Collard greens, stuffed peppers, banana pudding, country fried steak, sweet potato pie, fried chicken, pecan pie, peach cobbler, corn bread dressing, lima beans! Old fashioned, southern recipes seem to be having a resurgence in popularity across the country, and our own Southfacin’ Cook, Patsy Brumfield continues to share her family-handed-down versions of some of these with our readers. This week, it’s chicken and dumplings!
PATSY’S CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS
by Southfacin’ Cook, Patsy Brumfield
1 whole chicken (about 2 ½-3 pounds) rinsed, patted dry, cut into 8 pieces
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
6 chicken bouillon cubes
Salt, pepper, dash garlic powder
1 Tablespoon butter
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
1/3 cup shortening
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
sprig fresh parsley, minced
½ cup milk
LET’S GET STARTED
To prepare the chicken: In a large pot, combine chicken pieces, celery, onion, bay leaves, bouillon cubes, seasoning and 15 cups of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the chicken is tender (about 40-45 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot and discard bay leaves. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones (discard bones, skin). Return the chicken to the pot and simmer gently over medium-low heat. Taste your broth to decide if you want more salt or pepper.
COOK’S NOTE: If your chicken stew is too thin, it can be thickened before the dumplings are added. Mix together 3 Tablespoons cornstarch and ¼ cup water, then whisk this mixture into the stew and cook until it reaches the desired consistency (a few minutes). Remember, the dumplings also will thicken the broth a bit.
To make the dumplings: Cut shortening into sifted dry ingredients. (If you’re using a food processor, pulse the shortening into the dry ingredients. If you just turn on the processor, the heat will melt the shortening.) Add milk to make a stiff dough. You will know the dough is ready when it forms into a rough ball. Knead it a few times. Using extra flour to dust your work surface, roll dough out to 1/8 inch thick (start rolling from the center out) and cut into 1-1/12 inch strips in diamond shapes (or rectangles, if you don’t feel so artistic).
*PEAS? (If you’re among the folks who also like English peas in chicken & dumplings, pour in 2 cups frozen peas before you add the dumplings, then bring the heat back to simmer to add the dumplings.)
Sprinkle cut dumplings lightly with flour and drop into your simmering chicken-pot goodness. (Don’t be afraid that you have too many dumplings – no such thing!
Just drop them in.) Don’t boil because it will break up the dumplings and make a real gooey mess! Instead, if you want to move the pot’s contents, gently move the pot in a circular motion so the dumplings get submerged and cook evenly and then very gently use your wooden spoon to move things around. Cook until the dumplings float and are no long doughy, 4-8 minutes. (You can test their doneness by inserting a toothpick to see if it comes out clean.)
Just before you’re ready to serve, ladle small amounts of the broth into the heavy cream to temper it. Then add butter and the warmed cream to your stew pot and gently move it around in the broth.
Serve in steaming bowls (some people like it on rice) with your parsley garnish. A side basket of warm yeast rolls and a salad would make this dinner sing!!