The Great Dumpling Debate

By David Blackmon

When the customers that I served started to look more like me, I never did chicken and dumplings as a soup of the day offering in my restaurants. Why you ask? Well, I learned from an early age that when it comes to Soul Food and Southern Cooking, the subject of chicken and dumplings is taken very seriously. Now there are renditions and there are traditions. This dish falls into both. However, many people are looking for something that “mom use to make.”

The comforting hug that a bowl brings, words cannot describe. So here is a soup I use as a base followed by two types of dumplings. The first a “cut method” where the dumpling is prepared like a pastry dough, then rolled and cut into 2×2 squares. The second dumpling is what my dear mother used to make. They are more of a “drop method” using a “Bisquick” brand mix, resulting in huge baseball sized dumplings that are light and fluffy on the inside. Both dumpling methods break down a little bit while cooking in the broth turning the broth into a more creamy texture.

Whichever dumpling method you choose, I hope that you enjoy them and may they bring back those memories that only comfort food can bring.

Chicken n Dumplings

½ Chicken, roaster or fryer
2 quarts chicken broth
1 teaspoon bouillon powder
1 teaspoon sage
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed

2 medium carrots, sliced
Wash chicken, inside and out. Place in a large enough pot to cover with chicken broth and bouillon powder (a bouillon cube or soup base may be substituted. Add sage, parsley, pepper, onion celery and garlic. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce heat immediately to low; simmer for 60-90 minutes until chicken is very tender.

Remove chicken from the broth and set on a dish to cool. Add the carrots to the broth and cook carrots on medium until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove carrots using a slotted spoon and set aside. Continue to simmer the broth over low heat while preparing the dumplings.

When chicken becomes cool enough to handle, cut into bite size pieces, removing bones and skin. Set de-boned chicken aside.

Dumplings: Cut Method

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup buttermilk

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In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, parsley and salt; cut in butter using a pastry blender or a large fork. It’s important not to melt the butter, so make sure when you are blending to do so away from heat sources.

Add cold buttermilk, a few spoons at a time, mixing the dough from the outside in with fork until a dough forms (do not over mix – about 2 minutes total).

Roll dough out on a work surface which has been lightly sprinkled with with flour to prevent sticking. Roll dough out thinly, about 1/8″ thick, then slice into strips, each about 2 inches in length.

Gently drop the dumplings into the simmering chicken broth. Stir them gently to prevent sticking. Add chicken, carrots and simmer for another 10 minutes or so before serving.

Dumplings: Drop Method

1 c. Bisquick Brand mix
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoon parsley
¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine ingredients and drop by spoonfuls into saucepan with chicken. Cook 10 minutes uncovered. Cook 10 more minutes covered.

 

burgerDavid Blackmon is the chef/owner of The Culinary Solution (Private Event Chefs for Hire). Questions? Or Comments. Email him: [email protected]

 

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