By popular demand, I am posting what is probably one of my most requested dishes. This is something my children want me to make every Christmas Day. It’s a dish my niece asks for as a gift for her birthday. It is the standard by which all other comfort food in our family is measured.
For something so good and so popular, you’d expect it to be hard to make. But I’ll tell you a secret – it’s not. Simple ingredients you probably always have on hand. Comes together in the time it takes to cook the chicken and roll out the dumplings. No special spices needed. Just good, satisfying, home cooking at its finest.
1 3-4 pound chicken or 3-4 pounds of chicken tenders (I’ll share more about this choice in the cook’s notes below)
2 quarts water (use a little more to ensure the chicken is completely covered)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 cup carrot, julienned or shredded
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more to dust the counter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk or soured milk (1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar)
Place the whole chicken or the tenders in a large pot or Dutch oven and cover with the water. Add the 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Add the carrots, celery and onion. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until completely done and tender. COOK’S NOTE: Using a whole chicken adds a depth of flavor to the dish. However, chicken tenders are also an option if you want something that is quicker and easier to put together. Saves you from having to break down and debone the whole chicken.)
Combine together the flour, baking soda and shortening. Cut the shortening in with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk and incorporate with a fork until just combined. Don’t overmix or you’ll create a tougher dumpling.
Lightly dust your surface and knead the dough a few times, 3-4 is probably sufficient. Roll the dough out until it’s fairly thin. Cut into squares of about 1/2 inch with a pizza cutter. Separate the dumplings and drop them into the simmering broth. Add the pepper and cook for about 8-10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through and are floating to the top. Double check the seasonings and add any additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve and wait for the applause!