Tuesday, March 01, 2011

God's Own Food

Aw'ight, I reckon most ya'll don't know that I'm from Tennessee. My people are East Tennesseans. But hold up, before you picture me in orange, I am not a Volunteer fan.

Now that we've cleared that up, I've gotta tell all ya'll 'bout my dinner. I was full as a tick for about 3 hours after I ate.

Oh my word. Yep, I'm serious.

So, I've always thought of myself as a Southern gal. I wouldn't say Southern Belle... because, honestly, I ain't ever been good at keepin' the rules.

There are a few southern dishes that scream the South to me. One of them is chicken n' dumplin's. I've watched my grandmother make 'em. I've adored my mother-in-law making them. Oh law, I've loved eatin' them so many times. There was this place in Tuscaloosa (near the great University) that served up the biggest helpin' ever. Oh honey, chicken n' dumplin's defines comfort food.

Before Tuesday night, I'd never made them. Oh sure enough, I thought about it. I'd just not done it.

I gotta tell ya'll. I was fixin' to make dinner and my kids were creatin' the biggest ruckus. I was fit to be tied, ya know? Mad as a hornet. I thought about pullin' out the left overs right then and there. But I didn't. It was worth it.

The best part? Hearing my 9 year old say, "I want you to make these again and again."

Noooo... I take that back. The best part was eatin'. It was good. It was real good. God's own food. I'm tellin' ya'll.

Ok, I don't even claim that this is the best chicken n' dumplin's recipe ever. It's just a good one... course, it's good. I got it out of a Southern Living book I checked out of the library. (Thank the Lord, they have a Southern Living book in my Oregon library.)

JA's Chicken and Dumplings
Heck ya dadgum, I just put my name in the recipe title. That's how happy I am.

1 (3 to 4 pound) broiler-fryer
2 quarts water
2 stalks celery, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

Place chicken in a Dutch oven; add water, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken from broth, and cool. Discard celery. (For this, I put my large strainer on top of a large bowl and poured everything in it. That separated the chicken and celery from the broth.) Bone chicken, and cut into bite size pieces (Note to self, the chicken is hot. Next time, give yourself more time.) Set aside chicken and 3/4 cup of the broth. Leave remaining broth in pan. (Or, pour back in pan, like I did.)

Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add 3/4 cup reserved broth, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead.

Pat dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut dough in 4 x 1/2 inch pieces, and sprinkle with additional flour. (I gotta admit, I just cut them as I saw fit- the size I wanted.)

Bring broth to a boil. Drop dough, one piece at a time, into boiling broth, gently stirring after each addition. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chicken,and serve immediately with sweat tea to drink.

Okay ya'll, a few things:
1. I made side dishes. You don't need 'em.
2. I know the steamed broccoli gives me away. I've lived away from the South for over 10 years. Real southern veggies are not steamed.
3. Aw'ight, I don't normally talk like this- not here in Oregon, anyway. Ya'll gotta know, it all comes back to me when I visit family.
4. Dad-freakin-frackin-gumit! I threw those utensils down in the wrong spot for the picture. Dang it. My momma will just die wring my neck when she sees that place setting wrong.

Next up (next Southern dish to make): Banana Pudding.

It's Friday now, and I've decided to link up to Food on Fridays. I made this on Tuesday and I am still thrilled with myself. Silly? Perhaps. (I mean, heck ya dadgum) But, wonderful, too.

Be sure to check out more tasty recipes at Ann Kroeker's "Food on Fridays".


Seth said...

I don't know if it's tears of joy or tears of laughter that's happenin right now. But THANK YOU for writing this like this!

Deciduous Heather said...

YUM, my fave food ever. Grew up eating it. Always was a special occasion. Thank you for the full picture, twang and sayins' as you talked about my fave food. I LOLed all the way thru. It made me miss home!

Salty Mom said...

Love Chicken and dumplings! Those are one of the few Southern foods my mom from Georgia made growing up. Love it!