Monday, November 24, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings

Ok, its confession time. When my husband and I were first married, I didn't know how to cook 'Southern' food. I only knew how to cook what he called 'bland' food. So, I went out and bought some cookbooks. And, I tried to learn some of his favorites from my Mother in Law. I was told several recipes that included lines like, 'just add some flour - however much you think is right,' 'just cook it until you think its done,' and, my personal fave, 'just throw in what looks good to you.' From this precise teaching method, its no wonder my first go round with roast, rice and gravy turned into roast, rice and brown water. And, my first fried chicken looked divine on the outside and bloody as the day it died on the inside.

The cookbooks I bought were called, 'Make it in the Microwave,' '5 Ingredients or Less,' and '30 Minutes or Under.' My husband told one of his friends one day that I never made anything that contained more than 5 ingredients and took less than 30 seconds to whip up in the micro. That was not entirely true, but close. Then, I found some shortcuts and now can make several of his favorites. Today, I will share one. Please don't look down upon me because of the simplicity - sometimes I do make things that are a little more complicated.

Chicken and Dumplings

4-5 pounds of chicken pieces (do NOT use skinless - it will add flavor)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 four pk of Pillsbury Flaky Layers biscuits (they come wrapped in a 4 pk - get the brown ones)
salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in large pot and cover with water. Boil until the chicken falls away from the bone. Drain and reserve the cooking water.

When it is cool enough to touch, debone the chicken. Add the chicken meat back into the cooking water. Toss the bones and skin - their job is done.

Turn the burner back on high and stir in the 2 cans of cream of chicken soup. Bring to a boil.

Pick a spot on your counter and coat with flour. Separate the biscuits and roll out in the flour. Cut each biscuit into 8 pieces and drop them into the pot, one at a time. You will have to push the pile under the water during this process. When all of the 'dumplings' are in the pot, turn it down to medium low and let it simmer until all of the dumplings have 'dropped' below the surface and don't float back up.

*PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stir frequently or they will burn on the bottom. Thank you*

Now, turn the heat off and leave the pot alone for at least 30 minutes. The longer they sit, the better they taste. After the time is up, you can season to taste in the pot or let each person season their own bowl. Enjoy.

Be sure to save the leftovers - they are even better the next day.


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