Chicken and Dumplings
This dish is one of my favorite memories of my Mama's cooking. Texas is known for its rapid weather change, no matter what the season. It could be spring-like and then turn into a windy, cold day within hours. It was in those cold, freezing days that she would put together a pot of chicken and dumplings to warm our insides. You see, back in the days when I was a small girl, we had only open gas heaters which never seemed to heat our wood house thoroughly. So, when Mama served us her delicious dumpling soup, it felt like a warm blanket inside. Remember, love is the main ingredient in making any meal delicious.
- 1 (2 1/2-pound) boiled chicken
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped in small pieces
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper or to taste
- 2 tablespoons of butter – melted
- 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of
chicken soup (This will help thicken the soup)
Cook the chicken until done. Let cool so you can pull apart with your hands, or cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Melt the butter in a large pot, and sauté the carrots and celery until soft. Then add chicken broth and the can of cream of chicken soup. Add the chicken pieces, and simmer on low heat.
- 2 cups self rising flour
- 1 egg (slightly beaten)
- 1-2 cups of whole milk
- 2 tablespoons of solid
Crisco vegetable oil
To prepare the dumplings: I use self rising flour, egg, and milk because I like a soft dough, like biscuits. Put the self rising flour in a large bowl with the solid Crisco, and take a fork or your fingers and mix the flour mixture together until blended well. It should look like biscuit dough, soft and pliable. Add the milk and slightly beaten egg to the flour mixture until dough is slightly wet and coming away from the side of the bowl. You may need to add extra milk or flour to get the right texture, so be sure not to make it too dry or too wet because the dough might become tough.
Dust flour on a clean surface. I use my kitchen counter, but some people use a pastry sheet. The less you handle the dough the better. My Mama (Miss Edna) always taught me to pat the dough out and not to knead it so that it would be fluffy – so pat out the dough until you get the thickness you want, or gently use a rolling pin to about 1/4-inch thick. (If you like a thinner dumpling, then pat or roll the dough until around 1/8-inch thick.) Be sure to let the dough rest for a few minutes before putting it into the soup.
Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces or whatever size you like, but be sure they aren’t too big so that they will cook through. You don’t want raw dough – yuk! Drop the dough into the simmering soup mixture. Now be sure you don’t put in more than one at a time so they won’t stick together and make one big blob! If you need to submerge the dumplings in the broth, take a spoon and gently push them down in the broth, or move the pan in a circular motion until they are covered so to cook evenly – but just be sure not to stir! The dumplings may take 3 to 4 minutes to cook, depending on their size; but when you see them float and no longer doughy, they should be ready to serve.
By now, the whole house smells like Mama’s kitchen, and the family is ready to eat – so get a soup ladle and dip up these scrumptious chicken and dumplings into warm bowls.