Last night after watching a movie, as I prepared for bed I could not help but think of today’s post. The movie was about an adorable couple smitten with young love, enjoying a nurturing relationship that would last forever, or so it seemed, until a family member began interfering and everything went against the lead actor. No, it wasn’t a food movie like Mostly Martha, Like Water for Chocolate, What's Up Tiger Lilly, and certainly not, Julie & Julia. It had nothing to do whatsoever with food.
Midway through and after the anticipated breakup, we watched with eagerness for a resolution between the two and hopefully, the meddling brother being booted out of the movie. Fat chance. But, what we did get to watch, for some unknown reason, in the last moments of this flick is something we knew or sought from midpoint - that they would get back together despite the haughty actions from the controlling sibling. Of course, the reunion never happens, just a flash of a moment occurs with the two of them finding each other and just when you realize that it’s all going to be okay, well, the lead actor is hit by a truck . . . I know, an awful ending.
So what the heck does this have to do with anything? Well, it reminds me of how we spend much of our time nurturing a recipe in it’s early stages, developing it, testing it - only to not get it right, sometimes by external factors beyond our control and many times because we tend to be a little stubborn. This recipe is not going to be good, no one will ever eat it and they certainly are not going to like it. Then, with just a simple replacement, an additional ingredient or a smidgen extra nudge of seasoning, it becomes right. This is going to be good you say, everyone will love this and there’s not going to be even a spoonful left. So you proudly make it one more time - it’s finally really good, and you serve it up. Now, here comes the truck - no one in your family says a word. Nada. You find yourself having to fish for compliments. If you’re lucky, you just might get a “that was good” response. That’s when you look at your spouse and say, “Fine, then go live with your meddling brother.”
This is a recipe I created several years ago. After the initial ‘hit by the truck’ experience, it has gotten praise at every serving.
3 boneless chicken breasts
1 medium onion -chopped
1/2 bell pepper -chopped
6 leeks -washed thoroughly (white and pale green parts only), sliced thin crosswise
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Creole Seasoning
1 -12 oz package frozen dumplings (or make your own)
1/2 stick of butter
Paste of flour & butter
Place first ten ingredients in large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and continue cooking at a low simmer for a couple of hours. Remove meat and let cool enough to chop into bite size pieces, set aside. Let stock cool and skim fat from the top. Bring stock to a boil adding the butter and add 3 to 4 dumplings breaking into small pieces. Cook for 15 minutes, bring back to a low boil, add remaining dumplings a few at a time and simmer until almost done. Add a thickener if needed - mix together softened butter and flour to form a paste and stir into the pot. Add chopped meats, and simmer on low for a few minutes.
Serve with hot cornbread for a true southern experience.