When I was growing up, one of my very favorite things that my mother would cook, was her amazing hearty, homey, comforting Chicken and Dumplings. My mother was from the South and I have to tell you… she had this one down. Her chicken broth was always homemade using a whole chicken that she cut up herself in a second flat…and her dumplings… well… her dumplings were absolutely to-die-for. Like none other. First of all, they were huge. Not some tiny square wannabes that appeared from time to time on your spoon. The ones she made were 2-3 inch rectangles that were bursting out of the bowl, beckoning you to come and sink your teeth into them. Not only were they incredibly flavorful… they were thick and dense and had a slight gooey-chew kind of thing goin’ on that literally made you swoon when you bit into them. What a treat it was when she made this dish! Every birthday that came around, I’d request it as my birthday meal… it didn’t matter that my birthday happened to fall in August in the sweltering heat of summer. I wanted it. She made it. And it tasted perfect to me.
I have to admit to this not being my mother’s written recipe, which believe it or not I can’t find, but one that I have adapted and made for years now because the end result is exact in taste and texture, as my mother’s. It’s simply heavenly. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Sprinkle each serving with freshly ground black pepper…
Chicken and Dumplings
1 (2 1/2-lb.) whole chicken, cut up
2 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/3 cup shortening
2 tsp. bacon drippings
1 cup milk
Freshly ground black pepper
Cover chicken with water, and bring to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and next 3 ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour. Remove fat from broth; bring to a simmer.
Skin, bone, and tear chicken into fairly large bite-size pieces. Add chicken, bouillon, remaining 1 tsp. salt, adn remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper to broth. Return to simmer.
Combine flour and poultry seasoning in a bowl. Cut in shortening and bacon drippings with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Add milk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness; cut into 2-3 inch pieces.
Bring broth mixture to a boil. Drop dumplings, a few at a time, into boiling broth, stirring gently. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring gently and often, for 25 minutes. Top each serving with freshly ground black pepper.
(adapted from Southern Living)