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The Recipe Vault #6: Chicken and Dumplings


For those who haven’t seen the earlier installments in this series, it’s all about an enormous collection of my mom’s recipes, which made its way to me after her death, many years ago now. This collection, mostly hand-written, has been sitting on some shelves waiting for someone to come along and do something with them.  I think Mom enjoyed collecting recipes as much as she enjoyed cooking them, and she had hoped to one day assemble them into a massive cookbook.

Chicken and dumplings is comfort food with a capital C in my mind. The recipe looks like it should be very tasty, although I’m going to change a few several things when I make some for dinner tonight. The recipe calls for 1 chicken cut in pieces. I think back in the day, starting with a whole chicken was the normal way to go. Today, I’m more likely to buy a package of 4 chicken thighs rather than use a whole chicken (and that’s exactly what I did, on the way home from tai chi class). I am going to use thighs with the bone in, although I’m sure you could add pretty much any chicken and this would be a delicious meal. One of the reasons I won’t use a whole chicken is that Tuffy P doesn’t eat poultry so I’ll be making chicken and dumplings for just me, enough for perhaps a dinner and a couple lunches. No need to go overboard.

Shortening? I don’t normally use shortening, so I’ll substitute a wee bit of vegetable oil. Also, I think potatoes are not really necessary if you’re going to have dumplings, are they? I suppose they would thicken things up a bit, but if I dredge my chicken in a bit of flour before frying, that should work too. Instead, I’ll use some shiitake mushrooms because I love shiitakes with chicken. I’ll also check out the depths of the fridge and see what veggies are hiding in there and use up some of those. Some carrots would be good. Maybe some frozen peas. Chopped up celery too. I also have a couple jalapenos in the kitchen so I’ll chop one up and add it in with the onions and other veggies. I have some home-made veggie stock in the freezer so I’ll include it instead of just water.

Looking through the recipe, I see Mom only used salt and pepper for seasoning. That’s ok but I likely won’t be able to resist a clove of garlic and maybe (ok, definitely) some herbs de Provence to add aroma and body. It’s looking like I’m going to change a lot from the original recipe for my own dinner, but I’ll likely keep the dumplings exactly as described.  Of course I’ve never been too good at exactly following recipes anyway.

Dumplings are the great extender, aren’t they? They’re also delicious. I think most cultures have some kind of dumplings and they’re all good, whether they’re steamed or boiled or served in soup of stew or fried up like pot-stickers, or boiled and fried they way a lot of people make pierogies. Looking forward to dinner.


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