If you were to ask me my top favorite foods in the whole world... I'd probably tell you pancakes, chimichangas, and Mamaw's Chicken & Dumplins.
Oh my gracious. I have had many chicken and dumplins from many different cooks and places... but NOTHIN beats Mamaw's. They are just right. Mmm I'd eat them for breakfast now, if I had a bowl.
One day a good while back, I called her up to ask if I could come over and make a batch with her. Of course she said, "Why sure!" and I went over and watched those tiny, skillful hands work magic while making that bowl of deliciousness. Sadly... I only had a slight remembrance of just how to do it, because I didn't write it down. So I called her up on Saturday and asked her if she would remind me of what I had forgotten. After talking to her, I realized I hadn't really forgotten anything, but I was happy to have her voice refreshed in my mind and was ready for those dumplins in my belly.
Like a lot of women, there is more of a method to making the dumplins than an exact recipe. So when I made up a batch this weekend, I tried to remember her method to share here today. Because I am forgetful and I need reminders, and sharing it on my blog is a way I can always have it close.
Mamaw likes to prepare her chicken in a pressure cooker. I don't have one yet, but one day I hope to join the Instapot revolution!
I just put my chicken in the crockpot with a little butter, salt and pepper and roasted it in there.
Once your chicken is ready, pour the broth off into your pot for dumplins, pull the chicken from the bones... white and dark is good for flavor!
I didn't have a ton of broth from my roasted chicken, so I added some from my pantry.
I also added a couple pats of butter to the broth.
If you are ready to begin your dumplins, go ahead and get your broth on the stove in a deep pot and begin to heat it. You want it boiling when you drop your dumplins in.
I used approximately 2 cups of all purpose flour
and about 2 heaping tbsp of shortening
Work the shortening into the flour until it is all crumbly and like cornmeal. You don't want to see any clumps of shortening.
In the meantime, have 1 cup of water in ice waiting
Like I said friends.... there is not an exactness to this. So for that I am sorry, but truly, just jump in there and try it. If you have any knowledge of food preparation, it shouldn't be hard at all. This is straight up comfort food of the best kind. Comfort food is simple and delicious. If it doesn't turn out spectacular the first time give it another try in a week or so. Before long we will both be expert dumplin makers! Mine were good, but not Mamaw good...yet. One day they will be though!
Sorry! Back to it.
Mix in some of your water to the flour/shorting mixture and work together. Add a bit more and a bit more, until you see the mix coming together and holding. When you see this step, stop adding water and begin working the dough. Dumplin dough is worked a good bit longer than you would work a biscuit. You want it smooth and manageable and able to be rolled quite thin.
I took a picture above... But after taking that picture I mashed it all back together and rolled it out even thinner.
Once you roll out your dough, cut it in strips and then into your dumplin shapes. I did mine maybe an inch or so long.
Drop your dough into your boiling broth a few at a time to give them a chance to begin cooking.
Just keep on rolling out your dough, cutting your dumplins and adding them to the boiling broth til you run out of dough. Give them maybe a good 15 minutes or so to cook and then you can add your chicken to the mix, salt and pepper and take your temperature down from boiling to just a simmer.
Once the chicken was mixed in, you should see that the broth is now forming that thick, almost gravy-ish consistency. That's good! mmmm
But you don't want it too thick, so pour in a bit of milk to help to make it like a very thick soup.
I told you I love chimichangas and pancakes... but Mamaw's dumplins may have just taken over the #1 spot in my heart. Yum.