Country Chicken and Dumplings
I cannot think of anything more quintessentially comforting than chicken and dumplings. We didn’t eat them often growing up, but when we did, there were few leftovers (and those didn’t last long, either.) Every homecoming, dinner on the grounds, covered dish, and potluck I have been to has a dish that is poken of in hushed tones, with its crator revered as a culinary hero. Many times that dish has been chicken and dumplings. This recipe, found in an old church cookbook, is more complex than my usual chicken and dumplings. I wanted to try it, due to its quaintness and start-to-finish intricacy. Don’t let the multiple steps deter you from trying this for your next covered dish or quiet evening at home - you will not regret this deliciousness!
Ingredients: 1 whole chicken (broiler/fryer size), water, cut celery stalks, salt, all-purpose flour, baking powder, butter
Step One: place chicken in Dutch oven. (Be sure to remove innards - this particular brand of chicken from my local Food Lion had them neatly packed up and easy to remove.)
Step Two: add water, celery, and salt and bring to a boil.
Step Three: cover. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or until tender. (Story time: my Dutch oven, which we don’t use often, as we are typically throwing dinner together swiftly rather than slow and steady, cracked. The crack could have been there before or occurred while cooking, but, either way, I came to check on my simmering chicken and found water seeping out all over my stovetop. I saw the crack, and had to transfer the chicken and celery with more water into my stock pot. Everything turned out okay, but it certainly left a mess!)
Step Four: remove chicken from broth and cool. Discard celery.
Step Five: debone chicken and cut/pull into bite-sized pieces. Set aside meat and ¾ cup of broth.
Step Six: bring remaining broth to a boil.
Step Seven: combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Step Eight: add reserved broth, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. (Always check your recipe; if it doesn’t make sense, there is a reason. The recipe said to keep out ¾ c broth, but only use ¼ in this step. That is nowhere near enough broth to moisten the ingredients. After trying so hard to make it work, I added more broth and suddenly had something I could make into a dough.)
Step Nine: Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and knead dough.
Step Ten: pat/cut dough into 4” x ½” strips and sprinkle with flour.
Step Eleven: drop dough, one piece at a time, into boiling broth, gently stirring after each.
Step Twelve: reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Step Thirteen: stir in chicken and serve.
Country Chicken and Dumplings
1 (3-3.5 lb. broiler fryer) chicken
2 quarts of water
2 stalks of celery, cut
1 tsp. Salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
¼ cup butter, softened
Place chicken in Dutch oven. Add water, celery, and salt and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour or until tender. Remove chicken from broth and cool. Discard celery. Debone chicken and cut/pull into bite-sized pieces. Set aside meat and ¾ cup of broth.
Bring remaining broth to a boil. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add reserved broth, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and knead dough. Pat/cut dough into 4” x ½” strips and sprinkle with flour. Drop dough, one piece at a time, into boiling broth, gently stirring after each. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and serve.
Submitted by Mary Branton, Pearl Baptist Church Cookbook, 1990 Iron Station, NC