“My little dumpling” is probably a better endearment than “my little umlaut,” unless the target is feeling dumpy, in which case one is a lout for trying it. As part of my foray into Normal American Cooking, kccadtr had suggested chicken with dumplings, seconded by amystruth, while Curious_JG had thought chicken pot pie was a must-have.
Exploration proved that chicken-and-dumplings and chicken pot pie are roughly the same dish with different pastry constructions. So invigorated was I by my adventure with nectarine-blueberry cobbler that I decided to split the difference and create hearty chicken stew with a biscuit-like topping.
Since conversation had veered into whether today’s music is especially dreadful, I’d been thinking about disco, which fortunately is for me a vague, traumatic memory rather than a formative influence. This led to an urge to wallow in one of the earlier manifestations of New Wave as a Top 40 movement: Blondie.
In the vein of dim memories of the Bad Old Days, Blondie covered David Bowie’s “Heroes,” which reputedly has something to do with the Berlin Wall. For me, this version isn’t working: Debbie Harry’s speaking too many of the words, and the instrumentation can’t seem to decide if it’s angry punk guitars, emotionally removed synths, or maybe a last spasm of disco.
Throwing in whatever’s hanging around may work better for our chicken mix. I’m thinking a little onion, chopped, sautéed with cut-up chicken strips (half a package or about one-third of a pound) in a drizzle of olive oil is a good place to start. Add poultry seasoning, as this is poultry and it needs to be seasoned.
I’m amused that someone so quintessentially punkish as Debbie Harry started out in a folk-rock band called Wind in the Willows. Rolling Stone described her as having a “bombshell zombie’s voice that can sound dreamily seductive and woodenly Mansonite within the same song.” (Yes, Wikipedia, I love you too. Now put your hands in your pockets and let me chop some mushrooms.)
The mushrooms are because on Monday, we must cook foods that begin with M. Note that I have not included marshmallows or macaroons in the mix. Yet.
Also, courageously cut up a carrot. The mushrooms will go in the pan with the chicken and onion. The carrot… wait for it… won’t. Leave it sit for a minute.
When the chicken-onion-mushroom mix starts sizzling with the ardor of Blondie’s career circa 1979, pour in enough chicken broth to get everything good and juicy. You want enough broth to moisten the chicken mix while it’s in the oven, as the heat will not cause skinless, boneless, tasteless chicken bits to release juices. More’s the pity.
While scooping chicken mix into bowls or little casseroles — I’ve made enough for two servings — check out how Blondie injects punk anger into Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
Here we go! The carrots have made it into the bowls, along with some frozen peas. Set the bowls aside and start the oven heating at 350, thereby guaranteeing (if one has a cheap stove and a south-facing kitchen) that one will feel the burn-burn-burn.
With sweat trickling down my back, there was no way I was going to look for a biscuit recipe. I went by guess and memory:
–1/2 cup flour
–1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
–About 1 tablespoon brown sugar, to help w/ browning
–Hefty shake of garlic pepper
Mix well. Cut in 2 tablespoons of butter. Add 1/3 cup 2% milk and mix gently, not being too fussy about lumps.
To my relief, this was the right amount of batter. Why didn’t I do better in college chem lab?
Also a mystery is what is going on in one of Blondie’s biggest hits toward the end of its career (other than possibly a lot of stylish 1970s drugs), though it’s difficult to resist a punk/hip hop mash-up that contains the lyric “Back to back / Sacrailiac.”
So here’s a bonus video: “Rapture.”
Put the assembled bowls on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in a 350 oven. 20 minutes is a good time to check on progress; 25 minutes turned out to be just right for golden biscuit topping. Give ‘em another five minutes to cool to an edible temperature.
My feelings toward chicken pot pie are shaped by having been fed those dreadful frozen ones as a child. Made from scratch… it’s not bad. Next time, I’d add some of my beloved roasted garlic, as a little more flavor wouldn’t hurt.
At the same time as “Rapture,” Blondie had another #1 hit with a mash-up sound. This one’s with reggae. And Harry’s voice sounds gorgeous live.