My mother-in-law, Louise Hill, made the absolute best chicken and dumplings in the world! She made a pot for almost every family gathering.
Like a lot of older folks, she didn’t use a recipe–just add a little of this and a dab of that.
She was visiting my daughter, Amy Ramsey, one day. Amy talked her into making a pot, then followed behind her carefully measuring everything she added.
In relaying her recipe, I hope I’ve done her justice. This is one of our family’s most treasured recipes, if not THE most treasured one.
|Start with a baking or stewing hen. The flavor is much better than a young chicken.
|The secret to great dumplings is a well-seasoned stock. Rough cut a few
stalks of celery, 2 or 3 large carrots, a head of garlic and an onion. Add
all to a stock pot along with the hen and a generous amount of salt and pepper,
two bay leaves, garlic salt and a touch of cayenne.
|Once the water comes to a rumbling boil, cut the heat down to a slow
simmer and allow to cook until the hen is tender, about 3-4 hours.
|Once the hen is tender, take out of the water and set aside to cool.
|Time for the DUMPLINGS!
It really doesn’t get much simpler than this. You will need:
3–3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 T Crisco
1 cup hot water
I know that most recipes call for very cold water. I’ve tried it both
ways, but the hot water makes a silkier dough.
Turn out onto a floured surface. I use my countertop. Knead for
2 or 3 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about
1/8″ thick. You don’t have to worry about trying to make it too pretty.
With a knife, cut the dough into small squares, about 1-1/2 ” each.
Drop one by one into boiling chicken stock. Shake the pot
gently as you add the dumplings. When they are all added, cook
about 3-4 minutes and then take off the heat. The extra flour
on the dumplings will thicken the stock.
To the pot add 1 can cream of mushroom soup, 1 stick of butter
and a 1/2 cup of milk. (I use heavy whipping cream.)
My mother-in-law is the only one I’ve ever known that did this
last step. Chop up and add two boiled eggs to the top.
The eggs make a wonderful garnish, but also, the flavor with
the dumplings is delicious!
I would love to hear about your family’s treasured recipes. As mothers and grandmothers, it is our responsibility to keep our beloved traditions of food alive.