Chicken and Dumplings

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I like to share Southern recipes that I know people will try and love to cook for years to come. A warm bowl of Chicken and Dumplings takes me back to meals at our family’s beloved Kitchen House. Mr. Bernard Covington would cook up a huge pot of this southern staple. I loved the thick hand rolled dumplings and copious amounts of black pepper he used to make his recipe. We gathered around the table to enjoy with fat back and cat head biscuits dripping with cane syrup and blackberry jelly.

My recipe includes a few shortcuts, but the love I put into this recipe is the same as Mr. Bernard’s. He loved our family like his own. He let us drive his little red truck to his grocery store in Garfield where we loaded up on Honey Buns and whatever sweet treat we could find. I am thankful for these memories and the many friends who have come into our lives who are like family.

Chicken and Dumplings

1 Whole Chicken

3-4 Celery Ribs with Leaves

1 can (10.5oz) Cream of Chicken Soup

1 can (10.5oz) Cream of Celery Soup

20 Small Flour Tortillas (I prefer La Banderita 6 inch)

4 Tbs. Butter

4 Tbs. Flour

Salt and Pepper to Taste

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Rinse chicken and remove neck and giblets from cavity. Place chicken in dutch oven and cover with water. Add salt, pepper, and ribs of celery. Boil until chicken is fully cooked and tender. You may need to add additional water as chicken cooks.

While chicken is cooking cut tortillas into 1 inch strips.

Once cooking is complete remove chicken and celery from dutch oven. Discard celery. Allow chicken to cool. Once chicken is cooled pick meat from bones. Discard bones and skin.

While the chicken is cooling bring broth to a boil. Add cream of chicken and cream of celery. Stir until soup is dissolved and mixture returns to a boil. Slowly add tortilla strips 2-3 at a time. Stir after each addition. After all tortilla strips are added bring to a boil and turn heat to low. Simmer until strips/dumplings are tender. Approximately 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Do not overcook. Melt butter in small pan. Whisk in flour and cook one minute. Gently stir roux in dumplings to thicken. Stir in chicken. Serve hot with biscuits or lacey cornbread.

Variations:

You can use this same recipe and substitute frozen or homemade dumplings. I just love using the tortillas because they are so tender and they don’t clump up.

You can use boneless skinless chicken breast but I believe the flavor from a whole chicken is much tastier!

You can use two cans of cream of chicken and omit the cream of celery but the celery adds depth of flavor.


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