Army Recipes – No. 385 Chicken Stew with No.314 Dumplings

WW2 Recipes BooksI own the US army recipes book from 1945 (TM10-412, August 1945) and the British equivalent the Manual of Army Catering Services Part II, Recipes.

Just the look and feel of both books says a lot about each nation.

The British manual is small, poorly bound and the paper is cheap. In contrast the US manual is larger, nice thick paper with a very practical metal spiral binding. When you look at the recipes of the two the British food is very dour, where as the US manual is actually quite exciting with a sections devoted to Cakes and Cookies, breakfast cereals.

The American recipes reflect a “melting pot” nation, where waves of immigrants had brought their own food, it has a section devoted to Macaroni, Spaghetti, Noodles and Rice. The British recipes, to generalise, is variations of “meat and two veg”. The only exception, tucked away at the back are a few pages covering Indian food. With so much of the British army having passed through Indian over the previous 200 years its surprising the section isn’ t bigger.

CookingToday I was tasked to cook for my wife and daughter, I reached for the US Manual and thought I would try Chicken Stew (No.385) with Dumplings (No.314).

I had to convert everything into grams, then reduce the ingredients for three people.

The only change I made was the use of chicken stock. As I wasn’t using a whole chicken just 800g of chicken breast, I thought I might miss the flavour of boiling down the whole chicken.

It proved to be very simple, and very nice. My wife claims not to like dumplings, she had to admit they were nice!

No.385. Chicken Stew (Serves 100)

Ingredients 100 Servings
Chicken – New York dressed 65 pounds
Chicken – full drawn 49 pounds
Celery – coarsely chopped 2 pounds
Onions – coarsely chopped 2 pounds
Carrots – diced 2 pounds
Flour – sifted
Water – Cold

  1.  Clean chicken; cut into suitable servings or leave whole.
  2. Add celery, onions, carrots, salt, and enough water to cover chicken.
  3. Cover tightly and heat to boiling point; reduce heat and simmer 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours or until tender.
  4. Drain stock from meat; heat stock to boiling point. Mix flour and small amount of stock; stir until smooth. Pour slowly into remaining stock. Heat to boiling point; reduce het and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove meat from chicken bones; cut into small pieces.
  6. Combine meat and gravy. Heat to serving temperature

No. 314. Dumplings (serves 100)

Ingredients 100 Servings
Flour – sifted 8 pounds
Baking powder 8 ounces (1/3 mess kit cup)
Salt 3 ounces (6 mess kit spoons)
Water 3-4 quarts

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Add water to make a stiff batter.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls on top of stew.
  4. Cover tightly and steam 15 minutes without removing from kettle during the cooking period.

NOTE: Serve dumplings separately or on top of meat.