As of late, I’ve been writing about being bored cooking. Last week, I decided to work on my preparation and knife skills. As no one should consider themselves at the top of their game, there is always something that we can examine and improve upon in our lives. I like to think I’m a wiz with a knife. In reality, I’m average. Beef and Barley soup worked on those skills a bit. I learned very quickly that cutting meat is something that I have quite a road for improvement. Though the final product was delicious, looking at the pile of chopped meat there were varying shapes and sizes. I’d definitely get a C- from Anne Burrell!!!
Along side my Beef and Barley soup last Sunday, I started working on a chicken stock to make Chicken and Dumplings. This recipe came from the newer “The Enlightened Cook” section of Cooking Light magazine. I made the stock using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs from a frozen state. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous starting at a frozen state. The final product turned out just fine. Getting back to knife skills, I found that my produce cutting skills are much more advanced. I still have a lot of work to do on my consistency. However, the general output has been quite successful and comes with more speed than meat cutting. I think I’m going to read further which knives should be used for which preparation…after I sharpen my knives. I’ve been naughty and dropping them in the top shelf of the dishwasher. I know, shame on me!!! No more, I promise!
One commentary on the Chicken and Dumplings. I was fairly unimpressed with the dumplings. Using a very solid cast iron stock pot, the amount of heat generated using even simmer was too high for the delicate dumplings this recipe called for. I found that these dumplings quickly melted into the stock. To combat this issue and save the dish, I skipped the thickening process called for in the recipe as the disintegrated dumplings were enough to thicken the stock. I made some egg-based dumplings which held up quite well. We had the last of the leftovers for dinner last night. Just as good reheated!!!