The Dumpling Diary

Dis cooking so you cooking too.

Chicken & Dumplings! October 4, 2010

Hey pals. I did the big grocery shop tonight, and came home loaded with ham hocks, pork bones, salt pork, bacon, all KINDS of inexpensive, home-y, wonderful meat treats! Including chicken (I totally almost bought a rabbit though, but wasn’t going to fork over the petty $14 for it… I’d rather have a fresh one that someone caught for me, honestly)! Anyhow, I was trying to think of something relatively quick to make, something comforting, but not TOO unhealthy, and I had some nice, fresh chicken legs to work with. Still on a dumpling rampage (making up for lost time, I guess, blogwise), I wanted to make something different than the usual doughball type – don’t get me wrong, nothing excites me more than a big doughball, full of wonder and magic! So, I don’t know if many of you are familiar with the Southern Chicken and Dumplings type of dumpling, but it’s more… Noodley! Not like a typical noodle either, just slippery, slightly chewy, and big! Like a big tagliatelle, but shorter and wider? Anyhow, they’re delicious and still pretty damn easy to throw together. Here’s the recipe!
Chicken and Dumplings!

3 chicken legs (big’uns!), skinned and cut in half at the joint, if you want
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, sliced/chopped/whatev
3 small cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp butter
For the Dumplings
1 cup flour
1/4 cup shortening, lard or butter
6 Tbsp water (more or less)
pinch salt
For the chicken… stuff… (stock?) combine all ingredients (except the dumpling ones, of course) in a big ol’ pot. Bring it to a boil, skim the scum around edges, turn heat down to a simmer, cover and cook until chicken falls off the bone, about an hour, maybe a little more. You can also do this in a pressure cooker for about half an hour. It’ll look like this:

Strain the stock out into a bowl, let chicken cool slightly. This would be the time to make the dumplings! Once the chicken has cooled, pick the meat off the bones. Discard those suckahs. They’re kinda gross looking at this point, I bet. Anyhow, just use the meat, no skin, blah, blah. Some people like to just serve the chicken on the bone, but this is… cleaner. You’re not fishing through, avoiding nasty bits. Anyhow, now it’s your decision if you want to add the vegetables back into the stock. I generally just like the carrots, maybe a few onions. Some people refuse to put the veggies in, some don’t even use them to begin with. Either way.  So, your chicken, stock, and perhaps vegetables of choice are now in the bowl, or back in the pot. Good! Put that old sonnuvagun on the burner, bring it up to a boil/strong-ass simmer. Make sure at this point that it’s seasoned to your liking, salt, etc.. Also, you may or may not want to skim off some of the fat globules from the top. Drop in the dumplings quickly, and let them simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring gently to keep noodles separate and from sticking to the bottom. You’ll have something that looks like this:

(Also, this swank-ass old cooking pot, it comes from Jon’s great grandfather, when he was a cook in the army. So, I asked Jon if it was safe to use… Somehow, I think his mom said it was, or just that it was well-used and you could cook it right on the burner, or use it as a serving pot… Anyhow, Jon said AFTER I’d started cooking with it that it was made of “bad things,” so if you don’t see any blog posts in the near future, you’ll know why. Thankfully, I did the majority of the cooking in the pressure cooker. YEESH.)
Back on track!

Okay, so I’ll give the instructions for preparing the dumplings now, for when the chicken legs are coolin’ down. The technique is exactly like making pie dough. Mix a bit of salt and pepper (a pinch each) into the flour. Cut the lard (or shortening or butter) into the flour until it is the size of peas, then stir in the SUPER-COLD water tablespoon-by-tablespoon. I usually need about 6 Tbsp to get things how I want them. You’re looking for it to come together into a rough, messy ball of dough, but not entirely together. Gather it up, and knead it about 8 times, then roll out on a floured surface to about 1/8″ thick. Cut into strips about 1″ thick, then cut those strips so they’re about 3 or 4″ in length. Some people make them smaller, oh well. This is how I first had them, and how I like them.  So, those are good to go now! Use them as directed. Here’s a picture for reference:

Also, you could just make the other kind of dumpling that most of us in Canada/U.S. are accustomed to.  The big, round, fluffy kind that you steam with the lid on the pot. You know what I mean. I would highly recommend the recipe I posted, for Doughboys. It’s from my Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens cookbook, and so far, the best I’ve found.
Oh, ALSO, some people like to thicken up the broth. Most of the recipes I’ve looked at/tried, use a flour or cornstarch and water slurry to do it, maybe 1/4 – 1/2 cup flour, OR, I’ve also seen some use a can of condensed cream of chicken or celery soup! So, take that with you. Jon and I wanted something slightly light-feeling tonight, so I opted out of thickening.
Okay, s’all fo’ now. Love ya’ll.


One Response to “Chicken & Dumplings!”

  1. Looks delicious, thanks for the recipe! I have yet to get into a dumpling phase.. looking forward to starting, though!

    making pressure cookers hip again, one recipe at a time!

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