Finally…the winner of our poll! When I prepared this, I had not had it in a very long time, I was excited, but a little worried that I wouldn’t get it right. So, of course, I called the authority…my mother. She quickly confirmed that I was doing everything right and somewhere along the way, I found out that my grandmother also made a nice big pot, (she adds green peas to hers, but, I’m a purist when it comes to this dish). The recipe did not disappoint. It is really quite simple for a dish that sounds like it would take forever, it’s filling, it’s comforting, and the leftovers are fantastic. Keep in mind, the measurements really involve a bit of trial and error. For instance, I start out using 2/3-3/4 of the listed measurement for flour and water because, if your dough is too wet or too dry, you add flour or water accordingly. Here’s how you do it:
Bone-In/Skin-On Chicken (I use breasts)
Start out by rinsing your chicken with cold water and cleaning and breaking down your veggies. They don’t need to be chopped, or diced, or minced, or anything like that, as they will be removed in a later step.
I left the onion and garlic whole, because they’re small, and cut the pepper and celery in half.
Toss the chicken and veggies in a large pot and fill 3/4 full with hot water, season well with salt and pepper(this is the only actual seasoning, but trust me, it’s good) and bring to a rolling boil.
Reduce to a simmer until chicken is cooked through and veggies are softened. While the broth forms, you can make the dumplings. The original recipe calls for one cup shortening, five cups flour, one teaspoon salt, and two cups cold water. I halfed these amounts (keep in mind to reserve some of the water and flour in case the consistency is off). Combine the flour, shortening, and water.
Generously add black pepper and use a pastry cutter until the dough resembles course meal (do not overwork!).
If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, if it’s too dry, add more water.
Place the dough on a well-floured surface, sprinkle some flour on top. Keep in mind, if you do not use enough flour, your dumplings will stick to everything and it will get very mess
Use a floured rolling pin to roll dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
Use a knife to cut dough into square or rectangular dumplings. This step is very freeform, the dumplings do not have to be perfect.
The dumplings are now ready. Return to your broth pot and remove the chicken and all of the veggies. Set the chicken aside to cool and discard the vegetables.
Gently lower your dumplings into the broth, stirring occasionally.
Once you’ve added all of the dumplings, allow to gently simmer until cooked through. After 20 minutes you can test a small piece for doneness.
While the dumplings are cooking, use your hands to shred the chicken. Some people use the fork method to shred meat but, I find it awkward and too time consuming.
When dumplings are just about cooked you can add the chicken back to the pot and return to a simmer.
Just before serving, add a splash of milk, for a little more depth.
Serve steaming hot and ENJOY the rich broth and tender dumplings!
*This post is dedicated to my Pop-Pop, Mr. Jessie Barnes Jr.