KEEPING SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY ALIVE IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM

Chicken and Dumplings

Difficulty Level is 5 (on a Scale of 1 to 5)

INGREDIENTS for CHICKEN BROTH:

  • 1 split chicken breast with ribs
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped, plus one stalk with leaves on
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1-2 bay leaves, broken in half
  • few pinches dried parsley flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • water

PREPARE THE CHICKEN BROTH:

Put all ingredients into a large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough water so the level of liquid is about 2 inches below top of pot.

Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn heat to medium-low and cook for about 40 minutes. If you cover the pot and reduce the heat to simmer, you can cook the chicken for up to 2 hours.

Turn off the heat and remove the chicken using a pair of tongs. Place in a large bowl to cool. Strain the broth and discard the celery and bay leaves, etc. You should have 5-1/2 to 6 cups broth. At this point, taste the broth and add more salt if necessary. While chicken is cooling, prepare the dumplings.

INGREDIENTS for DUMPLINGS:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup milk

PREPARE THE DUMPLINGS:

Sift dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Cut in 2 T. butter with the pastry blender. Work in the remaining 2 T. butter until is has the consistency of cornmeal.

Make a well in the middle and add the milk. Using a fork, combine the flour and milk gently until the dough just holds together. DO NOT overwork the dough at this stage, or the dumplings will be tough.

Turn dough onto a floured surface. Roll out with a rolling pin to 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into strips about 1 to 3 inches long. Let rest a few minutes.

Return strained broth to cooktop and bring to a boil. Drop in all the dumplings, 3 or 4 at a time. Reduce heat to a slow boil and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Important: Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

While dumplings are cooking, chicken should be cool enough to handle. Remove chicken from the bones and cut or pull into 2" to 3" pieces. Discard bones and any skin. Drop and lightly stir chicken into the dumpling pot. Cook about 8 minutes or until the broth becomes a thickened gravy. Turn off burner, cover pot and let set 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings.