Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Y'all believe me when I tell you how grateful I am that I rarely get sick. For some reason, the latest tummy bug that came around decided to smack me twice in the same week, which I was not appreciating too much, ain't gonna lie.
So yesterday when I was about to starve slap to death but was scared to put anything in my angry tummy, I thought dumplings. Well, being a Southern cook I say dumplin's when I say it out loud, and y'all might as well read it how I say it. And don't be thinking I used an apostrophe to make a plural because I am not that girl. That apostrophe stands for a "g". Just making that clear from the get-go.
But anyway, I thought I'd share how I made these since honest to goodness I think these were my best yet. Probably because I needed them to be not just yummy but also healing so I don't wind up in the you-know-which-room all night. Again.
I started out with two chicken breast halves (I would normally use boneless chicken thighs because the broth is better, but I didn't have any, and had to make do). I simmered the chicken in half a Dutch-oven-sized pot of chicken broth (the generic kind) with some salt, pepper, chopped sweet onion (Vidalias are best, and that's no lie because I used to live near there) along with about 6 cloves of crushed garlic till the chicken was cooked through. I have to add that yes I do mean SIX cloves of garlic because didn't I tell you I needed healing?
Then I chopped up the pieces and returned them to the broth with a whole stick of butter. That's real butter. A whole stick. Just plop it right in there, but don't let it splash up on you or you'll need more healing than my dumplings will provide.
So now you've got this sweet mess of yum-smellin' brothy buttery sweet-oniony chicken dreaminess bubbling on the stove just waiting for the crowning touch. The dumplin's.
And this is the part where you might want to revoke my official Southern cooking license, but stay with me. I promise you will change your mind.
Take a big can of Grands biscuits (y'all know me, I did not use Grands, but if you can't get the Walmart generic ones like I use, you'll have to make do with Grands). And make sure they are the butter ones, with little specks of butter right in there. Yes, in addition to the whole stick of butter--I told you this is Southern cooking so hush.
Now, can y'all just permit me a minute to tell you how much I hate opening canned biscuits? I don't mean I'm a little squeamish. I mean I am sweaty-palms, heart-racing, petrified the whole time I'm peeling the paper off that can, and if I reach the end of the paper and the can is still intact, you can hear my sigh of relief down the street, ain't kidding. If that dadburn can pops while I'm a-peeling, well, I ain't describing the hullabaloo that ensues.
Anyway, back to holding the unpeeled, unpopped can. At that point, it gets fun. I whack that can so hard on the edge of the counter, feeling plum proud of myself for handling it like a pro (because it didn't pop mid-peel and make me squeal like a stuck pig). Once it pops open, you pull the biscuits out one at a time and pinch off teeny tiny little pieces (about dime-sized) and plop them into the simmering broth.
Make sure it's bubbling but not cooking too fast or your dumplin's will stick to the bottom. You'll quickly see why you make the pieces so small, because they swell up like mad and some people don't like giant, doughy dumplin's. Just letting you know that this part takes a while, so if you've got a buddy who can help you pinch, drag 'em over so you don't pass slap out standing there a-pinching all by yourself.
By the time that last biscuit is pinched off into the bubbles, you can just take a spoon and stir the whole mess so the top ones sink down into the broth, then turn the burner off, cover the pot, and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. Pretty much the hardest part. You might want to busy yourself getting a bowl and spoon ready so you don't go stark raving mad while you wait.
And then, enjoy. Feel better. And thank the good Lord for the angels who invented dumplin's, bless their hearts.
Simply Amazing Dumplings (Dumplin's)
2-4 boneless chicken thighs (or a couple of chicken breast halves if you don't have thighs)
6-8 cups chicken broth
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stick butter
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
1 can large Grands-style butter biscuits (with the little butter flecks)