Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cheatin Chicken and Dumplins

One of my all-time favorite childhood meals was chicken and dumplins. (They are dumplins...not dumplings). (Because I said so.  And more importantly, because my GRANNY said so.)  My Memaw and my Granny both made fantastic Chicken and Dumplins.  They made theirs from SCRATCH.  They used whole cut-up fryer chickens and boiled with celery and onion to make the broth...bones and skin included.  They made the dumplin dough from all-purpose flour and salt and baking powder with lard cut in with a pastry dough cutter (though Granny called it a biscuit dough cutter) and then added milk until you had your dumplin dough

(I actually have a biscuit dough cutter) looks like this:
Another view:

(I honestly have always thought it looked like some sort of martial arts weapon.  But the only folks you ever see with one of these are grannies and pastry chefs.  And in reality the blades are quite dull...they just look dangerous.)
At any rate...Memaw and Granny took hours to make their chicken and dumplins. 
When I started making them on my own, I considered what I did "cheating"...I'd get boneless, skinless chicken breasts and boil them...then add cream of chicken soup and maybe a bullion cube to make the soupy part richer.
My dumplins were made with Bisquick...soooo much easier than the from-scratch kind.  I liked them just fine...but Jeff is a pretty indifferent dumplin eater (just not his fave) and Daughter only likes Chicken and Dumplins made by HER Granny Doris (who follows the same sort of laborious process as my Granny and Memaw).  So even with the short-cuts I made, I still rarely went through the trouble since no one else in the house was all that excited about them.
Then the other day, my friend Annette made allusion to having a CROCK POT version of chicken and dumplins.  (What actually happened is she posted on Facebook that her rotten dog...let in for the day from the harsh Alabama winter...had pulled the crock pot into the floor and ruined her planned dinner of chicken and dumplins):

But I immediately latched on to the thought that you could make Chicken and Dumplins in a CROCK POT. What sorcery was this?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that crock pot cooking is my absolute FAVORITE kind of cooking.  I love, love, love coming home from work and....viola!...there's dinner...all ready to go.  Unfortunately, I live with the two pickiest eaters on the planet Earth, so a lot of viable recipes out there are unacceptable to their discerning palates.
Today I asked Annette for her's so simple, I'm a little frightened that it just CAN'T BE THAT EASY.  It's cheating at chicken and dumplins on a whole new scale that I didn't even know existed.
Granny and Memaw would no doubt fan themselves and say, "Awww, Lawdy!  These lazy kids today!"
But since I got it going an hour's starting to smell pretty darn good....
Annette's Cheatin Chicken and Dumplins
4-5 frozen chicken breasts
a stick of butter
a can of cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper
a diced onion
Throw into crockpot and add enough water to cover everything.  Put lid on crock pot and walk away for several hours.
A half hour or so before serving, remove lid and shred chicken with a couple of forks. Get two cans of whomp-em biscuits (the kind you whack on the cabinet edge until they make a whomp sound and pop open) Tear each biscuit into quarters and pop down into the chicken-y stuff in the crock pot.  Let your dumplins cook in there for 30 minutes and serve.
The only question hanging out there for me right it going to be more trouble to get dressed and go to the store to buy my whomp 'em biscuits or to whip up some Bisquick biscuit dough?  It seems like the first time out of the gate, I should stick to Annette's instructions...but on the other hand I really don't want to have to put on a bra.
I'll update later and give my results.
Errmygosh! That was fantastic!  Good ole comfort food at its finest.
I did end up using whomp biscuits...I didn't want to go to the store, but I didn't want to potentially screw the whole thing up by deviating from the precise instructions Annette gave me.
So...I got the vacuum cleaner out.
After vacuuming a couple of rooms, I went into the room where Jeff was at and started vacuuming in there...prompting him to ask, "Is there anything you need me to do?" (I know.  Manipulation via housecleaning...fine, go ahead and judge.)
So he ran over to Winn Dixie and got the biscuits for me. (Really?  I don't feel too guilty, because he doesn't have to put on additional undergarments and he won't run into anyone looking awful with greasy hair because he is bald.)
(Also...he got to eat some of the chicken and dumplins so it's only fair.)
Buy the kind that comes in 4packs of rolls...each roll containing 8 small biscuits.  Don't do the flaky or the buttery or the Grands...just your plain ole refrigerated biscuits.
The important thing is that you make this dish infused with love.  Also...that stick of butter.

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