Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Melissa's Chicken and Squash Dumplings

If you were limited on the potential of squash, you won't be after this week's posts! Squash isn't just for casseroles anymore! There are so many varieties and it is such a versatile vegetable. Don't get me wrong, I love a good squash casserole that just screams Southern Comfort Food. This week however, we are taking squash in a very different comfort food direction...and we have selected the amazing butternut variety to accompany us!

Melissa's Chicken and Butternut Squash Dumplings

1 large hen
water to cover
1 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. basil
1 tbsp. sage
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tbsp. parsley
1 tbsp. bay leaves
1 tbsp. turmeric

Place hen in pot, cover with water then add all of the spices. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer about an hour or until meat is thoroughly cooked and falling off the bone. Remove the chicken and set it aside. When cool enough to handle, skin and bone the chicken and shred or cut it into bite sized pieces.

2 cups flour
1 cup cooked butternut squash, mashed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the flour baking powder and salt. Add your squash.
Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it's well combined. Add water and knead 8 to 10 times. You can add small amounts of flour if the dough becomes sticky. Roll the dough out to and cut into 1-inch x 5 inch strips. Bring the broth back to a rolling boil, drop in your dumplings, cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked. Add your chicken and remove from heat. Cover for 30 minutes to allow your broth to thicken.

A great accompaniment for these chicken and dumplings are another squash favorite...Squash Pickles! This recipe calls for your simple yellow crook neck squash:

Southern Squash Pickles

6 medium crook neck squash - sliced
1 small jar mustard seed
3 cups sugar
3 cups white distilled vinegar

Bring sugar, vinegar and mustard seed to a boil stirring constantly so sugar will dissolve and not burn. Add your squash, and let cook for approximatley 5 minutes. You do not want to over cook the squash and you will end up with mushy pickles. Prepare your canning jars by washing and placing in hot water, One at time, add pickles and firmly pack your jar. Fill with your juice. Remove all air bubbles, then wipe rim and seal with lid and band. Process the canned pickles in a boiling water bath for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool overnight, the check for solid seals by gently pressing the centers of the lids. If they do not press in at all, you have a good seal. If they have not sealed you can either attempt to reprocess or refrigerate. You can also add pimentos to this recipe for color and Viadlia rings for contrast if desired.


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