Ah, but we Texans aren't all about Tex-Mex. We like good ol' down home comfort food too. Actually, I'll let you in on a little secret. I grew up a Yankee. However, I got to Texas as fast as I could. I love everything about Texas. The people, the food, the diversity of this great state, and the heat. Okay, I fibbed on that last one.
Once I got here, though, I latched onto a great-mom and grandmama who knew how to cook. That means I learned from the best. Given my dual heritage, though, I'm just glad Ruthy didn't decide to call this Tuesdays with the Tank.
Today we'll continue Ruthy's fowl comfort food theme with Great-mom's chicken and dumplings. I LOVE this stuff. And if chicken soup is good for the soul, chicken and dumplings must be a double blessing.
First we need to make our chicken stock, which will also provide us with the chicken half of our chicken and dumplings. So, in a large dutch oven or stock pot, add one chicken (I leave mine whole, but remove the skin so there's less fat), two or three carrots cut into thirds, a couple stalks of celery (I left the leaves on mine), one onion, quartered, 1 Tbs. salt (I use kosher), and 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper or 1 1/2 tsp. peppercorns. After I took this picture I found some thyme in the fridge, so I added a couple sprigs of that as well.
Now add three quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for one hour.
Once the bird has cooled, remove the meat from the bone and shred. The veggies don't make it into the soup, however they do make a great snack.
Return broth to stove, add chicken, and bring to boiling. *NOTE* I try to skim as much of the fat as possible from the broth. If there's time, I will put it in the fridge and then skim.
While you're waiting for the broth to boil, prepare your dumplings.
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil (I use canola)
- Approx. 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups self-rising flour (if the mixture seems too sticky, add more flour in small amounts)
From here, it's up to your personal preference. Some like their dumplings big, others like them small. I like a bite of dumpling in every spoonful. My sons want as little dumplings as possible. Personally, I think that's just wrong, but they're brats.
Now, if you're intimidated by making the dumplings, here's a secret shortcut--canned biscuits. (Ooo, did y'all hear Ruthy gasp?) Just break or cut them into pieces and drop into boiling broth. Easy-peasy.
Oh, here comes Ruthy again. She's been pacing the kitchen the entire time. She's so protective of the cafe. Missy's at the counter, hiding behind her laptop. Man, her fingers are moving across that keyboard faster than a Texas tornado. Looks like she's got a new story brewing. Speaking of brewing, I think Ruthy's gone through that entire pot of coffee already. Don't worry, gang, I gotcha covered.