I never jumped on the kale bandwagon. Not that I don’t eat it, persay, but I was never inspired to create recipes using it. Most of the time, I wait for black Tuscan kale to appear at the farmer’s market, and I fry it with heaps of olive oil, sliced garlic, and dried chiles and serve over penne pasta. Repeat, ad nauseam. It’s hardly anything special.
But, I’ve been reading about collard greens being the next kale. This excites me greatly because the flavor is more familiar to me. I read a great article about collard greens from Biscuits and Such. Elena does a great job wrangling the internet and posting the best of it in her Lovely Internets column. (Side note: I’m still reeling over the Toast article she linked to the week prior. Fascinating).
If you love to cook, do you read about food? Is reading and thinking about food all day considered the norm or the extreme? Anyway, I believe there’s a time when you fall in love with food, cook anything and everything, gain some weight, and then settle back in with the food of your childhood. Which is probably why kale will never become a regular in my kitchen.
My favorite foods from my childhood always involve broth. Navy beans from the slow cooker. Chicken noodle soup with turnips in the broth for extra spice. Beef stew in a rich paprika tomato broth. I love, love broth. If it was socially acceptable to drink a hot mug of chicken broth in the morning instead of coffee, I would do it. Ok, now I’m imagining Starbucks serving broth in a silver thermos next to the cream and sugar station. Sign me up for that, please.
Remember my New Year’s resolution to further delve into my selfishness and cook my favorite foods more often? You’re going to be getting a lot more of that around these parts. First up: chicken and dumplins with a smattering of collards stirred in.
This stew is special in my eyes because I essentially make double-strength chicken stock. When the flour from the dumplings thicken the double strength chicken stock, well, there are no words for the flavor.
- 1 quart homemade chicken stock*
- 1 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breast with tenderloin attached
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 collard green leaves
- In a soup pot, combine the chicken stock and chicken breast. Sprinkle in a big pinch of salt, and turn the heat to medium. Let it come to a simmer, and then lower the heat slightly and continue to cook the chicken until it registers 165-degrees in the thickest part of the meat. This took me about 25 minutes.
- When the chicken is almost done, start making the dumplings: combine the flour, baking powder, and another pinch of salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and pinch it through your fingertips to distribute it evenly in the flour mixture. Next, stir in the milk gently. Do not over-stir, or the dumplings will be tough.
- Flour a cutting board very well (not because the dough is overly sticky, but because any extra flour thickens the broth nicely). Pat out the dough into a rough rectangle, about 1/8"-1/4" thick. It doesn't have to be perfect. Sprinkle more flour on top, then cut the dough into square shapes.
- Next, de-stem the collard greens and slice each leaf in half length-wise. Stack all of the leaf halves, and cut into thick match-stick shapes. Set aside.
- When the chicken is done, remove it from the broth and set it aside to cool. Bring the broth to a brisk simmer, then drop in the dumplings one at a time. Sprinkle the collards on top. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones. Add it back to the soup just before serving. Stir the soup gently, and adjust it for salt if needed. Sprinkle with plenty of black pepper before serving.
*If you use a store-bought product, be sure to buy stock instead of broth. Stock is supposed to be made with meat bones, while broth can be made without. Thick, high quality stock makes the best soup.
The amount of salt the recipe requires depends entirely on the broth used. Taste as you cook, and adjust before serving.