Chicken and dumplings
This down-home Southern recipe is a delectable dish.
Way back in 1964, a group called The Newbeats recorded a song called “Bread and Butter,” where a lover of the plainest food surprised his girl eating chicken and dumplings … with another man. I’d always been intrigued by the mystique of chicken and dumplings, a Southern dish I didn’t know about growing up.
Maybe I was also piqued by the incredible falsetto vocals of the Newbeat’s lead singer. Anyhow, I found some recipes – all easy – and resisted the urge to do my usual wine and Mediterranean spices thing to cook up this down-home chicken.
The delicious gravy keeps you spearing up just a little more chicken, another dumpling. Be careful, though. You may break out into falsetto.
You’ll need 6 cups of chicken stock for the dumplings. If you need to make some quickly, take the wings, back and neck of the chicken, brown them with a carrot, an onion, 2 stalks of celery, 1 garlic clove and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, while the chicken is cooking.
Of course, you can always just cook the dumplings in water. But where’s the fun in that? At any rate, use a big pot to give them plenty of room to cook.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large jointed chicken
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut in halves
- 1 large tomato, cut into thirds
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3 scallions, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup water (or warm, not hot stock)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or celery leaves
For the chicken
For the dumplings, sift together the following
For the chicken: Pour the olive oil into a large pot. Heat it up. Put the chicken in and brown it all over, turning it every so often.
When the chicken is golden all over, add the vegetables, spices and salt and continue to brown another few minutes, until the spices' aroma rises.
Add water to barely cover everything in the pot. Put the lid on, tilted to allow some evaporation. Cook over medium heat until tender but not falling apart: about 1 hour. Reduce the heat if the liquid boils. It should be simmering, not boiling. It will reduce and thicken, so check once in a while to make sure it’s not drying out.
About 20 minutes before serving, start the dumplings.
For the dumplings: Mix the egg/liquid mixture into the flour mix. Add more liquid by teaspoons if the batter feels stiff. It should be light, but firm enough to hold its shape in a spoon.
Stir in 2 tablespoon of oil and the chopped herb.
Drop the batter by spoonfuls into the hot stock. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pot with a slotted spoon and serve next to the chicken.
This recipe should yield about 12 dumplings.