Prior to our Easter visit I’d made chicken ‘n dumplings, so I packed some, along with a pan of hot cross buns (March 2016 archives), to take to my father-in-law. Hubby raves about my chicken ‘n dumplings and my father-in-law sent one of the most touching thank you notes I’ve ever received, so this dish is pretty delicious, or at least the wonderful men in my life think so. The chicken ‘n dumplings recipe actually started with Hubby; it was the dinner he had waiting on the stove the first time I flew to Houston to visit him. It’s a great dish for company because you can make it ahead and then serve it when company arrives and everyone is ready to eat, and the dumplings get better as the flavors get acquainted. Naturally, I added to Hubby’s original recipe. This is my variation:
Chicken + Broth
Heat large soup pot and melt: 1 Tbs butter + 1 Tbs olive oil.
Add and sweat on medium heat: 1/2 yellow onion, sliced + 1 stalk celery, sliced. Season with kosher salt + freshly ground pepper.
Reduce heat to low and add: 1-2 cloves garlic, minced. Stir a minute to soften garlic.
Add: Whole chicken, rinsed, patted dry and cut in half or quarters.
Season with: 1/2 tsp kosher salt + freshly ground pepper + 1/2 tsp celery salt + 1/2 tsp dried oregano.
Add: 4 cups water; bring to boil; reduce to simmer. Simmer until chicken is cooked through.
When chicken is cooked, remove it from broth to cool. When cool enough to handle, pick chicken meat from bones and set aside in a bowl. Season to taste. I usually repeat the same mix of spices, about 1/4 tsp each.
In a large mixing bowl sift together: 3 cups flour + 1+1/2 tsp salt.
Cut in with pastry cutter: 3/4 cup vegetable shortening. Cut shortening until it is the size of peas.
Add: 3/4 cup cold water. Mix with large spoon until dough comes together.
Turn dough onto floured surface and knead a few times to bring dough together. Roll dough out until 1/4″ thick; the shape of the dough does not matter. Slice dough into 1/2″-1″ strips. I use a pizza wheel for this task, but a knife works fine.
Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add strips of dough and cook until dumplings rise to top of soup pot. Reduce heat and add seasoned chicken pieces. Stir gently, and be sure dumplings are not sticking on the bottom of the pot.
To thicken the broth, mash together: 1 Tbs softened butter + 1 Tbs flour; whisk butter mixture into dumpling mixture; cook a few minutes to cook out the flour taste.
Now turn off the heat and just let the chicken ‘n dumplings hang out and get more and more delicious until it’s time to serve dinner.
Serve with green peas and fresh fruit. I put my peas in the same dish right on top of the chicken ‘n dumplings. Reheat leftovers on the stove or in the microwave for a comfort-food lunch.