I’m not sure what part of the country (or really even what country) it is you’re from, but let me tell you something. Chicken & Dumplings are not just for Southerners or country grandmas to cook. They are pretty much the most delicious form of comfort food one could make. They are better than mashed potatoes and gravy. Better than macaroni and cheese. Yes, better than plain old chicken noodle soup. These things are like a magical mixture of crack and fairy dust. They’re just as addicting, too. In the past I’ve been known to use canned biscuit dough for my dumplings. No. No, no, no. This was wrong. And bad. I should be punished. Spank me? From now on I promise to make my own dumplings from scratch, because let’s face it, they are ridiculously easy and they blow the biscuit variety of dumplings right out of the
water chicken stock. For those of you with southern grandmas, you know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a southern granny, you’ve maybe tasted this version of chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel. And, if you are unfortunate enough to have never had chicken and dumplings like this, please make it your New Year’s Resolution to give these a try. This is my new favorite dinner, y’all. It’s cheap (less than $8 for a family of four), doesn’t require a lot of hands on time, and everyone in my house loved these chicken and dumplings. I served them with a big salad and a side of roasted broccoli. All hail the chicken and dumplings.
- 1 large fryer chicken (4-5 lbs.), neck and gizzards removed
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
- 3 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups cake flour (I used all purpose)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 tablespoons shortening or butter (I used shortening)
- 1 cup milk
- Place the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, and a teaspoon of salt and pepper in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- About 45 minutes before the chicken is done boiling, prepare the dumplings by stirring together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening or butter using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. Slowly stir in the milk, 1/4 cup at a time, just until a shaggy dough forms. You may not need the full cup of milk. Do not over mix the dough.
- Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter to cut in long 1-inch wide strips. Cut the dough the other direction into 1-inch squares.
- Place dumplings on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry for 30 minutes.
- When the chicken is finished cooking (it should be falling off the bone) remove it to a large dish and, when cool enough to handle (or use forks), strip the meat from the bones and into small chunks.
- Pour the broth from the stock pot through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard the vegetables. Return 6 cups of broth to the stock pot and refrigerate or freeze the remaining stock for another use.
- Bring the stock to a simmer and add the dumplings, one at a time so they do not stick together. Cook for 6-7 minutes.
- Add the chicken back to the stock pot and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 20 minutes. The broth should thicken.
- Add more salt and pepper as needed and dig in.
recipe from Back to the Cutting Board