Venie’s Dumplings and Chicken

April 8th, 2009
by: Blue

This rolled dumpling recipe is from my sons’ incredibly graceful, wordly, and fabulous great-grandmother, Venie. She is among the best examples of women I know whose love for family shows in everything she cooks. She gave me this recipe almost 20 years ago, and I still use it to this day. We love you Venie!  Some dumpling recipes can be a challenge when the stars are not properly aligned.  This one is special - I have truly found this to be the most foolproof dumpling recipe of all. Except for the one time that they failed,  but once in 20 years is not so bad.

Deboned Chicken
Chicken Broth
4-5 Carrots
5-6 stalks celery
Venie’s Dumplings (recipe below)

On chicken and chicken broth:
There are several options for this part of the dish. If you are purchasing chicken broth there are several brands that are far better than others: Pacific and Kitchen Basics. Swansons Certified Organic Chicken broth is also acceptable, but not preferred.

Option 1: If you are cooking on a lazy Saturday, stew a whole chicken in the traditional method until it is done. Strain the broth, debone the chicken.  This method will provide you with both the deboned chicken and the chicken broth.

Option 2: If you need a medium-quick approach, buy a roasted chicken from the deli (Costco and Sam’s chickens are fabulous). Debone the chicken, set the chicken meat aside. Put the bones and skin in a soup pot and add 3-4 quarts of good quality chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about an hour. Strain the broth. Doing the broth with the bones adds a wonderful depth to the broth and it is well worth the time!

Option 3: If you need a super-quick approach, buy the deli roasted chicken and debone (throw away bones and skin), and have 3-4 quarts of good quality chicken broth onhand.  I use this approach when I have a craving for chicken and dumplings on a work night.  Yes, chicken and dumplings on a work night.  How wonderful is that?

At this point, no matter which approach you have used, you have deboned chicken and chicken broth. It is time to make the dumplings.

Venie’s Dumplings:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper or white pepper or combination of both.

Note:  there is no leavening in this recipe, this is not a mistake.  Think of these dumplings as a close relative of a pie crust.  Add salt and pepper to flour and mix. Cut butter into flour mixture with a fork until butter is fully incorporated. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved chicken broth to the flour mixture,  and mix. You will want a relatively sticky dumpling dough, and additional flour or broth can be added if you need to alter the texture to stiffer or softer. Take the dumpling dough and press out onto floured surface with your hands (or roll out) to about 1/4″ thick. Add flour as needed to your hands or the dough to keep it from sticking. Once it is pressed/rolled out let it sit until you are ready to drop them in the broth.  I think the dumplings do well if they have a little “resting” time, after all, they have worked hard so far.  Also note that if I am cooking for 4 or more people I always double the dumpling portion of this recipe.  I *want* leftover chicken and dumplings.

Putting it all together:

This is where all the magic happens. Pour the broth into a large stock pot over high heat to bring to a boil. Peel and slice 4-5 large carrots, and slice 5-6 stalks of celery – add to broth and wait for it to come to a boil. Cut the dumpling dough into 2″x2″ squares (or whatever size you want, this is not rocket science). Once the broth is boiling start adding the dumplings, one or two at a time, until they are all in the pot. The pot can be left uncovered. Lower heat a bit, and simmer for about 30 minutes. The cook time is approximate – this dumpling recipe is not about exact time and “don’t lift the lid!!” – it is about easy, heart warming deliciousness. Season to taste with salt, white and black pepper.  I usually add the deboned chicken to each serving once the dumplings are dished up, but you can also add it while the dumplings are cooking.

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