October 24, 2006

A Dumpling for You

I remember as a child my grandmother bringing me a big pot of her homemade chicken and dumplings. One bowl and I felt as good as new. Her dumplings were light and tasty, unlike many other recipes for dumplings. Most seem so doughy. Unfortunately, my grandmother has aged and there’s not anyone in our family that can duplicate her chicken and dumplings, which goes back to my post about passing on family traditions. My cousin Tracey can almost make the recipe like grandma.

I came across this recipe from Ms. Paula Deen the other day and I had to try it. It turned out very nicely…so says my husband. This is a recipe that you could have on your table one hour.

Yummy Pie

Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from Paula Deen's recipe

Chicken: 1 (2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I use 9 chicken tenders for this)
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tsp Italian seasonings (sage, parsley, oregano, basil)
1 tsp garlic powder
dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste (try using kosher salt)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Ice water

To start the chicken: Place the chicken, celery, onion, bay leaves and seasonings to a large pot. Add 4 quarts of water (use half water and half chicken stock for best resutls) and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer the chicken until it is tender and the thigh juices run clear, about 40 minutes (chicken tenders only take about 15 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot and, when it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and separate the meat from the bones. Return the chicken meat to the pot. Keep warm over low heat.

To prepare the dumplings: Mix the flour with the salt and mound together in a mixing bowl. Beginning at the center of the mound, drizzle a small amount of ice water over the flour. Using your fingers, and moving from the center to the sides of the bowl, gradually incorporate about 3/4 cup of ice water. Knead the dough and form it into ball.

Dust a good amount of flour onto a clean work surface. Roll out the dough (it will be firm), working from center to 1/8-inch thick. Let the dough relax for several minutes.
Add the cream of celery soup to the pot with the chicken and simmer gently over medium-low heat.

Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Pull a piece in half and drop the halves into the simmering soup. Repeat. Do not stir the chicken once the dumplings have been added. Gently move the pot in a circular motion so the dumplings become submerged and cook evenly. Cook until the dumplings float and are no longer doughy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Cook's Note: If the chicken stew is too thin it can be thickened before the dumplings are added. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water then whisk this mixture into the stew.

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