Chicken & Dumplings
It doesn't get more southern comfort-ish than this (unless it comes in a bottle).
Broth: place chicken pieces in a large pot, along with next 5 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, uncovered, till chicken is tender. Remove chicken. When cool enough to handle, remove skins and bones and cut into bite-sized chunks. Set aside. Skim fat off broth and remove the vegetables. (Reserve the vegetables and serve them along with chicken pieces. Or discard them for a more traditional dish—it’s up to you.)
Dumplings: * place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl (or a food processor) and cut in butter till it resembles small peas and is well distributed throughout. Add water and knead 6-8 times till dough is smooth. If too sticky, add a little more flour. Try not to handle the dough too much or it will toughen dumplings. Roll dough into 1/8” thickness and cut into 1”- 2” squares. Or you can scoop up dough with a teaspoon and make little balls.
Assembly: Bring chicken broth to a rolling boil. Drop in dumplings (squares or balls) and cook for 8-10 minutes till done; they will plump up a bit and be translucent.
* Some cooks use Bisquick, but others say Bisquick dumplings tend to fall apart.
Tips & Glossary
Basic southern cuisine differs from its Cajun, Creole, and Southwestern cousins in its lack of hot spices. As a result, it's rich but mild—the ultimate in comfort food!
• Crabmeat: meat from the body, legs or claws of numerous varieties of crab. Most prized is jumbo lump from the hind leg. But for crab cakes and casseroles, use regular lump, as well as finback from the body. Claw meat is brown and stronger flavored, though also good for crab recipes. Buy it fresh if you can.
• Greens: a staple in Southern cooking, they're in the cabbage family and include kale, collards, turnip, spinach, and mustard greens. Usually served with black-eyed peas and cornbread to sop up the pot likker.
• Grits: another staple of Southern cooking: coarsely ground corn, cooked as porridge. Once cooked, grits are served plain, baked in a casserole, fried or deep-fried as a fritter. (Think polenta.)
• Pie Crust: store bought crusts are fine. But for the skilled (or more daring) among you, make your own. Here's our recipe—Noel's Pie Crust.
• Yams: a type of sweet potato with an elongated shape and deep orange flesh. A true yam is grown in Africa and Asia is actually quite different from what Americans call yams.
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