Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cracker Barrel Chicken & Dumplings

It's not often Brad puts in a request for dinner, especially not one with chicken in it. With him & Em feeling under the weather today he wanted a hearty home cooked meal & asked that I finally get around to making Chicken & Dumplings. I've never made this dish before so of course I had to "google" and found what they say is Cracker Barrel's recipe. Here it is:

Chicken & Broth:
3 quarts water
1 3-4lb chicken, cut up
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 small onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled & quartered
1 bay leaf
4-6 whole parsley leaves
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 Tbsp milk

Bring water to a boil in large pot. Add chicken, 1 tsp salt, onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf & parsley to the pot. Reduce heat to simmer & cook uncovered for 2 hours.

When chicken has cooked, remove it from the pot & set aside. Strain the stock to remove all the vegetables & floating scum (ew, I just copied what the recipe says, that sounds nasty)

Pour 6 cups of stock into a smaller pot. Add ground pepper & the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt & lemon juice. Reheat stock while preparing dumplings.

For dumplings, combine flour, baking powder, 1 1/4 tsp salt & milk in a bowl. Stir well until smooth, then let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes. Roll dough onto floured surface to about 1/2 inch thickness.

Cut the dough into 1/2 inch squares and drop each square into the simmering stock. Use all of the dough. The dumplings will first swell and then slowly shrink as they partially dissolve to thicken the stock into a white gravy. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until thick. Stir often.

While the stock is thickening, the chicken will have become cool enough to handle. Tear all the meat from the bones & remove the skin. Cut the chicken into bite size or a little bigger than bite size pieces & drop them into the pot. Discard the skin & bones. Continue to simmer the chicken & dumplings for another 5-10 minutes, but don't stir too vigorously or the chicken will fall apart.

When the gravy has reached the desired consistency, ladle portions onto plate & serve hot.

Makes 8 1 cup servings.

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