southern style chicken and dumplings

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Chicken and dumplings brings back so... many... memories. Mainly of my great grandma, Florence (isn't that such a lovely name?).  It was her jam, y'all. For a little while, growing up she lived with us. I really can't say I remember much from that time. 
There was this one time, her sister came over. They were such a pair together! My grandma would always laugh so much with her, and that's because my great aunt was a clown. She was a joker and always smiled and laughed, as well as loved to make people laugh. They were both very beautiful and even more beautiful together.
The most specific memory I have is them sitting in my parents' kitchen at a small part of the counter, and rolling out dumplings. They were using glasses to roll the dough, and there was flour everywhere. When I tell you they were cursing, they were cursing! But all in good fun. Someone would give a good ole "shit" to the other and they'd just start laughing so hard. It was the most I ever saw my grandma laugh. 
It is a memory that makes me wish I had a sister, but also makes me feel lucky I have a daughter that I may make memories with in the future. And who knows, it might be with my son! Either one, I will be so happy to have that with them. 

Ingredients: 
Boil chicken and make broth: 

  • 2.5-3 lb whole chicken (remove innards) 
  • 1 large onion, cut into fourths 
  • 3 stalks celery 
  • 1 head of garlic 
  • 1/2 tbsp salt 
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • Directions: 
    • Place all ingredients in a large stock pot 
    • Bring to a boil 
    • Allow it to boil until chicken is fully cooked 

While the chicken is boiling, make dumplings 

Dumplings: 
3 cups flour
2 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp shortening
1 cup heavy cream- more as needed, you want it to be a semi-wet dough, not dry
Place flour in a large bowl
Add seasonings
Cut shortening into the flour
Add heavy cream and mix, if it is crumbly add more heavy cream until it is all combined
In batches roll out dough, don't forget to flour your surface and then flour the top of your dough
Add more flour to the dough as you roll it out so it won't stick to everything! 

Now, after stock is made, remove onions, garlic, celery and chicken from the stock. Remove stock from the pot, into a bowl to set on the side. 
Prepare:

  • 1 stick of butter 
  • 1.5 cup onions diced 
  • 1/2-3/4 cup celery diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp pepper 
  • 2 cups heavy cream 
  • peas and carrots if desired 
  • 3-4 boxes of 32 oz chicken broth plus chicken broth made 
  • Water as needed (1-2 qts) 
  • Directions
    • Remove chicken from the stock pot, save stock and allow chicken to cool 
    • Melt butter in the pot 
    • Add onions and celery 
    • Cook down until softened 
    • Add broth back, if it isn't a lot (say fills up less than half of a 8-10qt pot) add more broth from the box
    • Add seasonings 
    • Add heavy cream 
    • Add picked, shredded chicken back to the pot (no bones!)
    • Add the dumplings in batches, do not overcrowd 
    • Allow it to simmer down until the dumplings are cooked 
    • Adjust seasonings to taste 
    • Enjoy!