the domestic tales of four sisters

Chicken & Dumplings or Chicken Pot Pie?

To all my southern belles we are making Chicken & Dumplings. But before you point your freshly manicured nails and pitch your Alabama Tervis tumbler of Diet Coke at me … I am in no way, shape, or form trying to make this better than your Mama’s. So don’t get your panties in a whad over my dumpling recipe not being made of this or that and something not being fried in bacon fat. I’m from the north … this is how we roll.

I will say though … The dumplings contain lard.

Which I love and I now use in place of shortening in all recipes that call for it. Also you haven’t had a pie crust until you’ve had a LARD and BUTTER pie crust.

If you don’t have lard or hate the idea of using it … no worries. Use the shortening! We are running from “vegetable/soybean/canola” fats into the arms of olive/butter/lard fats in this house however.

When I was violently ill with my daughter this is one of 3 things that made my stomach feel even a little better. And I could “hold onto it” longer. Meaning … I wasn’t hugging Sir Porcelain God within moments of eating it. I approve this for morning sickness comfort. As well as cold Sunday afternoon, watching football comfort.

This is quite simple and you’ll love it. I should mention, however, there is an open debate on what exactly this is called. Is it Chicken Pot Pie? Chicken & Dumplings? I’ve been informed by Sami that it is Chicken & Dumplings. But her best friend is Southern and she lived in Virginia for a few years. So her authority is nonexistent here.

You Need:

2 chicken breasts, frozen or thawed (doesn’t matter)
4 cups of chicken broth OR 4 cups water and 1 1/2 tablespoons of this bouillon (which I recommend you always keep on hand!)
1 medium onion, chopped
fresh thyme (entirely optional, I just had it on hand)
garlic
salt/pepper to taste
flour
milk
lard (or shortening)
baking soda

About 1-2 (if using frozen chicken breast like me) hours prior to serving throw your chicken breasts, onion, garlic, and chicken broth or water/bouillon mixture into a stockpot. Add your salt and pepper to your desired amount. I never measure and go entirely on taste, so you have to forgive me. Allow this to come to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and let simmer until chicken is cooked through. (I let mine cook 3-4 hours. Because I forgot about it. It tasted wonderful.)

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After cooked thoroughly remove the chicken and shred it. Add it back to the pot and bring the soup back to a boil.

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Mix up your flour, baking soda, salt and pepper, and lard with your hand until it is crumbly. Slowly add your milk. (Please note: My husband decided it would be funny to dump the milk on my hands instead of in the bowl, as I asked him to.) Mix and incorporate with your hand into a ball, roll, and cut your dumplings with a pizza cutter. No need to be perfect.

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This is always something my mom used to do when she made pot pie, and all I can guess is it does two things – 1) Helps keep the dumplings/noodles from sticking and 2) helps to thicken the base of the soup. I just do what she taught me. Throw a few tablespoons of flour over the dumplings, toss, and then add them to the pot. Mixing after a few additions.

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You let the dumplings cook for a few minutes and make sure you give it a stir or two until they’re cooked thoroughly. They’ll rise to the top – so you’ll know when they are done. If your base is too thin and not cloudy you need to add a little bit of flour at a time until it thickens. It shouldn’t be as thick as a stew nor as thin as a chicken noodle soup.

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Then, dear friends, its time to serve and eat.

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Happy Hump Day!

-Kelsea

Chicken & Dumplings/Chicken Pot Pie

*serves 4-6 large portions

Soup Base

2 large chicken breasts, frozen or thawed
4 cups chicken broth/stock OR 4 cups water and 1 1/2 tablespoons Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
1 medium onion, chopped
garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 sprigs of thyme (optional)
1 tablespoon flour

Dumplings

1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons lard (or shortening)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup milk (if not enough gradually add until mixture forms into a dough)

1) In stockpot add chicken breasts, broth or water/bouillon base, onion, garlic, thyme if using, and salt and pepper. Bring to rolling boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is done.
2) Remove chicken and shred, return to pot. Bring soup base to boil.
3) Mix flour, baking soda, and lard by hand until crumbly. Add salt and pepper. Gradually pour in milk and mix by hand until dough forms. Roll out thinly and cut into squares or strips.
4) Coat dumplings in 2-3 tablespoons of flour and dump into pot 8-10 at a time. Mix after each addition of 8-10 dumplings. Once all added allow dumplings to cook. (They will rise to the top.)
5) If base of soup is too thin add about 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well. If too thick, thin with a little water.

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