The Back Burner

While I’m not willing to commit to an entire year of blogging on food, I can honor the suggestion to share a good recipe every now and then.  I’m creating this area of the site to do just that.

Since this springs forth from the Paula Deen blog, I’ll start with a recipe that is quintessentially Southern–chicken and dumplings.  This was my favorite food as a child.  It was an ever-present dish upon my grandmother’s Thanksgiving table.  And, my mother always made me some when I was sick, once she even drove 2 and a half hours to do so when I was in college.  However, I have to say that my sister’s chicken and dumplings has theirs beat.  This is no small accomplishment; my mom and grandma were both excellent in the kitchen, and Granny even cooked professionally.  Never-the-less, Bethany has a knack for this dish and out of respect, I will leave out her secret ingredient. 

For Chicken and Stock:

  • 3 chicken leg and thighs, skin on
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • quarter teaspoon pepper
  • Water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes

For Dumplings:

  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 6 tablespooons shortening
  • 1 and a fourth cup milk

Place 3 chicken leg and thighs in the bottom of a large dutch oven or stock pot.  Generously salt both sides of the chicken.  I’m estimating that this will take about 3/4 teaspoon.  Generously pepper only one side of the chicken, again estimating this to be a quarter teaspoon of pepper.  Remember that after you try the recipe, you can adjust the seasoning to your liking.  Add water to a level that covers the chicken, I’m estimating 6-7 cups of water.

Boil the chicken, then reduce heat and cook at a simmer for an hour.   Meanwhile, prepare the dumplings.

In a large mixing bowl, incorporate the shortening into the flour with a shortening cutter.  Then stir in the milk.  Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times.  Roll out the dough to about a quarter inch thick and then cut into rectangles about 2.5X1.5 inches each, precision doesn’t matter.  I use a pizza cutter to get the job done quickly. 

When the chicken is done, remove from the broth and set aside to cool.  Add the chicken bouillon cubes to the broth and stir until dissolved.  Keeping the broth at a simmer, drop the dumplings into the pot one by one, carefully moving the dumplings around the broth to create space for each new addition.  Once the dumplings are in the pot, simmer for 10 minutes to cook the dough, carefully stirring occassionally.  Remove from heat.

Debone the chicken and coarsely chop.  Transfer the meat to the dumplings and stir to incorporate.

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