Saturday afternoon I had my elderly neighbors, Mary Jane and Mr. Smith, over for lunch. I figured chicken and dumplings was a good option, especially since they are both Southern. We drank sweet tea. My mom was kind enough to reheat the food and clean up afterwards. We had a nice time chatting and laughing.
I feel like I have been in the South long enough to think that I know everything about southern food. My brother and I have a long standing debate over who makes the better chicken and dumplings. I can say with 100% certainty that mine is better. Mr Fancy Pants Culinary School adds carrots to his. I am morally opposed to carrots in chicken and dumplings. Just sayin'.
Here's my recipe.
2 lbs chicken thighs
4-5 ribs celery, large dice
1 white onion, large dice
2 cans low sodium condensed cream of chicken soup
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 recipe dumplings
Add chicken thighs to large stock pot, cover with water, about two quarts. Boil until cooked through. Put in fridge to cool, reserving broth. Skim any excess fat.
When chicken is cool, pull off bones. Discard any excess fat and bones. Chop chicken into bite side pieces and set aside. In large stock pot over high, saute onions and celery until soft. Add chicken. Cover with broth. Add bouillon cubes and cream of chicken soup. Stir well and bring to boil. Make dumplings. Add to pot, a few at a time, once boiling. When dumplings are floating, let boil for five minutes. Turn off heat.
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 TBSP vegetable shortening
1/3 cup milk
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in small bowl. Mix in shortening until mixture feels like cornmeal. With a fork, mix in cold milk until mixture begins to come together. Turn out onto counter or board. Kneed until dough is smooth. Let rest 5 minutes. Roll out until dough is about 1/4" thick. Using pizza cutter, cut into strips then in the opposite direction into squares.
This serves about 6 people. This is easily doubled.
Try to get boneless, skinless chicken thighs if possible. It'll make your life easier.
Do not add salt to this before tasting it. The bouillon and canned soup have plenty of sodium, even the low sodium options. I find I don't need any extra.
If you want to be all fancy an' stuff, add chopped herbs (sage, thyme, marjoram) to the dumplings. It's tasty.
If you wanted to use white wheat flour in the dumplings, substitute equally for the white flour. If you want to use whole wheat flour, use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 regular flour. The dumplings are also good if you use 3/4 cup white flour and 1/4 cup cornmeal.
This would be great vegetarian, with maybe mushrooms and squash instead of the chicken. Knorr makes a wonderful Vegetarian Vegetable bouillon. You could use low sodium cream of mushroom or celery soup instead.