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Chicken and Dumplings

January 27, 2012

I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve made this for sick and/or ailing friends or relatives who have sworn that this recipe has curative powers. But, it’s not just for the infirmed.  Chicken and dumplings are a stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that will bring tears to a grown man’s eyes as he relates fond memories of his own dear mama’s. Over time, I’ve come to learn about the various versions but there seem to be 2 basic types: rolled and cut dumplings and dropped biscuit dumplings.  Being a daughter of the South, my recipe is of the dropped biscuit variety.  Medora III tells me that only Yankees make Chicken and Dumplings with rolled and cut dumplings.  I don’t think she’s right about that – but I’m not going to correct her.

CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS 

Note: Stewing the chicken will produce more broth and chicken than needed for this recipe.  Freeze the extra broth and chicken to use for another time 

1 3 – 4 ½ pound whole young chicken

Enough water to just cover the chicken

2 stalks of celery, cut into large strips

1 carrot, cut into large chunks

1 onion, cut up into large chunks

4 garlic pods, crushed

2 bay leaves

3 tsp. salt

2 tsp. poultry seasoning

2 tsp. ground black pepper

Place chicken in an 8 – 12 quart capacity stew pot or Dutch oven.  Cover the chicken with water and add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 ½ hours.

Remove chicken from the broth with tongs and place on a cutting board to cool.  After about ½ an hour of cooling, pick the meat off of the bones and discard skin, bones, gristle, etc.  Cut or tear the meat into 1” pieces and set aside.

Strain the broth through a colander into another large pot – one that is large enough (Dutch oven size minimum) to hold the broth. Discard the strained vegetables and other solid items from the broth.

Either place the pot with the broth in the freezer for ½ hour to allow the fat to rise to the top and solidify enough so that it can be skimmed off OR use a special de-greaser cup to remove excess fat from the broth.

After de-fatting the broth, measure 8 cups of broth into a large pot and add half of the cut up chicken (use a mixture of white and dark meat). Return it to the stove and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. (freeze the remaining broth and chicken for another time)

DUMPLINGS 

While broth and chicken meat are heating up, mix together in a mixing bowl:

            2 cups biscuit mix (like Bisquick)

            2/3 cup milk

After broth and chicken has come to a boil, drop the dumpling mixture by tablespoon on top of the broth.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes more.  Remove from heat and ladle into soup bowls to serve.

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