Which came first - the chicken or the dumpling?


I am a Southern girl. I grew up with Southern great-grandmothers and grandmothers and my mother who cooked true Southern delicacies like red-eye gravy, cornbread, fried potatoes, fried chicken, pinto beans and collard greens. I love me some good ole' Southern home cookin'.

I'm not sure if it's due to the theory of evolution or just pure laziness on my part, but I don't prepare alot of the dishes that I grew up on in my own kitchen. I mostly think it's because nobody can cook like momma and grandmas and it always tastes better when I travel home and have those things set before me on the dinner table.

Chicken and dumplings isn't something that was prepared on a regular basis while I was growing up, but it is truly a Southern thing so when I saw this Taste of Home recipe I decided to give it a try. There are many, many renditions of C&D's out there and while they are considered comfort food and can sometimes be a little bland, this recipe has a kick ~ the addition of cayenne pepper.

I initially thought I would enjoy these because of the hint of heat, but in the end I'll have to admit that I prefer the true Southern comfort food rendition of these. There was just a tad too much cayenne (probably more so from the addition of it in the stock) to make me feel like I was eating real C&D's.


Chicken and Dumplings
courtesy of Taste of Home

Ingredients
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 bay leaves
5 fresh thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen peas
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
DUMPLINGS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced chives

Directions
In a large saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.

In a Dutch oven, saute carrots and celery in oil and butter until tender. Add minced garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add prepared broth. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

Add peas; return to a boil. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until peas are tender. Stir in chicken and cream; heat through.

For dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine buttermilk and eggs; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto simmering chicken mixture. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a dumpling comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering). Garnish with chives before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

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