Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Homemade Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings is the quintessential comfort food.  At least in Oklahoma and the Southern states it is.  Every year I cannot wait for fall and cooler weather to get here so I can make a big pot for Sunday supper.  It's so cozy to have a pot on the stove simmering a whole chicken with lots of yummy veggies and spices. I usually start my Chicken & Dumplings the same way I start my Chicken Noodle Soup, a big pot of flavorful broth slow simmering all afternoon.  We've enjoyed Chicken & Dumplings in our family as long as I can remember.  My Grandmother Mary (famous for Sunday Suppers and Strawberry Cake) made this often.  My cousin Lindsey, Mom, Attorney, Writer and Blogger extraordinaire makes Grandmother Mary's version.  You know I can rarely follow a recipe, so my version has evolved from the family original over the years.  Lindsey loves to make this right before Thanksgiving so the family can get together and relax before the hectic holiday season starts.  It's a simple process with just a few steps, but the end result is wonderful.  We eat the leftovers for days.  Enjoy!
The perfect comfort food.
Cooked chicken and tender dumplings
in a flavorful broth.
So cozy...
Grab a spoon and dig in!

Homemade Chicken & Dumplings

1 whole chicken (about 3-5 pounds)
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
2 large yellow onions, chopped
4-6 large carrots (I leave a couple whole--leaves and all and peel and finely dice the rest)
4-6 large stalks celery (I leave a couple whole--leaves and all and peel and finely dice the rest)
1-2 fresh whole jalapenos, roughly chopped (seed or use less if you want mild C&D)
6 whole cloves garlic, peeled
4 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold water, and remove any innards.  Pat dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Place in a large stock pot over medium high heat.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, jalapenos, garlic, bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Add enough water to cover the hen with about 3 inches over.  Re-season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the meat begins to fall off of the bones.  This will take approximately 2 hours.  Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.  Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve into another pot or container.  Reserve 1 cup of the cooked diced vegetables and set aside.  Remove the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones.  Chop into smaller pieces.  Return the strained broth to the pot and add in the chicken pieces.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Mash the reserved 1 cup of cooked vegetables with a fork and add to the flour mixture.  Add the milk to the flour mixture, stirring well.  Dough will be sticky.  Set aside.  Heat the broth and chicken over medium heat until you have a gentle boil.  Add the 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Gently drop the dumplings into the broth.  ( I use my small cookie scoop, but two spoons work great also.)  Cook 30 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through, stirring very gently, occasionally.

Prep Time:  Approximately 20 minutes     Cook Time:  Approximately 3 hours

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