Okay, so when I think of "Comfort Foods" this is the meal that comes to my mind every time. I remember growing up in North Carolina and we'd have Sunday Supper at my bff's (Amy) house. Her mom made some pretty awesome Chicken n dumplins among many others (though I was never a fan of lima beans...sorry Miss Terry) It took me quite some time to come up with a recipe that I loved. This meal takes a couple hours and some lovin but it's so worth the effort! Enjoy! How do YOU make your chicken n dumplins?
1 3-6 lb. frying chicken
2 quarts water
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp. rosemary
3 stalks celery, cut into thirds
3 cloves garlic
1 large onion
2 large carrots peeled and quartered
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 T. bacon drippings (hardened) plus 1T. shortening (OR 3 T. shortening)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon or poultry seasoning
First remove the giblets and the neck from the chicken. Unwrap and place in the stock pot. I usually cook these along with the chicken because it adds flavor to the stock. Next rinse the chicken inside and out.
Place chicken in a dutch oven or large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, bay leaf, celery, carrots, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and water. Bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours or until tender. (Chicken should almost fall off the bone.)
Remove chicken from the broth and cool. Remove giblets and neck. Discard.
Strain out onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf, leaving only broth. Remove the skin from the chicken.
De bone the chicken. Cut into bite-sized pieces or just use your hands to break it apart.
Skim fat off the top and then bring broth to a boil. Then add a little bit of flour water to act as a thickener.
I usually add a heaping teaspoon full of flour to a cup (you can use one of those cups for mixing protein shakes if you prefer...I actually forgot I to use it when I made this, but I use it often) Add a little water, not a whole lot. Maybe 1/4 cup. Us a fork to mix together and use your fingers to break up an lumps
You want it to be thick and runny with no lumps. Add it to the broth at this point. Just a tablespoon or so of the liquid. Stir.
Meanwhile, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and chicken bouillon (or poultry seasoning). I only add a little. It's not supposed to overpower the dumplins, just add flavor. The jar on the right is my jar of bacon drippings. I save them for use with this meal and soups, cornbread, anything really....it just adds another layer of flavor.
Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the bacon dripping and shortening until incorporated and looking like coarse crumbs.
Add buttermilk and mix together.
Knead dough 4 or 5 times.
You can pinch off pieces like this and drop them in....
OR do what I do now, and roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently pat it down so the salt and pepper stick. Cut in 1 to 1 1/2 inch squares. It doesn't have to be perfect. I used to make the drop dumplins but now you can see I have been rolling them out. I like the squares better. They're not as thick and seem to cook a little better.
Don't these look tasty?
Reduce heat to med-low and cook 10 minutes. You want the dumplins to begin to set so that when you put the chicken back in they don't break apart.
Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the chicken. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Serve it up on a cold day and everyone will love it!