Tonight we had a real Southern dish and treat. Chicken and Dumplings. Paula wanted to try this because we had never made it before. There was a recipe for it in the October 2013 Cooking Light magazine. We made the stock and cooked the chicken on Sunday. Paula made the dumplings this afternoon and cooked them before bringing them to school. It is a real labor of love to make this dish but it tasted so good that it was worth it.
Place 1 whole chicken, 10 cups water, 4 cups of chicken broth, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 3 chopped celery stalks 2 chopped carrots, 2 bay leaves, 1 onion (cut into wedges), and 1/2 bunch of chopped parsley in an 8-quart stockpot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, skimming foam from the surface as necessary. Remove from heat, and let stand for 20 minutes.
After the chicken has cooled slightly, remove skin from chicken and remove chicken from bones, discarding skin and bones. Shred chicken with 2 forks. Then you should strain stock through a sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. Cool stock and chicken to room temperature. Cover and chill stock and chicken separately for at least 8 to 24 hours. Skim solidified fat from surface of stock; discard fat. Reserve 8 cups stock and chicken. Refrigerate remaining stock in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to make the dish, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup chopped celery, and 1 sliced carrot to pan. Cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and ground pepper and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Stir in 8 cups of the reserved stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Weigh or lightly spoon 4.5 ounces flour (about 1 cup) into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring with a whisk. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons of buttermilk, stirring until moist.
Drop dough in 24 portions (about 1 teaspoon each) into stock mixture. Cover and cook 8 minutes. Gently stir in reserved shredded chicken and 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme. Simmer over very low heat for 6 minutes or until thoroughly heated and dumplings are done. Remove from heat, and ladle into shallow bowls. Sprinkle evenly with chopped parsley.
Like I said earlier, this was a labor of love but it was worth it. The meal was absolutely delicious!