About once a week or so, usually on a Saturday or Sunday, I like to take the time to do some real down-home cooking. I’m talkin’ from-scratch home cooking that takes some extra time and effort. This past Sunday it was a batch of these Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings.
And sure, I sometimes make a quicker version for a weeknight meal, but here I’m giving you the real deal method I use to make chicken and dumplings – starting with a whole chicken and some all-purpose flour and ending up with a pot of chicken stew and fluffy dumplings. And for this recipe, we’re making the fluffy biscuit-like kind of dumplings, not the noodle-like type (although you can look for that recipe sometime in a future post). The dumplings also have a little bit of cornmeal added in so that they puff up in the broth but still retain a bit of substance and texture.
The trick to making a pot of old-fashioned chicken and dumplings as delicious as grandma used to make is to start with a whole chicken and simmer it slowly until it is fall-apart tender. And in this process, you’ll also end up with the rich broth that will be the base for your soup (or is it a stew?). Simmer the chicken in a big, heavy pot on the stovetop, or, if you aren’t pressed for time, use your slow cooker. And if you want to make things a little easier, go ahead and cook the chicken a day or two ahead, then remove the meat and refrigerate both the meat and the broth until the day of your meal.
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