One of my favorite dishes I turn to when the weather finally brings a chill to our Southern skies is definitely, hands down, without question…… Chicken and Dumplings. I always make a huge pot so I have plenty to share and lots to have for myself.
I always start with a rich Chicken Stock and if you research classic Southern cookbooks for Chicken and Dumplings you will find a truly simple recipe containing little more than a raw chicken, maybe a little onion and salt and pepper. You boil the chicken until the meat falls off the bones, strain it and reserve the meat to add later. The dumplings usually are just flour, water, and maybe an egg salt and pepper. They are mixed, rolled out, cut into squares or strips and dropped into the boiling broth. More black pepper is added and that’s about it!
My version is a little more involved than that and I promise you that if you try it……you will LOVE it, too!
Here is the stock that I simplify by using a rotisserie chicken: Remove the skin from the chicken as soon as you get home and the chicken is still warm. It will slide off the chicken with ease. Place it in an 8 quart stockpot. Now tear the chicken off the carcass into bite-sized chunks; place in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate until needed. Place the bones and all the drippings from the container into your stockpot. To this add 12 cups of cold water. Add one onion, (I like to add the skin from the onion, too), one carrot, stems of parsley, 2 ribs of celery, two green onions, and one bay leaf. BRING TO A BOIL; REDUCE TO A SIMMER AND COOK FOR 1 1/2 – 3 HOURS, ADDING MORE WATER AS NECESSARY. You can do the same thing using a raw chicken and cook it until the meat falls off the bone. Skim off as much of the fat as possible! But this is why I like using the rotisserie chicken….It has spent upwards of two hours on that spit and has rendered out most of the fat that lies beneath the skin. The skin also has crisped on that spit and has developed a couple of hours of roasted flavor during the cooking time. I do not add any salt, pepper or any other seasoning to the stock because the rotisserie chicken was seasoned prior to cooking. After you strain the bones, skin, and vegetables into another soup pot, place 1 1/2 cups of the stock in the refrigerator to chill. You will use this to make the dumplings. Place the strained stock back in the stockpot and taste for salt. Add salt if necessary and some freshly ground black pepper and a half teaspoon of lemon-pepper!
Place all the dumpling ingredients into the processor bowl except the chilled broth. Pulse all the ingredients until it resembles small peas. Slowly drizzle in the chilled stock while pulsing the blade of the processor just until it comes together as a soft dough. Heavily flour your work surface and dump out the dough and heavily flour the top. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dumplings using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to desired shape.
While the stock is lightly boiling, carefully drop, one by one, the heavily floured dumplings into the pot 5-6 at a time and gently stir. Wait one minute and add more dumplings repeating the process above until the pot is pretty full. You may not be able to fit all the dumplings into the pot. These can be placed into ziplock bags and frozen to use in the future. At this point I like to cover the pot as it simmers. Every now and then gently stir with a rubber spatula to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. After the dumplings have cooked for about 20 minutes, carefully and slowly add the cooked chicken to the pot. Season with freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt and adjust to your taste.
I was going to make homemade Buttermilk Biscuits with these but while I was shopping, I noticed my local grocery store just started selling Martin’s Potato Rolls!
I absolutely adore these rolls and have not had them in such a long time!!! They were perfect with the dish…..yum.
Chiqui’s Chicken and Dumplings
1 whole roasted chicken either homemade or rotisserie store-bought
1 gallon cold water, parings and skins of 2 onions, bottom of celery, 2 carrots, 2 green onions, 2 whole cloves garlic, 4 sprigs parsley,
1 bayleaf, a few sprigs of thyme, Kosher salt and Lemon-Pepper
Chef’s Note: If using a rotisserie Chicken, no extra salt and pepper is necessary.
Remove skin from roasted chicken. Place in a large pot with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove chicken from the carcass and set aside. Place bones in the boiling water along with any pan drippings from the roasted chicken. Add all remaining ingredients (except the reserved chicken); bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 2 hours. Add an additional 4 cups of water. Strain and reserve broth. Place 3/4 plus another separate 3/4 cup cups of broth in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare Dumplings as follows:
3 ½ cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ sticks butter, cubed and frozen
3 eggs, beaten
3-4 drops yellow food coloring, Optional
3/4 cups chilled chicken broth
Place flour, butter and 1 teasp. salt in processor bowl. Pulse until it resembles coarse meal. Add beaten eggs , food color and cold broth and pulse until a dough forms. If mixture is too thick, add more cold broth 2 tabsp. At a time by pulsing until dough holds together. DO NOT OVERWORK DOUGH!!
Heavily flour a work surface. Dump dough onto work surface and flour. Gently roll out to ¼ “ thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 2 inch wide strips and cut them 4 inches long but on a diagonal to form diamond shapes. This will result in a noodle-like dumpling. For thicker, fluffier dumplings roll a little thicker.While the stock is lightly boiling, carefully drop, one by one, the heavily floured dumplings into the pot 5-6 at a time and gently stir. Wait one minute and add more dumplings repeating the process above until the pot is pretty full. You may not be able to fit all the dumplings into the pot. These can be placed into ziplock bags and frozen to use in the future. At this point I like to cover the pot as it simmers. Every now and then gently stir with a rubber spatula to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot. After the dumplings have cooked for about 20 minutes, carefully and slowly add the cooked chicken to the pot. Season with freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt and adjust to your taste.
Garnish with some fresh, chopped flat-leaf parsley. Serve in deep soup bowls with biscuits or cornbread and lots of butter!! Don’t forget the sweet tea!!
To make Chicken and Dumpling soup:
Place 4 – 6 cups of prepared Chicken and Dumplings into a soup pot and add another quart of chicken stock or more until you reach desired consistency. Then add: 1/2 pound of white mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter and 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1” cubes and sautéed along with the mushrooms. Season with Lemon Pepper seasoning, A bit of low salt Creole Seasoning and a bit of Kosher salt. Simmer on low for about 40 minutes, stirring every now and then. Perfect served with a nice tossed Salad and lots of either warmed French Bread or hot, buttery Cornbread. I like to garnish with some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley.
….until next time Bon Appetit,