Friday, October 9, 2009

Comfort Food - Chicken and Dumplings

It's cold, damp and rainy here in northern Illinois. I've been dealing with a couple days of minor drama. Nothing earth shaking but annoying nonetheless.

In addition, my sewing machine Beverly got a flat tire (broken belt) and I've been chasing around for a replacement.

I was about an hour away at a sewing machine repair place when I remembered there was a Cracker Barrel restaurant nearby. I was craving some comfort food and not wanting to engage in the work involved in creating such a dish. Darn it, I just wanted to feel warm and fuzzy without having to bust a sweat.

Here's the object my affection.

Chicken and dumplings. I love either type of dumplings but these are the rolled kind. I could even do without the pieces of chicken. Just the warm saucy goodness and the dumplings would have suited me fine.

Look at the green beans. Thanks heavens I don't have to drive south of the Mason Dixon to find some beans cooked and seasoned to perfection. Gotta love salt pork and lots of coarse ground black pepper.

I opted for the cole slaw although I'm mad about the has brown casserole. I was afraid of sending myself into starch overload, what with the biscuits sitting just out of camera range.

I know you're all drooling. If you're not, we need to check your pulse.

Just in case you feel like bustin' a sweat and making some for yourself, I'll give you my recipe. I use boneless chicken breasts and thighs because I hate the task of deboning chicken after it's been cooked. Since the bones and skin are not included in the stock pot we need to beef up the liquid with some broth.


2 1/2 lbs. of fresh boneless chicken breasts and thighs
water or chicken stock
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
poultry seasoning
salt and pepper
1 ½ c. flour
1 ½ c. chicken stock
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 stick butter

First cook the chicken by placing it in a Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion, diced carrot and celery, cover with chicken broth, bring to a boil, then simmer until done. Remove chicken and reserve stock. You're going to need about 5 cups of stock so add some water if necessary. Add 1 TBSP. butter to the stock. This will keep the dumplings from sticking together.

Mix the dumplings:
When stock has cooled to room temperature, mix flour, salt, baking powder and a pinch of poultry seasoning. Add room temperature stock a little at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon. These are dumplings, not noodles so you want the dough to be a little bit sticky.. You want the dough sticky, not a dry ball. The reason it's impossible to give an accurate measurement of stock to flour is that it's dependent several things including the humidity in your kitchen.

Flour your counter, and turn the dough out onto the counter. Generously flour the top of the dough and let it rest on the counter for fifteen minutes or so. With a very light touch, without using pressure, roll the dough out with a pin until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick. Let it rest for about thirty minutes, then cut it into strips about 1-1/2 inches wide and 3 inches long OR triangle, squares or whatever shape pleases you.

Add a pinch of poultry seasoning and butter to stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Add dumplings a few at at a time, and use a spoon to gently separate them and dunk them under the stock. Add more. The flour on the dumplings will thicken the stock as it cooks. Repeat this process till all the dumplings have been added, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Simmer very gently. Don't boil and don't stir or the light dumplings will turn to mush.

Slice the chicken into bite size pieces and serve with the dumplings and thickened sauce.



chocolatechic said...

Oh...I heart chicken and dumplings.

StitchinByTheLake said...

My husband would be so thrilled if I could make chicken and dumplings like Cracker Barrel. I'll be trying your recipe. blessings, marlene

Thirkellgirl said...

I haven't eaten at a Cracker Barrel (or Snacker Apparel, as we call them on looong road trips) since our trip to pick up dear daughter in Wisconsin. Rockford, IL, was the last time. :) They really do have the best green beans. And hash brown casserole. And pecan pancakes. And gravy... Yum! (As a Yankee I've never seen the appeal of dumplings but I respect your right to make them)

Steph said...

My favorite thing to get at Cracker Barrel are their chicken and dumplings and their fried apples! Mmmm! I have a recipe book with the Cracker Barrel fried apples in it, did you know they had bacon grease in them? I would've never guessed that!

Vee said...

Perfect timing! I have a cooked chicken just waiting to be used up. I was going to re-serve as leftovers, but this sounds ever so much better.

Hope that the drama subsides and that all is resolved. I know all too well how much drama affects us in the negative. I'm thinking comfort food is a good way to deal...I mean one could make so many other choices. Jumping off a bridge comes to mind.

Hugs to you...hope to be able to return again soon.

Leslie T. said...

Oh my goodness. My stomach is growling. I sure hope that your tummy did the happy dance. :)

Cottage Rose said...

Hi Suzanne;;; I an sorry to hear that your are having a off day... But Crackle Barrel does the trick... I love to eat there,,, and the bonus is all the shopping you can do before you eat...... lol hope your day gets better....


Mary Rex said...

Here in the PA Dutch country this recipe is known as Chicken Pot Pie. My mom's recipe is almost identical to yours, and we love it. She always places a small bowl of finely chopped onion on the table to use as a condiment. We usually have homemade applesauce and peas along with it.

Mary said...

I have never eaten their chicken and dumplings. I can never get past ordering their grilled cheese and bacon on sourdough bread. And if I am feeling particularly like having my arteries clog.. add some vidalia onion rings.

Man I'm sorry the Cracker Barrel in Elgin closed.

LDF said...

Mmm mmm mmmmm!!!!!! Chicken 'n dumplins ... good for the soul!!!

horse loving lineman's wife said...

Yum yum. Can't wait to try the receipe!

Vee said...

Just so you'll know, my family and I enjoyed a wonderful supper of chicken and dumplings following your recipe. It came out beautifully and was very delicious and filling. The only thing I didn't do was roll or cut the dumplings. I just dropped them, well-floured, into the stock. Easy and I'm so lazy. They reminded John of a time when his grandmother made dumplings away back in 1954. He loved them then and he really liked them today, too.

lifeinredshoes said...

Glad you are alright! We ate there last weekend, I had the catfish.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Yum. I wonder when Cracker Barrel will install couches for customers to nap on. After a meal like that I'd be in a dumpling-induced coma...naps are pretty yummy too come to think of it!

Leafwoman said...

Thank you for the recipe! We were gonna have fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy for dinner, but this will be better.
Thank you for a very interesting blog.

Farmchick said...

Love those chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel.

Anonymous said...


The nearest Cracker Barrel to us is about 400 miles away.

We love Cracker Barrel.

My favorite thing there, though, is the fried okra (dipped in ranch dressing, of course!). But I love pretty much everything else there, too... especially that hashed brown casserole! YUMMY!

Only 19 more days until I get to eat again... Wish we had a Cracker Barrel to go to to celebrate!

Trish said...

Oh this sounds good...but what is a brown casserole?

Lisa said...

A childhood favorite, hands down. My grandmother could make the best in the world. I am not able to make them like she can, but they're pretty least good enough to curb the craving :)

Bloggers Abode said...

That Cole Slaw looks so yummy!!!!