It’s near 20 degrees in NYC today and the girls and I spent the day in the city at a blogging holiday party. We had tons of fun and afterwards, we wandered up Fifth Avenue to check out the holiday windows of the large department stores. They are always so lovely! But sadly, the cold was just too much for us and we had to call it quits before we turned into ice pops.
We made our way back to Penn Station and headed home shivering the entire time!
The best cure for cold weather is serious comfort food. Knowing that we are having roast turkey and mashed potatoes later in the week, we opted for a stew instead. But I didn’t want beef. Chicken and Dumplings seemed to be the perfect next choice and it was!
My aunt, in North Carolina, made the best Chicken and Dumplings growing up. She is a real down home, Southern kind of a lady and makes everyone feel welcome the moment they arrive, sweet tea in hand. Not only was her fried chicken the best, but the homemade bacon that they cured in their smokehouse was out of this world and I have never had better. But the real treat was her Chicken & Dumplings. I remember how she rolled out her dumplings thin and cut them like pasta rather than dropping balls of dough by spoonfuls into a boiling cauldron of chicken stock. The result was a hearty stew with bite fulls of dense, dough, creamy sauce and chunks of herbed chicken. A very filling and a very comforting bowl.
I don’t have her recipe but I’ve been making them this way for years and they are reminiscent of the ones she made. I may not remember or know if they are as good as hers, but my family loves them and a 6.3 quart French Oven yielded just enough tonight that there was only one small bowl left over. But next time, I’ll have to make more dumplings- because that’s the first thing to go as everyone spoons them out of the pot and it’s good to have some leftover because the dish is always better the next day!
- 1 3-4lb Whole Chicken ((You can use ¼'s or ⅛'s as well))
- 2 stalks Celery (Chopped in large chunks)
- 2 large Carrots (Chopped in large chunks)
- 1 medium Onion (Diced)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 2 sprigs Thyme (Leave whole)
- 2 sprigs Rosemary (Leave whole)
- 2 sprigs Sage (Leave whole)
- 3 cloves Garlic (Finely chopped)
- Salt and Pepper (To Taste)
- Water (To Cover)
- 3 cups Self Rising Flour
- 1½ cup Chicken Stock (Use the just made stock)
- For the Stock. In a large pot (I used a 6.3 French Oven) over high heat, add the chicken, herbs and chopped vegetables. Add enough water to cover and submerge the chicken. Bring to a boil and lower the flame to medium-low heat and simmer for an hour and a half or until the chicken is fork tender. At this point, remove the whole chicken from the broth and set it aside to cool. Leave the broth on the low flame to continue simmering.
- Once you are able to touch the chicken, go ahead and remove the meat from the bones. Set aside the meat and discard the carcass.
- From the broth, remove the stems and stalks of the herbs. If you want, you can now also skim the top of the broth to remove any impurities. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- For the dumplings. Remove 1½ cups of stock from the pot and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, add the self-rising flour* and the stock. With a fork or your hands, knead the liquid into the flour to form a dough. Continue kneading until all the flour is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it's about ¼" thick. Cut the dough into 2" squares with a knife.
- Turn up the heat on the stock and once it is boiling, drop the squares of dumplings into the pot, stirring so they do not stick together.
- Return the chicken pieces to the pot and stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes until the dumplings are cooked through and the stock has thickened some.**
- Serve in large bowls.
** If your sauce is not as thick as you would like, in a separate bowl, make a slurry consisting of 2 teaspoons Corn Starch and a 2 tablespoons of Stock. Mix well to remove any lumps and add this mixture back to your stock which should continue boiling for another minute or so. Keep stirring to combine. Lower the flame back to a simmer and the sauce will become thicker as it continues to cook.
Enjoy and Stay Warm!