Jules’ Diner – Chicken & Dumplings – Southern Style

One of my husband’s all-time favorite suppers is Chicken & Dumplings. Now, I don’t make this very often, even though it’s really quite simple. Serving it infrequently helps maintain it’s hallowed status. Grin.

Jules’ Chicken & Dumplings-Southern Style

For the Chicken
1 whole chicken
House seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil

For the Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
6-8 stalks of celery with leaves, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
House seasoning
1 dash cayenne pepper
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley

For the Dumplings
2 cups all -purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 stick of butter, sliced into pats
1 cup milk or buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425º.

1.  Rinse the whole chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place in shallow baking dish and rub 1 tbsp olive oil over the skin. Season well with house seasoning (equal parts kosher salt, black pepper and granulated garlic).  Roast in oven for 75 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool. Reserve any pan juices.

2.  In a large, heavy *stockpot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium to medium low heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots along with house seasoning to taste.  Sauté until vegetables become tender and translucent, about 10 minutes.

3.  Add a dash of cayenne along with 8 cups of chicken stock, basil and parsley. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to gentle simmer.

4.  When the chicken has cooled enough to allow handling, remove the skin and discard. Pull the meat from the bones and shred by hand.  Add all the shredded chicken meat to the stockpot and stir.  Pour any pan juices into the pot as well.

5.  To make the dumplings, place flour, baking powder, sugar & salt into a food processor.  Pulse a few times to blend the dry ingredients.

6.  Add the butter pats to the processor bowl, and pulse until the mixture looks like crumbs. Turn on the processor and slowly pour in the milk or buttermilk. Process just until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  The dough will be very, very sticky.

7.  Turn out the sticky dough onto a floured work surface. I use my hands to scrape down the inside of the bowl and get all the dough.

8.  Flour the lump of dough liberally until you can touch it without it sticking to your hands. Do NOT KNEAD the dough. Simply form it into a rough rectangular shape and roll it out to approximately 1/2″ thickness with a floured rolling pin.

9.  Using a very sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dumpling dough in a criss-cross pattern, making rectangular dumplings about 1″ long.

10.  Place the dumplings into the simmering soup one at a time so that they do not clump together. Gently submerge them with a spoon, adding as many as will fit on the surface of the chicken soup.

11.  Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Do not lift the lid.  The dumplings will plump up and cook as they steam in the chicken soup and become fluffy little butter pillows.

Note:  The soup will thicken after adding the dumplings.  This makes a large number of dumplings and you may have to add them in two batches.

*I recommend investing in an enamel-coated cast iron Dutch oven, like the affordable Lodge 6 quart from Target, or the gold standard Le Creuset, which I’ve used for years.

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