Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Mama's Kitchen - chicken and dumplings

Forgot to take pictures last time I made this, but they look like, well, chicken and dumplings.

This is not exactly my Mama's recipe, but the results are similar.

Chicken and Dumplings, a la My Mama

1 package chicken breasts - try to find the ones with skin. You can also boil a two- to three-pound fryer
4 cups chicken broth - I use a box of Swanson's
4 cups water
onion, carrot, celery to boil with the chicken - I usually skip this
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the chicken (and vegetables if you have them) in the 8 cups of water/broth for about an hour. Strain the broth to remove vegetables. Shred the chicken into smallish pieces and set aside. If you used chicken with skin or a fryer, separate all the meat from the bones and keep a little out for the puppy. Keep broth warm while you make the dumplings. You'll want to get it boiling again when you get ready to cook your dumplings.

I use my Mama's wooden bowl for the dumplings. I think they taste better, but YMMV.


2 cups all-purpose flour
3 TBS shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk - yes it makes a difference - you can buy pints of it at some stores.

Cut the shortening into the flour, salt, and baking soda - I use a fork and just mash it around, and it works fine. Add the buttermilk (you didn't use regular milk, right?) and stir the dough until it is mixed up.

Using a well-floured surface (I use a large cutting board but you can use a clean counter top or wax paper covered counter top), pour the dough onto the board and roll it around a bit in the flour so it isn't sticky. Then fold it over on itself a few times to incorporate a little more flour into the dough. I like to separate the dough into 2 pieces at this point so I can roll the dumplings out very thin. I use my Mama's rolling pin (again, tastes better) and roll out the dough VERY thin. If the dough is too thick, your dumplings will be big clumps of gross. Take the time to roll it out. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife (be careful on your counter top!) and cut the dough into slices about 1-1/2 inches wide and 2-3 inches long. Put the dumplings over in the boiling broth and let them cook for 30 minutes or until broth starts to thicken up - might take a little longer. Don't stir the dumplings up too much. When the dumplings are done and the broth is thickened, dump in the shredded chicken and mix up. You will probably need to adjust the seasoning. We almost always have to add more salt and pepper. Make some sweet tea and eat 'em up.

I have an alternate dumpling recipe that is my sister's Mama's recipe. I'll post it here in a bit.