Mindy here with a bit of a headache. You see, I've been banging my head against the wall, trying to decide what to share with y'all today. I didn't even have any cool pictures I could share. I finally came up with something, however, I knew I'd shared it before, so I searched the archives to discover that not only had I, indeed, shared this favored recipe with you before, it was my very first post here at the Yankee-Belle Café, six years ago this week. Hard to believe I've been here this long. I thought for sure Ruthy and Missy would get sick of me and kick me out after a couple of months. But here I am. So rather than rework my original post, I thought I'd leave it intact. Just for fun.
Happy Tuesday, Yankee-Belle faithfuls. Well, the Yank and the Belle have gone and done it now. They've given this Texan--aka Mindy Obenhaus--keys to the cafe. Yep, no telling what you might find jalapenos or chipotle in now.
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)
Turn dough onto a floured surface and kneed a handful of times.
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.
Here we are, back to present day. That was fun, though. You know, Ruthy still paces the kitchen. Except for this past week, because she's been sick. But as we all know, not even the flu can defeat our precious Yank. She might have slowed down a little, but she's too determined to let anything beat her.
I'm still blown away that I've been here at the Yankee-Belle for six years. It seems like only yesterday. No matter how long it's been, though, I've loved every minute.
Now it's your turn. So what do you want to talk about? Ruthy? Your favorite soup? A special relative who taught you how to cook? The upcoming BIG game? The floor is yours. Have at it.
Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com