Friday, January 15, 2010

HaPPy Birthday to The Man and Chicken & Dumplings

and all He asked for was a pot of Chicken & Dumplings.
Got ya covered, DuDe.

This is how My MawMaw cOOked them. She taught Me; and now I'm teaching My Little pEEps.
She told Me, how Her Mother would Love the little brown bits of dumplings at the bottom of the pan {a concept I ToTaLLy understand}, but She always Loved the Dumplings themselves.

1 whole chicken
a Big Arse pot

4 cups flour
2 cups water
salt & pepper {White PePPer actually makes a Great flavoring for this}

Place the whole chicken in the big arse pot of water and cook until done. 
The Chicken is ready when it starts falling off bone and there's no pink, or verra verra little, because You will cook the Chicken more with the Dumplings. Honestly, I didn't time it, but watch your water level.

I always let it cool down completely before I do the next step, but its not carved in stone!
Either which way, most especially if You DON'T Let it cool, CAREFULLY remove Chicken from pot and place in a bowl. 
Strain your broth. 
Debone and break chicken into strips/chunks, hmmm, 1/2 inch thick, 2 or 3 inches long.
Place the deboned meat back into the broth.
When finished turn the heat back on to get Your Chicken and Broth boiling.
I sift My flour through a crank sifter, add salt and pepper to taste and then start with a Cup 
or Cup and a Half of water, mixing with my wooden spoon.
I've been cooking these for years, so Its easy for me to tell when the dough is ready. You want a nice soft "play~doh" consistency.  If your dough cracks and is stringy, its probably to dry. Quite obvious when its to wet, too pasty.  You can adjust your dough by adding TEENY~TINY {sprinkle here, splash there} of flour or water.

When the dough is ready, grab a chunky handful of dough, and firmly shape to patty cake shape. Dust your rolling pin, and begin rolling out dough in all directions. 
Make sure and do a light dusting if your dough starts sticking, and don't forget to flip flop the dough. 
Now, I love thick dumplings, not quite chewy but not far from it. Some people like theirs thin.
You really will have to decide Your Self and roll accordingly.
Using the tip of a knife, sharper the beTTer, cut dough in strips of about, 1 1/2 x 10 inches, and lay on top of Chicken and Broth. 

Using a spOOn {I prefer, as did My Mawmaw, a slotted spOOn: it allows the broth to come through and doesn't tear up Your Dumplings} push the Dumplings down into the Broth. When My pot is about half full of Dumplings, I do a full stir, bringing the bottom to the top and vice versa.
Continue working Your dough until finished.

Here, again, adjust your cooking.  I go by the basic 20 minutes. Thin Dumplings will obviously cook faster. 
You don't want to over cook the dumplings. 
It's not a pretty sight. 
No. No it isn't.  
They will cook down and melt, and You'll be left with a mushy soupy mess.
Stir often, and scrape bottom to keep dumplings from sticking, because burnt dumplings can ruin Your batch too!
Salt and Pepper to taste. I like to let My pot of Dumplings set/rest for at least a few hours.

Chicken & Dumplings are absolutely divine with Fresh French Bread, Caeser Salad, Iced Tea, and if You really want to splurge, Rice Pudding for deSSert.  And for gOOdness sakes, Sugar, Don't forget the Tabasco!


Fig Cake & Sessions beer

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