Mammy Slappin Chicken and Dumplins
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I've been searching for 6 years for the perfect chicken and dumplings. After trial and error, trying different recipes, I have combined the best of the best and added little touches and secrets of my own and I have to say... Eureka!
My search is over and I want to share it with you. Now your search is over too.
Now this version I cook my chicken the night before, you don't have to do it. You can just boil it on your stove top until it falls off of the bone, but to get the best result I suggest the overnight method.
The day before
Ingredient for Chicken and broth:
1 whole or half chicken (I used a whole for this recipe and had PLENTY of chicken)
celery (approx. 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
a handful of shredded carrots approx. 3/4 cup. (I use the shredded kind you use in salads)
salt and pepper (start with 1 tsp. each, you can add more later if needed)
1 tsp. paprika
2 slices of lemon or 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. thyme
yellow food coloring (optional)
4 cups of flour
1 stick of butter (chopped into 1/4 inch cubes, approximatley)
The day before you'll want to take a whole chicken, toss it in your crock pot, chop your onion into relatively small pieces (you want them to cook down enough to become a part of the broth). Take your celery and chop. I like to use the end pieces with the leaves and some of the stalk, the darker green adds to the color of your broth. And you save your stalk s to be used on a vegetable tray.
Go ahead and toss in the rest of your ingredients. The yellow food dye is a trick my Grandmother used to use to make them look better. Your call.
Cover with water, put your lid on.
Set your crock pot on its lowest setting, and your done until tomorrow.
prep time : about 5 to 10 minutes (day 1)
Now your ready for some fun.
WASH YOUR HANDS.
Remove your chicken from the crock pot and set on a plate or bowl. Your chicken should fall apart. You'll probably have to use a slotted spoon to get all of it out of the pot and make sure you get all of the bones out of it. No one wants to bite into a bone while eating chicken and dumplings. This will allow your chicken to cool while making the dumplings. Also remove the bay leave and lemon slices. Go ahead and turn your crock pot to its highest setting now so it will be ready for the dumplings. see Fig. 2
Now take your stick of butter, slice it long ways into about 4 or 5 slices. Then lay each slice flat and continue slicing until you have small cubes. Toss them into a bowl with 1/2 cup of flour. Wash and dry your hands again. Make sure they are good and dry. Then with your finger tips start squishing the flour into the butter, once you've got the flour worked in a little start alternating between adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time then working into the butter until all flour is worked in, Its should resemble a more coarse flour. Add some salt and pepper. Now start adding your water. I usually start with about a cup. Mix until you dough can be rolled out onto a floured surface. Make sure you use all of the flour in your bowl, you may have to add more water to do this.
If you have wax paper, tear off a good size to roll your dough on. (Not necessary, but it does make for an easier clean up). Roll your dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch in thickness. Take a pizza cutter or knife and cut into 1 inch squares or desired size. Keep in mind these dumplings will almost double in size.see Fig. 3
Now start dropping them into your crock pot one at a time. When done take your leftover flour and rub between your hands into the crock pot as well. Not too much flour about 1/8 cup should do. Stir. Adding the flour will help it create a gravy. Cover and let simmer.
While your dumplings are cooking your chicken should be cool enough to d-bone. Use every part of the chicken that is not bone, especially the chicken butt. I know, it sounds funny or maybe even gross, but that's where you get the best flavor. When you're done you should have very little to throw away and a lot of chicken. see Fig. 4 and Fig. 5. I added the spoons to the photo to give you a size reference.
By this time your dumplings should be just about ready. You'll have to try a piece to make sure it is cooked thoroughly and not still doughy. You'll have to use your own judgement. As you can probably tell I really don't keep track of time or even really use measurement. I'm estimating a lot of the time.... see Fig. 6
Once your dumplings are done add your chicken back to the pot and voila! You're done!
Estimated prep time is 1 hour.