Kitchen confidential: Dan Epstein, Eppie's


Dan Epstein and his chicken and dumplings

The secret to great cooking is... having fun. Get excited about it. If you're enjoying yourself, you're going to make better food.

The secret to success in the restaurant business is... surrounding yourself with great people. I work with wonderful people at Eppie's, and they're directly responsible for our success. Everybody works hard, we have fun, and we get to eat some good food. Maybe every successful business relies on a great team, but I think this is even more true in the restaurant business.

The secret to making Eppie's chicken and dumplings is... reducing the heat on the dumplings at the right time, so they turn out big and fluffy. Also, giving the soup time to thicken, so it turns into a nice, hearty stew.

Eppie's chicken and dumplings

1 1/2 lbs. cooked chicken (This can be white or dark meat, but it needs to be pulled and shredded. I suggest just buying a roasted chicken at the grocery store.)

1 can refrigerated biscuit dough (Don't use butter flavor or "flaky layer" dough. The dumplings will not work.)

9 cups chicken broth

1 tbsp parsley leaves

1/4 cup dried onion flakes

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp creole seasoning

1 small pinch white pepper


Shred the chicken by hand, taking care to remove bones and skin.

Cut the uncooked biscuit dough into small pieces. I suggest cutting each biscuit into eighths, but you could do fourths or sixths for even larger dumplings.

In a large pot, bring the broth to a strong boil over high heat.

Add the cut biscuit pieces to the broth. They will immediately puff up. When they're really big and airy, reduce the heat on the pot to medium high. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes. Don't stir.

Add the shredded chicken and spices. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer.

Give it some time to thicken (45 minutes to an hour), stirring occasionally, and serve.


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