Thursday, November 16, 2006

Chicken and by-God Dumplings.

For the chicken base:
1 (2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or eight boneless, skinless split chicken tits)
3 ribs celery, chopped fine
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped super-fine
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup (low-salt is good)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 or 3 tbsp of shortening
1 teaspoon salt
Ice water

To start the chicken: Place the chicken, celery, onion, bay leaves, bouillon, and spices in a large pot.
Add 4 quarts of water and in water and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Simmer the chicken until it is tender and the thigh juices run clear, about 40 minutes to an hour.
Remove the chicken from the pot and, when it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and separate the meat from the bones.
Return the chicken meat to the pot.
Keep warm over low heat.

To prepare the dumplings: Mix the flour, shortening and the salt and mound together in a mixing bowl.
Beginning at the center of the mound, drizzle a small amount of ice water over the flour.
Using your fingers, and moving from the center to the sides of the bowl, gradually incorporate about 3/4 cup of ice water.
Knead the dough and form it into ball.

Dust a good amount of flour onto a clean work surface. Roll out the dough (it will be firm), working from center to 1/8-inch thick. Let the dough relax for several minutes.

Add the cream of celery soup to the pot with the chicken and simmer gently over medium-low heat.

Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.

Pull a piece in half and drop the halves into the simmering soup.


Do not stir the chicken once the dumplings have been added.

Gently move the pot in a circular motion so the dumplings become submerged and cook evenly.

Cook until the dumplings float and are no longer doughy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Note: If the chicken stew is too thin it can be thickened before the dumplings are added. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water then whisk this mixture into the stew.

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