I mentioned before in How To Start A Meal Plan how I labeled each day of the week to make it easier to plan out meals. Well, Tuesdays is Home Cooking Tuesday or Comfort Food Tuesday, or…. I really need a good alliteration for this day of the week. If you think of one, please leave it in the comments so I can stop going mad over here.
Tuesday is the day that I am able to pull together 4 generations of knowledge and love and make meals that have been passed down through my family. If you have ever sat on the counter and watched your grammaw cook, you know what I mean. All the measurements are eyeballed and you can tell by looking at it if it is the right consistency and you won’t know it is done until it smells right. These can be some of the hardest recipes to master but they are by far my favorite.
My grammaw is the matriarch of my mother’s side of the family and her food has brought our family together year after year, holiday after holiday. Many of my comfort foods were first experienced in her kitchen. One bite reminds me of home and that’s all that matters.
Yesterday I made Chicken and Dumplings. I don’t think you can have a food more comforting than that. I’ll warn you now that I do not make Chicken and Dumplings the way many people do. I do not roll out my dough and cut out dumplings. I like big, fluffy balls of dumplings. An upside is that my dumpling dough is easily convertible to the roll out (“roll out!” in my best Ludacris voice) method if you so desire.
In true home cooking fashion, we won’t even bother with recipe cards. No worries folks, there are literally five ingredients to these Chicken and Dumplings. There are seven if you include salt and pepper as ingredients.
Step One: Get large pot and fill half way with water. Place pot on stove set for high heat. Place 4-5 frozen chicken breasts (I told you I use frozen chicken for almost everything) in the pot. That is going to be doing its cooking and eventually boiling thing while you are busy making dumplings.
Step Two: I bet you can’t guess what step two is. I’d lose that bet, you guys are pretty smart cookies. It is dumpling making time! In a large bowl pour about 2 cups of Self Rising flour. I know almost all of my other recipes say All Purpose but PLEASE make sure to use Self Rising flour for this one. Dumplings just wouldn’t be the same. I’ll be honest I am completely guessing at measurements right now though. Bare with me because it is definitely going to be based on consistency. You will add a little milk at a time mixing it into the flour until it feels like a firm dough. Don’t pour too much because then it will be like doing eye makeup and trying to make them even and everything spiraling down from there. The dough, however, should be a bit dryer than bread dough and you should be able to easily pick it up like a softball without it being sticky.
Step Three: Check on your chicken. If the meat looks like it is getting pretty close to cooked, I take the pieces out and cut them into bite size pieces. This is a personal preference. You can have big chicken if you want it (no judgement). Once returning the meat to the pot, you can now turn down the heat to medium low. Now pinch off quarter sized balls from your dough and just plop them into the pot. My family absolutely loves these things so I make a ton of dumplings.
Step Four: As your dumplings cook, you’ll notice they float to the top. Cut one stick of butter into Tablespoons and add the whole stick to the pot. Before you go thinking I’m some sort of Paula Dean wannabe, please remember the no judgement above. Comfort food isn’t meant to be extremely healthy. No one ever wanted to curl up with a salad when they didn’t feel good.
Step Five: Add salt and pepper to taste. I also will mix flour with cold water in a small bowl until all the lumps are out and then add that to the pot to thicken the broth.
That’s it! Wasn’t that super easy? Five ingredients folks. That’s it! So as the weather starts cooling off (everywhere but here in Florida), you’ll want to have meals that will stick to your bones and keep all those wind chilled faces warm and smiling. Homemade Chicken and Dumplings is just the meal to bring the family together and make life taste a little sweeter.