No-Fail Chicken & Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings are the truest of comfort foods!  Hearty and filling, this dish will warm you right up on a wintry day.

I can remember my Grandmother Hart making this dish at all the family functions and she was known for dropping a pot off when anyone was a little “under the weather.”  As a child I enjoyed watching her and helping in her farm kitchen in Ava, Mo., and now I have my own little ones watching me in my kitchen.

This dish has it’s own little process, which I’ve provided.  Remember: Dumplings are hard to master.  Too thick, too gummy, too something….so how does one master the art of dumpling making?

Trial and error, that’s how.  It’s taken me about 7 years of making this recipe to get it “just right.”  This is my Grandmother Hart’s recipe that I’ve adapted over the years and I call it “no-fail” because it truly is.  If you follow the directions, I have no doubt you will agree.

Tips to Know
Don’t overmix your dumplings- this causes the dumplings to become tough.
Use ONLY Cake Flour for the dumplings.  This is KEY!  Find cake flour where the normal All-Purpose Flour is located.
Roll or dust each dumplings in flour before placing it in the pot to cook.
Let the dumplings rest for at least 30 minutes and dry out a bit before cooking them.
Turmeric powder- Makes this stock a beautiful yellow and adds a great spice!
Don’t have a whole chicken?  No worries…just boil a couple chicken breasts and legs.

No-Fail Chicken & Dumplings
417 Localista, Adapted from my Grandmother Hart’s original recipe
1 large fryer chicken about 4.5 pounds
4 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 large yellow onion, chopped rough
4 celery stocks, including leafy tops, cut in half
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric powder
1 tsp. ground thyme
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup milk
Dumplings
3 cups of Cake Flour
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
4 1/2 tsp shortening
1 cup of milk

Start your stock
In a large stock pot place your chicken, celery, carrots, onion, bouillon cubes, garlic, salt and pepper- cover with water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour.

Dumplings
After the chicken has cooked for about 20 minutes, start on the dumplings.  Mix flour, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl.  Cut the shortening in the mixture with your fingers.  Add the milk and stir until the mix forms a ball.  Be sure and do not over mix!

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  Use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into rectangles or squares.  Dust each dumpling with a little extra flour and then place on wax paper to harden up a bit before cooking, at least 30 minutes.

When the chicken is cooked, remove to a plate and let cool off.  Debone the chicken and shred into chucks, removing all bones and skin.  Pour the broth through a strainer and discard all vegetables.  Reserve 7 cups of broth and freeze the remained for another time.

FINAL
In a large Dutch Oven (or stock pot) over medium heat, bring the broth to a simmer and drop in the dumplings and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat, add the shredded chicken, thyme, turmeric, 1 stick butter and milk and cook for 20 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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