Old Fashioned Chicken And Dumplings
The best thing my Grandma Mary ever taught me besides how to be a good Christian, is how to make chicken and dumplings. It’s one of those recipes that can be made with less than half a dozen ingredients.
- 3 chicken leg quarters
- 5 quarts boiling water
- 1 tbsp salt in the stock, 1 tsp salt for the dumplings
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 5 cups flour plus some for dusting the work surface
In a large stock pot get the water boiling, add a tablespoon of salt, add the chicken and let that boil on high heat for about 45 minutes to one hour. When the chicken is looking like it will separate from the bones easily, set it aside to cool but keep the broth on low heat while you make the dumplings.
For the strap-like dumplings, put the 5 cups flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and pepper, then with a ladle (mine has a 3/4 cup bowl) add three ladle’s full of the stock. It is best to skim as much fat in these ladles as possible by just barely submerging the rim of the ladle as to skimming the surface. When you have collected three ladles, stir the stock, salt, pepper, and flour together to make a soft sticky dough. Turn one-fourth of the dough out at a time out on a generously floured surface and fold it over a few times making sure the dough doesn’t stick to the surface by adding more flour as needed. With a dough this sticky you won’t need to worry about adding too much extra flour. Just keep enough flour under the dough so it won’t stick to the surface, the rolling-pin and even your hands. Roll out each fourth one at a time, each time making a sheet about 12 to 14 inches wide. Using a pastry wheel, cut the dough in long strips about and inch wide. They should be floured enough to slide off of the surface easily. Collect all of the straps a few at a time and place them into the stock which should be back up to the boiling point at this time.
Boil the dumplings while you de-bone the chicken. It should be cool enough to handle easily. Remove the skin, any sinew, vessels, and of course the bones and cartilage and discard. Pull the meat apart into small bits and throw them into the boiling stock and dumplings. Continue boiling for about 40 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally making sure nothing is sticking and burning on the bottom. The stock will thicken and become a silky sauce. The dumplings will have become nice and tender. Check the salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Then dish up a bowl of pure country comfort to those you love. I’m sure it will be a hit…even a tradition as it has been with my family for generations.