Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Grandma's Chicken and Dumplings

When I crafted my post for the Infamous Two Week Wait (here) I mentioned cooking as a way to keep your mind off the seemingly impossible task of not focusing on the TWW.

Let me tell y'all, I am not Betty Crocker in any way, I don't like to cook, I often fail at cooking rice and have left all rice responsibilities to Daddy Bun.  I've been known to set food on fire and blacken meat until its unrecognizable.  I mean, let's face it, I am a lot of things: creative, smart, funny, and even super cute if you ask Daddy Bun, but a cook...that I am not!

So you're probably wondering how I can confidently provide you this recipe...but I can!  I am confident you will make these and love them and they will become a staple comfort food in your home.  This recipe was passed down from my Grandma to me before she died.  It is a cherished recipe and when I eat them I remember sitting in her kitchen, watching her with wide curious eyes as she whisked and mixed what looked like nothing into something amazing.

Telephone operators and switchboard in Tallahassee, Florida.
Photo from The Florida Archives
My Grandma was one of the most amazing women I've ever met.  She was beautiful and smart and funny.  She never stepped out of her house unless she was dressed and wearing makeup and jewelry, as did many women in her day.  My Grandma was a hard working woman, spending six days a week at Southern Bell where she started as an operator and retired as a Supervisor nearly 40 years later.  We are taking about when you had to call the operator to connect you to someone y'all...the OLD days!  After my sister and I were born she retired and we stayed home with her while my parents worked...and THAT is when I watched her do the most amazing things in the kitchen.  She was classically southern and all her dishes were made from scratch but her chicken and dumplings were my favorite!

So when I'm struggling during that TWW...I pull out that recipe and remember the good ol' days.

So without further bragging on my AH-MAY-ZING Grandma, here is the recipe...

Grandma’s Southern Chicken and Dumplings
(Printable Version)
(I make this in two parts, so I broke out the ingredients into the Stock and The Dumplings)

Chicken Stock
4 chicken quarters
2 carrots cut into 2” chunks
2 stalks of celery (discard leaves) cut into 2” chunks
1 TSP Salt
Water to Cover

Place four chicken quarters in a large pot, add carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper.  Add water until the water covers all the ingredients in the pot.  Next add 1 measured cup of water to the pot.  Bring ingredients to a rolling boil.  Once in a rolling boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, pull chicken quarters carefully from the pot and let cool for 15 minutes.

While chicken is cooling, you can strain the veggies from the stock.  Pour the stock through a strainer into a large bowl.  Then slowly strain off any chicken fat from the top of the broth using a large slotted spoon.   Measure two quarts of stock for the dumplings and save the rest for later use.  

Return the two quarts of stock to the large pot and begin separating the chicken quarters.  Pull all the meat off the bones and tear into 2" chunks. Discard all the bones and skin.  Place the chunks of chicken into the pot and return to a low simmer.  

2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1 TSP Salt
1 TSP Black Pepper
1 TSP Poultry Seasoning
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/3 cup Vegetable Shortening
¼ cup self-rising flour

Mix together 2 cups of flour, salt, pepper, seasoning, and baking powder until well blended.  Add 1/3 shortening one spoonful at a time (I do not have a mixer so this is a way to cut it into the flour mix evenly).  Mix well until it resembles round peas.  Once it is ready, start to pour in ½ cup of buttermilk and mix well.  Add remaining ¼ buttermilk slowly and continue to mix.  It will form a sticky ball of dough in the bowl.  Using remaining ¼ cup flour, sprinkle on dough and roll around in bowl until it’s not sticky.  Once it’s ready, separate into two balls of dough. 

Return to pot of simmering stock and chick and turn up to slow boil.

Sprinkle flour on your rolling surface, I use the counter.  If you do not use enough, it will stick to the rolling pin and the counter.  Roll the ball of dough until it is about 1/4” thick.  You may need to add flour from time to time to keep it from sticking.  Once it is at correct thickness, use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 1”x3” rectangles.   Flour each side of the dumplings and drop individually into the boiling chicken stock.  Stir occasionally while you repeat the process with the second ball of flour and add individual dumplings to stock.  Let cook about ten minutes.  Remove from heat.  Let sit ten minutes to thicken sauce.   Serve and enjoy!

Did you make it??? Did you love it???  Share your thoughts below!