Kachemak Cuisine: Chickens and eggs make great dishes

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I’m not sure, but I can’t image life without either. Eggs are a perfect portable food, tasty, nutritious and versatile. I have a friend who sells farm fresh eggs in beautiful shades of blue, beige and tan arranged in the carton so nicely they are a work of art.

The Other Fisherman has maintained a harem of laying hens for many years now. They contentedly live out their days in the poultry palace generously providing all the eggs we need. We take care of them and in turn, they provide us with big, beautiful, farm fresh eggs. We enjoy them for breakfast every morning and I always have a supply of eggs to cook with. They are such a prize and taste so much better than supermarket bought.

Years back when I was a kid, I had a good friend whose dad liked to cook. He made the best gourmet egg sandwich you could ever eat. I am pretty sure I have shared his egg sandwich recipe with you in a prior column, but I made one this weekend and it was just so darn tasty I just had to share it with you again. When I first tasted an “Uncle Don” gourmet egg sandwich I thought it was one of the best things to ever pass my lips. He used real mayonnaise and Grey Poupon Dijon mustard, which I had never tasted. Both ingredients were so good and so unique. We were pretty much a Miracle Whip and yellow mustard house at that time, so these new exotic tastes were something that I could have just sat down and eaten from the jar with a spoon.

To make an Uncle Don egg sandwich you will need the following:

• Farm fresh eggs – two per sandwich

• Thinly sliced slivers of red onion or any mild white onion

• Butter

• Salt and pepper

• 2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread

• Real mayonnaise such as Hellman’s

• Grey Poupon Dijon mustard

The procedure:

Spread both slices of bread with a layer of mayo and mustard. Don’t skimp on either.

Get out your favorite pan for frying eggs and a cover that fits it.

Over a medium-high heat melt a knob of butter in the pan. When the butter is foaming, crack two eggs into it. Scatter slivers of onion over the top of each egg. Sprinkle with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Add a little pat of butter to the top of each yolk. Cook the eggs until the whites are set up. With a butter knife, break the yolks and then add about a teaspoon of water to the pan. Cover and cook yolks to desired doneness. Set eggs atop bread and get ready to enjoy the most delicious egg sandwich ever.

What would comfort food be with a recipe for chicken and dumplings? A familiar and tasty dish to feed the soul and put a smile on your face.

Every family has their own version of this classic recipe. My mom cooked the chicken pieces in the pot with the broth and veggies and made the dumplings with Bisquick. For a busy, working mom with three hungry kids and a famished husband, fast and good were the two biggies when it came to putting a meal on the dinner table. I have time to spend in the kitchen, so I brown the chicken pieces and fuss with the recipe more than Mom had time for. I like to use a whole cut-up chicken, but any parts of the bird will work just fine if that is your preference. Some recipes call for drop dumplings while others call for dough that is rolled out and cut into squares or circles.

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• 1 broiler/fryer chicken (about 3 pounds), cut up

• 2 tablespoons canola oil

• 1 large onion, chopped

• 2 medium carrots, chopped

• 2 celery ribs, chopped

• 2 cloves garlic

• 6 cups chicken stock

• 1/2 cup white wine or apple cider

• 2 teaspoons sugar

• 2 bay leaves

• 5 whole peppercorns

• DUMPLINGS:

• 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 2/3 cup milk

• 1 tablespoon butter, melted

• SOUP:

• 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

• 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

• 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

• ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (for color)

• Additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken, one piece at a time, and toss to coat; shake off excess. In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in batches on all sides; remove from pan.

2. Add onion, carrots and celery to same pan; cook and stir 6-8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in 1/4 cup flour until blended. Gradually add stock, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns. Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 20-25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

3. For dumplings, in a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk milk and melted butter until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet; set aside.

4. Remove chicken from stockpot; cool slightly. Discard bay leaves and skim fat from soup. Remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Using two forks, coarsely shred meat into 1- to 1-1/2-in. pieces; return to soup. Cook, covered, on high until mixture reaches a simmer.

5. Drop dumplings on top of simmering soup, a few at a time. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of dumplings comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering). Gently stir in cream, parsley, thyme and turmeric. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Take care of each other.

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