I’m turned around every which way til Sunday (that’s a Norma Jean-ism for you for free!). In other words, I’ve blogged recipes and then random topics now back and forth just long enough for the holiday week to throw me into a tailspin. I’ve got my days all mixed up. Normally, I’d be serving y’all up a helping of fun and silliness today. It is Thursday, right? But I wrote out a recipe for y’all last week to post on Wednesday . So here’s a Wednesday for your Thursday. It’s a recipe request from Sister’s kitchen-lovin’-youngun. So without further adieu, here’s Norma Jean’s Chicken N Dumplins just for you!
There simply isn’t a Southern kitchen good for anything if there isn’t a pot of Chicken N Dumplins being cooked there regularly. My opinion. And what does Jewish Penicillin have over this scrumptious delight? Not a dang thang, sugarpie! This is what makes for warmth in the soul. Well, and it whips a sinus something-or-other into shape lickety-split! So whether it’s a dark rainy day in summer or a cold blustery winter’s night, this recipe is a sure way to comfort your yum-tum!
I’ve made this recipe so many times now that I don’t recall exactly how Norma Jean talked me through it over the phone. She was a shift nurse at the VA Hospital, so a lot of the cooking I learned from her was over the phone when I got home from school. Anyway, the changes I’ve made to her recipe were changes of the times. So be kind to me Sister and Doc M. I know this isn’t her recipe verbatim; it’s a transition from her kitchen to mine. And there was never (until now) a written version, to my knowledge. So get your spoons ready….you’re going to want every last drop!
(This is not an optional step! If you use bouillon or store bought stock it won’t have the depth of flavor you’re going to want to lick clean out of your bowl. And it’s so worth the effort! Promise!)
1 Roasted Chicken Carcass (You’ll use the meat later in the recipe.)
2-3 unpeeled carrots, halved
2-3 stalks of celery, halved
1 unpeeled onion, quartered
2-3 unpeeled cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper
Water to cover twice over or more
Chicken N Dumplins:
4 carrots trimmed and thickly sliced
Roasted Chicken meat broken up into large bite-sized pieces (or 6 chicken breasts)
3 cups of all purpose flour, plus some
3 teaspoons of salt
Now. Throw all of the stock ingredients into a big 3 quart pot and cook it down. The rich roasted flavors and earthiness of the unpeeled veggies will come together to make a beautiful stock in flavor and in color. Not to mention that your home will fill with aromas that will minister to you as you cook. I usually let this cook rapidly for at least an hour (watch your water levels closely); overnight on very low heat if it’s wintertime. Jean says she likes to do this in a crock-pot. I say go for it! Either way, after it’s boiled down, remove all the bones and veggies. I like to pour mine through a paper towel lined colander to get a very clear broth, but if you don’t have time just make sure you get all of the bones and veggies out. And there’s your stock.
In your pot you’re left with the stock, or the broth. Add enough water to fill your 3 qt. pot about half way, give or take. Add your sliced carrots and chicken pieces to the broth and bring to a low boil. While that’s cooking, stir the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Slowly add water and stir until you get a sticky dough that pulls all the flour away from the walls of your bowl.
On a flat surface, scatter flour generously (but not insanely, okay?) and turn your dough mixture out onto it. I work with half the dough at a time, but that’s me. I also cover my flat surface with wax paper so that I have a way to flop the excess flour over the top of the dough as needed. Plus wax paper makes for an easier cleanup. Anyway…turn out your dough onto the floured surface and then cover the dough with flour from the sides or add more if necessary. Start pushing the dough out flat with your floured hands until you get about a quarter-inch thick dough. (This isn’t pie crust though, so keep it moist on the inside, dusty on the outside.)
Using a butter knife, slice the dough in 1 ½ to 2” strips all down one way. Then slice again in the other direction such that you get dumplings about 1 ½ x 2” rectangles. Once they’re cut, move them around in the excess flour to dust them generously and plop that goodness down into your boiling broth, including the excess flour. Now let them come to a boil, then turn your heat down to medium or medium low and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Cover and set aside until you're ready to eat. Add salt to desired amount before serving or let everyone do that on their own. And that’s it. Easy-peasy-yummy-yum-tum!
I confess. I use a store bought roasted chicken for this. Norma Jean would boil a chicken, debone it, and then roast the bones. I don’t have time for all that. And honestly? Most times I make a stock with the bones of a chicken we had for dinner the night before because I’ll cut the chicken up to serve it, then use the back bones and wing tips for the stock. Nobody eats those anyway. If I do this, I’ll just throw in about 6 chicken breasts into the cleared broth for the meat for my dumplings. I’ll let that cook before starting the steps after the stock process, removing the chicken to cool so I can break it apart and return it to the pot later on.
Also, if you’ve added a lot of flour there at the end and it gets too thick? Just add some water and stir it down, letting it cook a bit more to heat through. This usually happens anyway if you have to reheat the leftovers. No worries.
Oh and, you-know-who of the Southern-food-divas did not originate the add-butter-to-everything concept. Throw in a spoon of the golden goodness in your bowl for added richness if you like. I myself have to watch my svelte figure. :D
Did anybody else’s momma roast the chicken bones to make a stock? Anybody know of any longer written recipes than this one?