CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
This hearty recipe has its origins in thrift. During hard times, any dish that made use of the entire chicken was welcome; this one supplements the chicken with simple but flavorful pillows of pastry. That the meal was so delicious ensured it would live on as a staple, especially in Southern kitchens, and now every true Southern cook has his or her own variation of chicken and dumplings. This version is brought to us by Martha Phelps Stamps, the owner and executive chef of Martha’s at the Plantation, in Nashville.
List of Ingredients
3 pounds chicken pieces (preferably breasts and thighs)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 sprigs fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1. Place chicken in a Dutch oven with onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add enough cold water to cover. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.
2. Remove chicken, and let rest until cool enough to handle. Skin and bone chicken, leaving the meat in large chunks; set aside.
3. Remove bay leaves from the broth, and discard. Skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the broth. Heat broth to a slow steady boil. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in milk, and beat until stiff. Drop batter 1 tablespoon at a time into the boiling broth. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Add reserved chicken, and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. The dumplings should be puffed and the meat warmed through. Garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.