I’m writing on a cold day thinking of comfort food. Yeah, like what your Momma used to make, to warm you all the way through. You have to be careful with tradition, can’t tweak it too much, so how do you put a twist on what Mom did to make it your own.
There is a version of chicken and dumplings in every region of the country and I’ve tried quite a few. But ideally it should be simple, hearty and feed your cold crowd to the brim. There are lots of faster ways to do this, but this recipe is from scratch, you can cut corners where you like. Serves 6-8
Ingredients for stock:
4 whole chicken breasts skin on
8 cups water
1/2 a medium onion
2 cloves of garlic peeled
2 ribs of celery
Ingredients for Dumplings:
3 cups self-rising flour
(I use Lilly ‘cause “Momma Sez” but feel free to use your mom’s brand)
1 cup buckwheat flour (first twist)
(to add a nutty flavor, but if you don’t like it substitute another cup of flour)
½ cup of Half & Half (add more if too dry)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper (second twist) (or regular black pepper)
More flour for counter and kneading
Combine all the stock ingredients and boil till chicken is falling from the bone 45 minutes to an hour. Pull the chicken from the stock set aside to cool. Meanwhile, either in a blender or with a hand blender, blend the stock so the vegetables are all smooth in the stock. In a bowl combine the flours, salt and white pepper, then add the eggs and half & half. This will make a sticky dough, let this rest for 5-10 minutes.
De-bone and remove the skin from the chicken, cut into bite sized pieces.
On a floured counter knead dough (not too much just enough to be elastic, add flour as needed). Roll dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut. I was anticipating snow so I made snowflakes (another twist), flour the cut dumplings so they don’t stick and to naturally thicken the stock when they are cooked.
Bring the stock to a boil and place the dumplings into the stock stirring to keep them from sticking. They will start to float and puff just slightly. Cook for 10 minutes and add the cut chicken back to the stock. Cook for another 10 min with chicken or hold the pot warm till ready to serve. Mmmmm, I feel warm from the inside out, I know you and your family will too.
Until next month, Glenn