Chicken and Dumplings: Gather the ingredients before we gather the family!
1 Whole Chicken (3lbs or so cut up. I like to use 2 to 3lbs of legs or leg quarters.)
4 Cups - Chicken Broth (Maybe optional)
1/2 Teaspoons - Salt
1/2 Teaspoon - Ground Pepper (1tsp if you use course ground)
2 Cups - All Purpose Flour
3 Tablespoons Crisco (Shortening)
3/4 Cup - Buttermilk (Don't worry if you have plain milk and vinegar, we can make this!)
1/2 to 3/4 Cup - Chopped Celery
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
Oil - For browning Chicken
Step 1: Buttermilk
So we've got it all together but you don't have any buttermilk! OH NO!!!
But wait! Never Fear! Vinegar is here!
- Pour 3/4 Cup of plain milk into a small bowl.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of Vinegar to the milk.
- Mix and let sit.
Step 2: Let's Get Pouring!
Break out the large stock pot and skillet!
While you're in the cabinet liberating dishes... Grab a cutting board, knife and bowl.
In the stock pot pour 4 Cups of chicken and 4 Cups of water, set the pot over medium heat
If you aren't going to serve the dumplings for several hours you can use 8 Cups of water (omitting the chicken broth) without losing any flavor.
In the skillet pour enough oil to cover the bottom and set the skillet over medium high heat.
If you cook anything on high I don't want to eat with you. The high setting on your stove is strictly for boiling water. You have NO control with the heat set that high. I digress...
Step 3: Chop Chop!
Alright we've got oil getting right on one burner, and broth doing the business on the other so now we have to get hopping! (Don't worry it'll get relaxing like soul food should in just a minute.)
Chop up your celery and onion. I like to use 3 stalks of celery split length wise then chopped. I also use about 1/2 an onion. You can vary the amount and size of your veggies to taste. It should also be noted that some folks add chopped carrots and or green onions. Again this is all to taste!
Once you're all sliced and diced add the veggies to the stock pot.
Don't forget to check on your oil! Don't let it get to hot! (360 to 365 degrees is just right)
Step 4: Snap Crackle and Pop!
If you missed it in the last step, it's time to check on the oil. Don't let it get too hot. It should also be noted that oil being too cold will make your food VERY greasy.
So the oil is good, the veggies and the broth are making sweet, sweet, food love to each other, don't look! Oh you voyeur you! Well let me distract you...
Take a bowl, pour in roughly 1 cup of flour, a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.
It should be noted that my grandfather, creator of the worlds most amazing fried fish once told me that when it came to frying you "add pepper and when you think you've put in enough, put in that much again"
Mix the spices and flour, then roll the chicken in the mix.
Once the chicken has been lightly floured, and the oil is at temperature, it's time to get dangerous!
Carefully add the chicken to the skillet. We aren't frying the chicken until it's done. We're just browning the outsides to add some visual appeal and flavor to the mix.
Once the chicken is lightly browned remove it from the grease and let it drain.
I like to drain my fried foods on paper grocery bags, another acceptable method is to place a metal strainer on a pan and place the chicken inside. If you use the paper bag DO NOT PLACE IT ON THE STOVE! I did so for the picture only!
Once the chicken has drained, carefully place it into the stock pot. If the pot isn't gently boiling increase the heat a little.
Step 5: Dough!
So if you didn't read the title of this step in Homer Simpson's voice, back up and try again!
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, pepper, and shortening.
Slowly pour in the butter milk mixing with a fork. After a bit you're just gonna have to get your hands dirty so reach on in there and make sure you have a good mix going!
Once everything has a good mix set the bowl aside.
Sprinkle some flour on a clean, dry counter top.
Roll the dough ball out on to the floured surface and try to pry the rolling pin out the angry lady with the curls hands! I don't know why she's mad, in your house, and has on curlers but make her give that thing up!
Keep rolling, rolling, rolling, uh!
That's right roll that dough out!
I suggest rolling it out until it's about the same thickness as a fork tine, or between a 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch.
Step 6: Get Cut, Get Swole!
Sorry for the gym reference but that's exactly what's happening!
To cut the dough you can use any of a number of things from a plain ol' kitchen knife to a pizza cutter. I like the pizza cutter because I can cut the dough without applying any pressure so I don't damage my counter tops.
Regardless of what you use cut the dough to pieces about the size of a stick of gum.
Once you've sliced the dough, carefully add it to the gently boiling pot of chicken and broth.
The dumplings will be ready to eat within a few seconds of being added to the boiling water, so once you've got them all in the pot all you have to do is make sure the chicken is done. If it is... soups on!