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Monday, March 4, 2024 at 4:51 PM
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What’s Cooking in Kelli’s Kitchen - Dumplings and Pickle

Editor’s note: Our dear Kelli Kelly has temporarily traded the Nevada winter for a fun visit with her New York family. In honor of her visit, she sent us a flashback article she wrote in 2017.
What’s Cooking in Kelli’s Kitchen - Dumplings and Pickle
Pickle (now nine) and Kelli. Photo courtesy of Kelli Kelly.

My sister Erin is not particularly skilled in the kitchen. She tries her best - but honestly, folks, she once burned spaghetti. Not the sauce, the noodles. Consider that for a moment. Erin dropped dried pasta into boiling water and left them in the pot for so long that all the water evaporated, and the noodles burned to a crisp. So, I was not in the least surprised when Erin sent me a text that said that she was cooking something, and it was causing her husband a little anxiety. What did surprise me was that ‘cooking’ was a metaphor, and Brian’s anxiety was about becoming a father. 
September 18th, 2015, marked the day my darling nephew “Pickle” came into this world. It also marked the day that Erin and Brian became amazing parents, and I became a doting aunt. Brian was not particularly happy with me for assigning the womb name “Pickle” to his unborn son; he subsequently dubbed me Auntie Meathead. 
In February (2017), E&B headed to Sweden to ski and snowshoe, staying in a hotel made entirely of ice and attempting to see the Northern Lights. So Erin asked me to come to Brooklyn to Pickle-sit. 
When I visit, I make it a goal to home-cook as many meals as I can, and I was excited to cook for Pickle for the first time.
My nephew Pickle is a pretty amazing toddler. Despite being only 17 months old, he is a remarkable judge of the quality of a meal, as evidenced by his enthusiasm for consuming Auntie Meathead’s Chicken and Dumplings. 
Chicken and Dumplings is one of my favorite comfort meals of all time. In this recipe, you start by making stock with a whole chicken, ensuring your house smells great all day. The stock becomes the basis of the cooking medium for buttermilk dumplings, which get puffy and huge. Add to all of this the poached chicken, sauteed vegetables, and cream. It doesn’t get much better. I was delighted that Pickle agreed. Overall, I think he ate Chicken & Dumplings for four days before we ran out.
To my sister Erin: You might suck at cooking in the kitchen, but you definitely cooked up an amazing little Pickle. Keep on being a great mom. You can always get spaghetti delivered.

Chicken & Dumplings 
With apologies to Tyler Florence

Ingredients 
For stock 
1 chicken 
1 onion, halved 
2 bay leaves 
2 T black peppercorns 
1 head garlic, split down the middle 
2 carrots 
4 stalks celery 
 

For soup
2 T butter 
2 T canola oil 
2 ea carrots, peeled and diced 
2 ea celery stalks, diced 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
¼ c flour

Reserved stock
1 c frozen peas
1 c pearl onions 
¼ c heavy cream

For dumplings 
2 c flour 
1 T baking powder 
1 t salt 
2 ea eggs 
1 c buttermilk 
1 bunch green onions, chopped Directions:

For Stock: 
Put all ingredients in a large pot, cover with cold water, and heat slowly till simmering. When chicken is cooked through, remove from heat. Strain and reserve stock, shred chicken.

For Soup: 
Sweat carrots and onions in melted butter and oil. Add garlic. When vegetables are soft, add flour and whisk for about 5 minutes. Add reserved stock and cook until thickened. Stir in reserved chicken, peas, pearl onions, and cream.

For Dumplings: 
Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined. Stir in green onions. 
Working in batches as necessary, drop large spoonfuls of dumpling batter into simmering soup. The dumplings should cover the top of the soup - but don’t crowd them too close together. They take about 15 minutes to cook through. Flip the dumplings over after about seven minutes and let simmer until they are firm and puffy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Kelli Kelly-Slinger of  Produce. Slurper of Dumplings. Person of the Bean.


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