Chicken & Dumplins- Now that is comfort food!

Did someone say "Chicken & Dumplings"?
Did someone say “Chicken & Dumplings”?

A favorite food of the whole family is chicken and dumplings.  No matter the size of the pot, the pot will be empty.  As a matter of fact, no holiday meal is complete without this dish and  much to my surprise, not all families feel this way about dumplings.  I was shocked the first holiday that I spent with my new in-laws and found that they did not serve dumplings with the dinner.    Well then, I decided to make them and bring them as my contribution to the holiday dinners.  It’s funny, now there is another family that expects the chicken and dumplings to be at the holiday dinners.  Of course you do not need a holiday to eat good food and this dish is so great on cold winter evenings.

To get the best results, use the homemade biscuit dough recipe below for the dumplings.  There are plenty of short-cut recipes that use canned biscuits or tortillas, all I can say is YUCK!  It may take time but good food is worth the time.  Really, its not just food you are making, but memories as well.  It is worth taking time to do it right.  The recipe is simple and easy no need for shortcuts.  Also, cooking time is really important once you drop the dough in and put the lid on the pot.  The one common thing I hear when people talk to me about making dumplings is that the dumplings cook away.  The problem is simple- you cooked it too long.  That is why you put the lid on for 10 minutes, no longer.  You will be glad you cooked from scratch when you see your family’s happy faces.

From our family to yours- below is a recipe that is our family favorite.
1 whole chicken
1 tsp Poultry seasoning
2 tsp Fresh Sage (dried is fine if you do not have fresh, reduce to 1 tsp)
Salt and pepper to taste
Biscuit dough (recipe below)

Place chicken in a large stock pot or dutch oven.  Cover with water to about 3 inches above the bird.
Boil until chicken easily pulls of the bone- about 1hr- 1 1/2 hrs.
Remove chicken from pot and let cool.  Pull chicken from bone and discard the skin and bones.
These steps can be done in advance and let cool in the refrigerator or freeze the shredded chicken and broth in freezer until you are ready to cook.

Once the chickens is shredded return to the pot and bring to a rolling boil on high heat.  Once boiling rapidly, drop the biscuit dough in by the spoonfuls, how large of dumplins depends on your family preference.  After adding the dough, dump the contents left in the bowl of dough into the pot.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Boil for 10 minutes, do not lift the lid and remove from heat after 10 minutes.

Serve once cool enough to handle.

Biscuit Dough:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp of baking powder
5 tbsp of butter or Crisco
1 cup of buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter until there are small pea-size bits of butter.  Stir in milk.  If you don’t have buttermilk, you can add 1 tsp of vinegar to one cup milk.
The dough will be very wet.  Now for dumplins, sprinkle a liberal amount of flour over the top.  Now pinch off pieces about the size of a large marble.  The extra flour keeps the dough from sticking to your fingers and adds lose flour to the broth that will thicken it.

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