Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is just about the most delicious creation to ever come out of the deep South. Pure comfort food, of the highest order. There are as many ways to make it as there are cooks who specialize in it. After much trial and error, I have discovered the key to making good Chicken and Dumplings. It must be started the day before. This give the broth a chance to cool down so you can lift the fat off of it. The fat in the broth makes for an indigestible mess.

For the Chicken:

A bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings

  • 3 pounds of chicken pieces (leg quarters are fine)

For the Dumplings:

 

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon each salt & sugar

So start the day before. Get out a very large pot, 5 quarts or bigger. Put the chicken into the pot and pour the water over it. The chicken should be covered with water, if it isn’t add more, until it is. If you use chicken leg quarters, use about 4 of them to make three pounds. Now bring the chicken to a boil on the back of the stove. Put a lid on the pot, or a pizza pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low. It should still simmer, but sort of slow and easy like, the same way the sun sets on a hot summer day in the south, not energetically, but sort of lazy like instead. Now let the chicken simmer like that for a full two hours. Longer if the chicken was partially frozen when you put it in. You want the meat to fall off the bone. When the chicken is good and tender, remove it from the broth. Try to make sure there are no sneaky bones which have worked there way to the bottom of the broth. If you find any, just fish them out. I do this with a slotted spoon, and a fork. The chicken is hot, so be very careful not to burn yourself. Collect your chicken in a dish or bowl and let it cool down. Let the broth cool down too. Then put the whole pot of broth into the fridge overnight.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Discard the skin, or give it to a grateful pet lurking nearby. Toss the bones away. Put the chicken in a bread bag or quart size canning jar and keep it in the fridge until tomorrow.

The next day get the big pot out of the fridge and lift off the cake of fat which will be solidified on top. Toss it out. Now bring the broth to a boil on the stove over high heat, adding the chicken bouillon and pepper. When the broth is boiling, add the chicken meat from the fridge. Reduce the heat so that is barely simmers, in that lazy southern sunset way. Taste it carefully and add salt if you think it needs it, probably it doesn’t, but make sure first.

While the broth is starting to cook on the stove prepare your dumplings. Get out a big bowl and mix up the oil and milk. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix it up to a stiff batter, like for drop biscuits. Set it aside until you need it.

When the broth and chicken are simmering slowly, it is time to drop in the dumplings. Take small rounded scoops of the dough with teaspoon and drop them into the simmering broth, on top of the boneless chicken. Keep dropping the dough blobs until you have scraped the bowl clean. Now put the lid, or a handy pizza pan over the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Do not peak. Let the dumplings simmer covered for the full 20 minutes. The thing about dumplings is that they cook partly from the boiling broth and partly from the steam. The steam is what makes the fluffy, and the simmering broth is what cooks them all the way through. So just trust me and don’t peak while the dumplings are cooking. When the time is up, serve the chicken and dumplings right away. The broth will have miraculously thickened into a rich gravy, the dumplings will be fluffy and the chicken will be a savory gift from the heavens (or the cook). I serve it in cereal bowl with instant mashed potatoes, green beans, and brownies. Orange juice is good with it too, he citrus flavor sort of feels good on your tongue in between bites of the chicken.

This recipe serves 8 folks pretty well.

It may seem like a lot of work when you read this recipe, but it really isn’t. The first day, the hardest part is taking the bones out of the chicken, and that really only takes about 15 minutes, after the meat is cooled down. And the second day, the whole process takes about 30 minutes from when you start it to when you eat it. The other charm of this dish, is that if you have little else beside chicken leg quarters (often less than 50¢ a pound), flour and a little milk, you have a dish fit for royalty. This is one of the best recipes in my whole collection.

The Hillbilly Housewife Recommends

homemade-mixes-kindleHomemade Mixes – Make It Yourself and Save

Making your own mix from scratch rather than buying it in the store not only saves you money but also saves you from all the additives and preservatives that are put in the foods we buy.

Find out how easy it is to make your own seasonings, baking mixes, beverage mixes and more in this HBHW Kindle Cookbook.

 The recipes include:

Apple Pie Spice Mix
Basic Muffin Mix
Brownie Mix
Caribbean Jerk Seasoning
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Corn Bread Mix
Cream of Soup Mix
Fajita Seasoning
Fish Fry Coating Mix
Fruited Oatmeal Mix
Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix
Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JIVJH6U/

Articles From The Hillbilly Housewife

Scrambled Egg and Tomato

Standing Up and Scotch Eggs – Whole 30 Day 3

I was busy working on today’s newsletter while I was drinking my coffee and kept breakfast simple. I had a beautiful large tomato ready from the garden and just fixed some scrambled eggs cooked in a little ghee to go with it. Sometimes simple meals are my favorites and it was hard to beat the […]

Chicken Salad with Tomatoes

Making Ghee and Egg Cups – Whole 30 Day 2

Day Two on Whole 30 went pretty smooth. I think it helps that I’ve been pretty busy all week so far. I’m still struggling with the whole “eating breakfast as soon as you get up” thing. I’m not ready for food until after I had my coffee and had time to think about what I […]

Salt Water Cleanse Recipe

Saltwater Cleanse and Noodles – Whole 30 Day 1 Recap

Tracy and I decided over the weekend to give the Whole 30 program a try. I talked more about it here, but basically we’re eating clean and cutting out sugar, grains, dairy and legumes for the next 30 days and see how we feel. I started playing around over the weekend eating most of my […]

itstartswithfood

Starting Whole 30 – Wanna Join Us?

I had such high hopes  in January that this would be the year when I finally get healthy and lose a bunch of weight. Fast forward a few short weeks and I was back on my old unhealthy eating schedule. I was too busy, eating healthy was too expensive, the list of excuses could go […]

Making Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker

How To Make Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, don’t fret.  You can make ice cream at home without the aid of either a hand-cranked machine or an electric ice cream maker. How?  All you need is a freezer, and a little muscle. Here’s how to do it. This will work with any ice cream recipe. […]

Comments

  1. Judith says

    Why on earth would you throw out the bones and the fat? Chicken bones can flavor a second pot of soup with their richness; the fat can be used just like any other fat, for pan-frying vegetables or for adding to mashed potatoes instead of butter. That’s flavor, right there, not garbage!

  2. Kristin says

    This sounds good. I’ll be making it gluten free. And I agree about the bones. I will probably roast my chicken and then make broth with the bones and use that. Homemade chicken broth is so full of goodness and healthy for the gut and it stretches your money even further!

  3. Ruth says

    We often make what I call bone soup after a big roast chicken or turkey meal. Not enough leftover meat to put in? Just through in a few thighs or drums you probably have in your freezer inventory. Add cubed potatoes, a thinly sliced onion, couple ribs of celery sliced, diced carrots and minced parsley. Leftover peas? Toss em in. Don’t want ‘puffy’ dumplings? Make a batch of noodle dough with a pinch of bp added. Roll a little thicker than regular noodles, slip them into the boiling broth and again cook without peeking.
    Love these cook without a book recipes. Sorry, guess i changed the whole dumplin recipe. Hillbilly recipes….delicious ALL the time

  4. Sheti Gentry says

    I stew my chicken in the crockpot with a carrot,onions and celery. Do this over night get up then cool chicken down easy to handle come supper time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *