When you’re younger, you make friends and you think they’re going to be there for the rest of your life. At least that’s what I thought. Turns out, most of them aren’t. You grow to be different. Priorities and interests change. You move lockers, pick different schools and suddenly you stop picking up the phone.
So, it would be normal for two little girls, who sat with two plastic spoons, eating key lime yogurt from one container, to no longer speak. But then, Lara Louise and I are not normal.
We’re dance-on-top-of-the-car-because-we-can friends. We’re sweet-chili-sauce-on-vanilla-ice-cream friends. (Don’t judge. Come back. I’ll share.) We’re frosting-fighting, cookie-cutting, coffee-drinking, swing-dance-dancing, giggle-like-we’re-five friends.
We’re also quiet. We enjoy simple nights. A bowl of something warm. A movie. A blanket. A couch. Each other. For those nights, I can think of nothing better than her Chicken and Dumplings.
Lara Louise’s Chicken and Dumplings
This warm and hearty dish originally came from Lara Louise’s mom. I find it to be the perfect cheap meal for a long chat with a friend. It is made primarily from pantry ingredients with a few freezer friendly additions. I like to serve it with a hunk of bread to soak up any remaining gravy.
3 TBS butter
¼ cup white onion, chopped
½ tsp salt (plus more as needed)
½ tsp pepper (plus more as needed)
3 TBS flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped carrots, microwave on low for 2 minutes
1 lb. cooked chicken of choice (see note)
Heat butter in a deep pan with lid. Add onions, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until tender. Add flour and stir thoroughly to make a roux. Add broth, stirring constantly to keep roux from sticking together.
Note: Gravy should be thick, but not as stiff as unbaked polenta. If it becomes too thick, thin with a little milk or water.
Add vegetables and chicken to gravy and bring to a low simmer. Top with spoonfuls of dumpling dough. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cover and cook 20 minutes longer. Check that dumplings are cooked all the way through by inserting a wooden toothpick. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go.
Note: Keeping gravy at low simmer will minimize chances of burning bottom of chicken and gravy in pan.
1½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
3 TBS shortening or butter
¾ cup milk
Measure flour, baking powder, and salt into bowl. Cut in shortening thoroughly until mixture looks like cornmeal. Stir in milk quickly.
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