. He was not even allowed to live in any village. There, to survive, he dug deeply under a large tree and he and his wife and daughter lived in this dug out cave for a number of years. He would tell stories to his little girl to help keep her mind off being so hungry and cold. When he said about America having such an abundance of food to eat, she said to him ‘More than one potato Daddy?’ That line has stayed with me all these years. It was unthinkable that anyone could have more than one potato to eat. Yes, we have more than one potato to eat here too!
Have a Happy Canada Day, celebrating our countries 149th birthday since Confederation. Thinking along the lines of our ancestors struggling to survive, to clear fields to grow their own vegetables and cut down trees to build their own log homes for shelter, I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings which I made a couple of weeks ago. This would have been a meal enjoyed by our great great grandparents in the 1800’s. Think of them standing in front of a hot wood stove, (being grateful to even have a woodstove) having no electricity, running water, and all or the comforts of home we take for granted now. Think!
OLD-FASHIONED CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
Just the name chicken and dumplings makes my mouth water. You know you will sit down to a tasty meal chock full of tender vegetables, chicken that will just fall apart when you touch it with your fork and a fluffy dumpling to top it all off!
- 2 packages of chicken legs (back attached) about 4 to 5 lb. (on sale for .99lb.)
- 3 lb. carrots
- 1 large onion
- 2 small turnips
- 3 parsnips
- several large potatoes
- 2 ribs of celery
- 2 chicken bouillon cubes
- cold water to cover
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 heaping tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. chopped parsley (fresh from my garden, but dried is fine)
- about 1/2 cup of milk (you may need to use more milk)
- Use a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Rinse the chicken legs in cold running water and place them in the pot.
- Add cold water to the pot to about 5″ over the chicken legs. Set this on the stove and over high heat, bring this to a boil.
- Prepare your vegetables. Peel the carrots and parsnips and slice them. Slice the celery and dice the onion.
- Peel and dice the potatoes and turnips. To be safe, cut one slice off the turnip. Now it will be stable and won’t roll when you peel it and then cut it up.
- Add the vegetables and bouillon cubes to the boiling chicken and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook this until everything is nice and tender.
- Carefully, using a slotted spoon, lift out the chicken legs and take out all of the bones. Place the de-boned chicken back into the pot.
- Now make your dumplings:
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Add the chopped parsley and begin to add the cold milk. The dough needs to be soft enough to be able to be dropped from a spoon. Don’t overmix.
- Drop the dumpling dough over top of the boiling chicken stew. They should be able to sit right on top of the vegetables and chicken. -Place the lid tightly on the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Do NOT lift the lid in this time.Not lifting the lid ensures that your dumplings will be nice and fluffy.
- Serve immediately once the dumplings have cooked for 15 minutes. Your family will just love this supper!