The nights cool down so quickly once fall is upon us and even though the days are still sunny and slightly warm the cool breeze from the wind blowing makes the temperatures feel cooler than they are. Nothing makes weather like this more cozy and comfortable than a big pot of hot soup or stew. Add a crusty loaf of bread and you have a meal to warm you from the inside out.
Our family has so many different soups and stews that we enjoy in the Autumn and Winter, we could almost eat a different kind every day. No doubt that chicken noodle soup is a common comfort food especially in the cold and flu season. But, turning that chicken and broth into something even more hearty can really satisfy a family; try making chicken and dumplings. This recipe is a family favorite and is also a family gem as it has been passed down through the ages. It does require a little effort but it is so worth the work you put into it. It makes a lot so you can freeze it or share it with neighbors.
Chicken and Dumplings
For the chicken: Boil until falling from the bone:
1 Whole chicken ( the liver, neck and gizzards removed) in
3 quarts of water and add
salt and pepper to taste along with
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
Once the chicken is done remove it from the broth to cool. De-bone and set aside. ( TIP: to cut the fat from the broth, cook the chicken the day before and put the pot of broth in the refrigerator. When all the fat hardens at the top of the pot, scoop and discard for a low fat broth)
Let the seasoned broth come to a slow boil as you begin to prepare the dumplings.
5 cups all purpose flour mixed with
1 cup all vegetable shortening until crumbly then add
2 cups of very cold water and mix thoroughly. I use my Kitchen-aid mixer but a strong powered hand mixer will make the job as easy. If neither of those are available use a very sturdy spoon or your clean, bare, floured hands to mix into a doughy ball.
Using a floured surface, pinch off a small piece of dough and roll out thin and flat. Cut into 2 inch strips. Drop 3 or 4 strips at a time into the boiling broth and then stir to incorporate. Continue pinching off dough, rolling on a floured surface, cutting into strips and dropping into the broth until all the dough is in the pot.
Stir well and then add the boneless shredded chicken into the pot. Lower the heat to warm or the lowest heat setting on your stove and let cook for about one hour so all the flavors incorporate together.
Add 1 cup of milk to the thickened stew to add to the creaminess and serve.