The main suggestion I got from my two chicken and dumplings experts (Mom and Aunt Dolores) after my last attempt was to not cook the dumplings in the crock pot. the slow cooking allows the dumplings to absorb too much liquid. They indicated that cooking the dumplings at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time would produce lighter dumplings. Dolores also suggested that I remove the chicken fat when it congealed on top of the broth after the cooked chicken had cooled. This particular chicken, an Americauna rooster, turned out to be pretty lean compared to previous home grown chickens. I didn't get a tablespoon of chicken fat after I let the cooked chicken cool. I cut the deboned chicken meat into bite-size pieces then added chopped carrots, onions, and green beans. The only seasoning I used was salt. pepper, and minced garlic. The recipe in the cookbook called for chopped celery which I couldn't find in our fridge. I substituted the green beans because we are currently getting lots of green beans from our vegetable garden.
|The chicken and dumplings rooster is the chicken on the right.|
I followed the dumpling recipe from the cookbook fairly closely. The recipe gave the option of using either butter or the reserved chicken fat in making the dumplings. Our rooster failed to provide even one tablespoon of fat, let alone three tablespoons, so I went with the butter option. I also cut the salt in half and used baking soda and buttermilk rather than baking powder and regular milk. Okay, so I guess I didn't follow the dumpling recipe very closely, but I did use two cups of flour, just not the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe. The dumpling recipe I used was as follows:
2 cups biscuit flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup buttermilk
|Chicken and Dumplings|
I used a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the dry ingredients, added the buttermilk, and mixed until smooth. Then I simply used a spoon to drop golfball size globs of dough onto the surface of the boiling chicken stew and let them cook covered for about ten minutes. Then I removed the cover and let the dumplings cook for another ten minutes. The cooking instructions came from Mom and Aunt Dolores. In lieu of my chicken and dumpling experts I had to use Linda as my chicken and dumplings guinea pig. Linda's childhood memories of chicken and dumplings were not pleasant so this was a little daunting. Imagine my joy when she pronounced them to be delicious. She even proved her sincerity by going back for seconds after I had gone upstairs. I tried them myself, and sure enough they were quite good. They were about as good as chicken and dumplings I remember from a little homestyle restaurant in Houston. I would still like to fix them sometime when Mom and Aunt Dolores are here. I would like to get their suggestions on the improved version. Also, Aunt Dolores had promised to send me her favorite chicken and dumplings recipe which I would like to try making. Other than that I think I am ready to declare victory in the quest for good chicken and dumplings.