Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mammy's Chicken & Dumplings

This is the recipe that actually inspired The Red Plate, which was my paternal grandmothers recipe. When I was a child there was always a huge pot of her Chicken & Dumplings at every "dinner-on-the-grounds" of our church. The whole congregation expected Mammy to bring this main dish, if she brought nothing else. The age of this recipe is unknown, indeed there is the possibility that Mammy's mother taught her. Mama now makes this for the family, which is always a celebration for us.

Mammy's Chicken & Dumplings

1 large hen (do not substitute fryer)
2-3 quarts homemade chicken stock (divided use)
2 eggs beaten
All-purpose flour

Cut the hen into quarters and place into a large stockpot adding enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to an active simmer and cook until the hen is tender, about an hour. Add more stock as needed to the pot. Remove the hen from the stock and set aside to cool, then remove the meat from the bone. Strain the stock into a bowl and remove 2 cups to cool, making sure to capture some of the chicken fat. Add the remaining stock back to the pot, adjust the salt and bring back to a simmer.

Into a mixing bowl, stir together the 2 cups of cooled stock and 2 beaten eggs. Gradually add small amounts of all-purpose flour, mixing gently after each addition. Add enough flour to form a very soft dough, but firm enough to roll into dumplings. Working in small batches on a well floured board, roll out a thin dough and cut into strips. Drop the strips of dumplings into the simmering stock. Repeat these steps until all the dough is used. Stir gently after each addition to keep the dumplings separate. Into the dough bowl, add 2 tablespoons flour and a small amount of milk. Mix well and add slowly to the pot to thicken the stock. Adjust the salt if necessary and add lots of black pepper. Cook covered another 15 minutes on very low heat. 

Add the chicken to the pot or if you prefer, serve on a warm platter.

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