"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

chicken and dumplings



Grandma Merriott's Chicken and Dumplings

Grandma Merriott lived a long life. She reared four kids by herself. They were very poor. At one time, they lived in a chicken house (those of us who have raised chickens can only shudder). Some summers she had to go west to California and pick produce as a migrant worker. Supposedly the soil in Arkansas where she lived was so poor and full of rocks, it was a miracle she could even feed her family. When her garden had produced enough, she would take her baskets full of produce and along with her children , walk miles to a cannery where her vegetables would be canned for her. Her family would wait outside in the hot summer heat all day under a shade tree then carry their jars back home. I once asked her why she didn't just can her own produce and she said she couldn't afford the jars.

Because of her lean times, she became very thrifty. She saved tin foil, pieces of thread, bread bags, made rubber band balls, etc. She drank powdered milk and had a cup of hot water in the morning instead of coffee. Up until the age of 89, she still tended a huge garden until she was finally too bent to stand. Did I tell you Grandma Merriott was a good cook? She cooked most of her life on a wood cookstove. I've heard she could make sausage that didn't have a scrap of meat in it and yet it tasted like the real thing. I'm putting Grandma Merriott's recipe for chicken and dumplings out there - I've never had any better. Of course our eyes would pop when we saw the backs and necks floating in it, but her broth was rich and sumptuous. Add the stewed chicken and dumplings, and it is to die for.

She's gone now but her recipes live on. Bless Grandma Merriott wherever she is.


Chicken and Dumplings

Cook chicken pieces in 2 quarts water. Add 1/2 stick (she called it a knob) of butter and 1 small can evaporated milk. Salt and pepper to taste. (I also add 1-2 tbs. of chicken bouillion, but be careful adding any more salt).

Dumplings

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 slightly beaten egg

3/4 c. water

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

Add enough flour to make a stiff dough (start with 2 cups, then another...). Roll out dough on heavily floured board to about 1/16th in. thick (they need to be thin). Slice into strips about 1" x 3" and add to boiling mixture. The flour from the dumplings will thicken the broth but if you want it thicker add a tbs. or so of cornstarch to 1/4c. water to make a slurry and add to broth. It will only take a minute to thicken.

To get my kids to eat some vegetables, I always added carrot pennies, corn and peas, but Grandma Merriott's dumplings never had anything in it but chicken and dumplings. Also, you can use deboned chicken pieces, but the bones add flavor so cut your own up then pull it from the bones. Also, make sure and use evaporated milk instead of regular milk because it makes the broth so much richer.

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