Kay Wheeler Moore

Welcome to my blog

Hello. . .

The Newfangled Country Gardener is for anyone who has a garden, would like to have a garden, or who simply enjoys eating the garden-fresh way. I don't claim to be an expert; in this blog I'm simply sharing some of the experiences my husband and I have in preparing food that is home-grown.

About the author

Kay Wheeler Moore is the author of a new cookbook, Way Back in the Country Garden, that features six generations of recipes that call for ingredients that are fresh from the garden. With home gardening surging in popularity as frugal people become more resourceful, this recipe collection and the stories that accompany it ideally will inspire others to cook the garden-fresh way and to preserve their own family food stories as well. The stories in this book center around the Three Red-Haired Miller Girls (Kay's mother and aunts) who grew up in Delta County, TX, with their own backyard garden so lavish that they felt as though they were royalty after their Mama wielded her kitchen magic on all that was homegrown. Introduced in Kay's previous book, Way Back in the Country, the lively Miller Girls again draw readers into their growing-up world, in which a stringent economic era--not unlike today's tight times--saw people turn to the earth to put food on the table for their loved ones. The rollicking yarns (all with recipes attached) have love, family, and faith as common denominators and show how food evocatively bonds us to our life experiences.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sweet potatoes, chicken and dumplings—a happy combination

Hubby loves nothing than better than chicken and dumplings, unless we’re talking sweet potatoes. Those are all his faves. So when I saw a recipe for Sweet Potato Chicken and Dumplings, I knew Hubby would do triple back-flips over such a dish.

The recipe was featured in a magazine article on lightened-up comfort foods—ways to rework hearty old standbys into more healthy entrees. In this dish the dumplings were created from a combination of sweet and white potatoes mixed with Parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary. The recipe called for less flour than the typical chicken-and-dumplings offering; it also featured a light, flavorful chicken broth instead of the usual heavy gravy.

My dumplings didn’t have the rosy coloration that the magazine photo showed because the day of my marketing, my grocery didn’t carry any of the standard golden sweet potatoes and instead had white sweet potatoes for sale. But the sweet-potato flavor was the same as if I’d use the golden variety.

The magazine described the sweet-potato dumplings as pillowy and gnocci-like. Couldn’t ask for a more perfect January meal. And yes, Hubby was more than excited about this combination of his besties.

Chicken and Sweet Potato Dumplings

1 (3 3/4-pound) whole chicken
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
Sweet Potato Dumplings (recipe follows)
Shaved Parmesan cheese
Flat-leaf parsley leaves

Bring chicken, next 7 ingredients and water to cover to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour. Remove chicken, reserving broth in Dutch oven. Cool chicken 30 minutes. Meanwhile cook reserved broth in Dutch oven over low heat 30 minutes. Skin, bone, and shred chicken; reserve bones. Place bones in broth. Cover and chill shredded chicken until it is ready to use.  Continue cooking broth, uncovered, over low heat for 1 hour or until it is reduced by one-third. Pour broth through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Wipe Dutch oven clean; pour broth back into Dutch oven. Skim fat from broth. Add thinly sliced onion and next 2 ingredients to broth; cook over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally, 20 minutes, or until carrots are crisp-tender. Add shredded chicken; return to a simmer. Add Sweet Potato Dumplings to soup. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley. 

Sweet Potato Dumplings

2 medium-sized baking potatoes (about 3/4 pound)
1 large sweet potato (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or salt substitute)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick all potatoes with a fork. Bake potatoes on a jelly-roll pan 1 hour. (I baked mine on the microwave oven setting for potatoes.) Cool potatoes 20 minutes. Peel and mash until potatoes are smooth. Add cheese and next 4 ingredients. Stir until smooth. Fold in flour just until blended. Divide dough into 4 equal portions; dust with flour. Roll each into a 3/4-inch-diameter rope on a well-floured surface. Cut into 1-inch pieces; place dumplings on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cook dumplings, 10 to 12 at a time, in 3 quarts of boiling water over medium-high heat, 3 minutes. remove with a slotted spoon. Makes 8 servings. (Source: Southern Living, January 2013)

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