Down Home Southern Chicken & Dumplings
So this fall hasn't felt like fall much at all. Saturday was the first day we had a somewhat fall feeling in the air. All I could think about was making some warm comfort food. And what is more comforting than homemade chicken and dumplings?
This dish reminds me of my dad's sister, her nickname was Pooty. Yep, don't ask me how they came up with this nickname, but yes, this is what I grew up calling her. Aunt Pooty. And she made the best chicken and dumplings.
The most important ingredient to any broth-based soup or stew is the broth. If you aren't making your own homemade broth, then you really should start. It is a great way to add delicious flavor to your soups while controlling the sodium and eliminating unnecessary other ingredients.
To make your own stock, just make sure to purchase whole chickens. It is less expensive and then you have the bones left with which to make your stock.
To make stock you just barely cover the chicken bones with water, add celery, onion, carrots and garlic and simmer on low for about an hour. This is what my stock looks like when it is ready. I also will add a lemon to the pot sometimes as well.
A this point I let it cool and then strain it through a colander and freeze in zip lock freezer bags. I do this anytime I make chicken so I always have stock in the freezer when I need it.
Now on to the Chicken and dumplings. Of course I recommend the purchase of locally grown, pastured chicken as it is tastier and better for you. And of course you can always purchase it here from Green Acres on our Farm Fresh and For Sale page.
Start with 10 cups fresh chicken stock and get it simmering. Add about 3 cups of chicken to the stock and let it get to a slow simmer while you are making your dumplings.
Now I am not sure why people get all weird and scared to make fresh dough. But it really isn't difficult. Start with 2 cups of all purpose flour, add salt, pepper, baking powder, baking soda, and cornstarch. Combine these really well together before cutting in your butter. To cut in butter, cut up 3 tablespoons of butter into your flour mixture. Either take a pastry blender or use two forks and mash the butter into the flour until it becomes crumbly.
Now take 1 cup of milk and pour it in the center of your flour mixture and start to combine. I start out with a rubber spatula and then once it is good and mixed I use my hands to bring it the rest of the way together. Now flour your surface really good and put your ball of dough on the well floured surface and sprinkle it really well with flour before you roll it out. You want your dough to be a thin sheet, about 1/8 inch. Then take your knife or pizza cutter and cut into 2"x2" square pieces. Now drop them in the broth and let them cook before stirring for a few minutes. Then continue dropping all the dumplings in and stir gently so you don't break your dumplings apart.
This is what mine looked like. They will puff up in the broth so you don't want them to thick or they will be doughy in the middle. This is what mine looked like once they were all in the pot. The picture on the right shows how they start to puff up. They will continue to cook down until they aren't floating on top of the stock any longer.
The extra flour on the noodles helps the broth thicken into a nice thick gravy.
And that's it. Really not difficult at all. I generally double this recipe because these simply do not last long in my house and they are even better reheated the next day. Just add a little milk to loosen the gravy back up. Yum, yum!!!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
3 cups cooked chicken
10 cups chicken stock or broth
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
2tbs baking powder
¼ tsp black pepper
3 tbs butter
1 cup milk
Bring your stock to a medium simmer, add your salt, pepper, seasonings and chicken. Let simmer while you make your dumplings.
To make the dumplings: mix all ingredients except butter and milk together thoroughly. Cut up butter into flour with two forks or pastry blender until it looks crumbly. Add 1 cup milk and combine until dough comes together. Turn out onto a generously floured surface. Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut into 2” squares. Drop dumplings one at a time into stock while stirring gently until all dumplings have been added to stock. Stir gently and frequently. The stock should be thick like gravy when the dumplings are done. If the stock hasn’t thickened as much as you like, you can mix cornstarch and water together and stir into the pot to help thicken the gravy.