So first, the confession. My mother never made chicken and dumplings. I read about them but have never actually eaten them prepared by anyone who knew what they were doing. Years ago when I was first learning to cook I tried some other recipe out of curiosity and it was so-so. Nothing to think about repeating for sure. But I kept seeing the recipe crop up here and there and the idea stuck with me that perhaps I was missing something.
Tonight I had a whole chicken to fix for dinner and was debating about whether to roast it whole, (I hadn’t marinated it so couldn’t do my favorite marinated roast chicken), cut it in pieces and bake it this way or use my Grandma’s old recipe or fry it . We’ve had 100+ degree weather the past week but today the clouds came in and a breeze came up. I’m not sure what the temperature was but I left the windows open all day and it was just perfect. It’s been a while since I’ve felt like I could cook “cool weather” food (I know it’s not COLD!). I hit upon trying chicken and dumplings again somehow because it’s been ages since we had soup.
Skimming recipes I saw a few patterns. First, there’s “noodle-like” dumplings (dough rolled out and cut in 1″ strips) or “drop” dumplings. Some of the dumplings were just flour and water; others added baking powder and/or broth and/or parsley. Some had eggs and milk. I settled on one nearly like the one from The Lady & Sons, Too!: A Whole New Batch of Recipes from Savannah. This is the second recipe I’ve tried from this book, which I just picked up over the holiday weekend. I’m not a big fan of cooking shows and rarely watch them but I tend to like “Southern” cooking so thought I’d try this. (Must be that Tennessee grandfather I heard about but never met who made his way to California, met my Grandma and the rest is history!)
Chicken and Dumplings
- 1 whole chicken, 3-4 pounds
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 bouillon cubes or start with broth
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 quarts water or so, enough to cover the chicken well
- 1 tsp Paula Deen’s House Seasoning if not too salty already
- 2 cups flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs dried parsley
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 10.5 can cream of chicken or celery soup or your own homemade white sauce
- Cut up the chicken if you want, but you don’t have to. On the other hand, if you bought a tray of chicken parts, go for it. Rinse and put in a stockpot and add at least 2 quarts water, enough to cover the chicken. Add the celery, onion, bullion and/or house seasoning, and bay leaves. Bring to boil, lower to a medium bowl, cover mostly, and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, until chicken is done. Remove the chicken from the pot and put it on a plate to cool a bit. Stir in the cream of whatever soup or your own white sauce to thicken up the broth a bit. Turn down the heat and leave it simmering.
- When you can handle the chicken, pull off the meat and cut or tear into large chunks. Remove the bay leaves at this point too. Discard the skin and bones. (I actually had started some broth from the neck and gizzard when I started the rest so I just added the bones to that pot and simmered through dinner to make a decent couple of cups of broth to freeze. That’s why the site is called CheapCooking! )
- Mix the cream of whatever soup in and add the chicken chunks. Let the soup continue to simmer.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, parsley, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Add the milk and blend. Drop the dough by small spoonfuls into the simmering broth. Do NOT stir at this point, they say, or the dumplings will break apart. Just tilt the pot and move it in a circular motion to get the broth around all the dumplings so they cook as separate pieces. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or so. I suspect the timing is not crucial.
My girls gave this a 5 star rating (and we usually only go up to 3 stars: one for each of us!).