Chicken and Dumplings
Let the chicken cool until you can touch it without burning your fingers off, and you can throw it in the fridge to speed up the process. Once you can touch it, shred it into fine slivers. Set the chicken aside while you make your dumplings.
The dumplings are SO easy, y’all. I know they sell them in the frozen section of the supermarket, but seriously, why buy them when they’re basically flour, water, and salt? Here’s what you do… add your salt to your flour and mix thoroughly. Now, here’s the tricky part, my grandmother’s recipe says “add ice water until the right consistency.” The first time I made it I was like “WHAT?” But because the recipe also is made ALL the time by gals in my family, (thankfully) now I know what she meant by “the right consistency.” Now I can’t tell you the exact amount of ice water you need, as it’s always different. So, to make sure you don’t over-wet the dough, add in tablespoons of ice water one at the time until you’ve got a dough ball that just barely sticks together. You DO NOT want to make this dough too wet or the dumplings will fall apart as you cook them.
Exhibit A: dough that has the correct texture and consistency.
Roll out the dumplings using a rolling pin so that you don’t over-work the dough. My cousin Amy likes to make some thick and some thin, but I just like mine to be uniform. I roll them about about 1/4″ thick, then cut them into inch wide strips. Know that when you cut them they puff up a bit, and that’s A-ok. You’ll have enough leftover strips and pieces to ball the dough up a second or third time and cut more out from the scraps.
While that’s happening, boil your chicken stock, but once it’s at a rolling boil cut it down a notch because you don’t want the boiling water to break the dumplings apart. Now drop your dumplings in slowly, one by one. This way, they won’t clump together.
My family HAS to serve this with butter beans and candied sweet potatoes. If you know what’s up, you’ll try it this way, too! 🙂
If you’re making this to welcome a new baby to the world (or in my friend Jane’s case, TWO beautiful new babies) or comfort a sick or grieving pal, take the whole shebang over with some rolls and flowers (Of course I picked Sister Shubert as she’s an Alabama lady with rolls that taste as close to homemade as you can get. Plus, when my own perfect grandmother passed away, she sent my aunt an entire freezer full of good things to eat.) Enjoy. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOLLY!