I love chicken and dumplings, but I’m afraid of them. I’ve never made them before because I’m afraid of whole chickens and making dumplings.
My Principal Who Cooks blog is a way for me to explore my passion for cooking while overcoming my fears. Isn’t that what life is about? Overcoming our fears, trying news things, taking risks, challenging ourselves, learning, and growing?
What I find amusing is what is the worst thing that can happen if my chicken and dumplings attempt goes awry? I throw it out and try again? I wanted to push beyond what was blocking me.
Kip and I love watching Top Chef on Bravo TV. This season they are in Charleston, South Carolina, exploring southern cooking. Last week’s episode focused on the cooking style of Edna Lewis, a legendary pioneering Southern chef and one of the first African American celebrity chefs. I’m sorry to say I hadn’t heard of her until that show but I was inspired to purchase her cookbook and make her chicken and dumplings.
I bought a whole chicken. Now, many of you have probably done this before, but I never have. I buy a lot of deli roasted chickens to use in various recipes and I buy chicken pieces, but today I bought a whole chicken. One advantage to buying a whole chicken is the cost. A whole chicken cut into pieces was $20, my whole chicken was $8.
Next, I Googled “cutting a whole chicken” and Martha Stewart walked me through the steps. Not bad for my first attempt. Here are the before and after photos.
After cutting the chicken, the rest of the steps were easy. Cook chicken in butter with onions, cover with broth, add celery and pepper, and simmer for two hours. The dumplings were easy to make, too. Instead of rolling the dough and cutting out dumplings, I just rolled balls of dough and flattened them in my palm.
After removing the chicken and straining the liquid to remove the onions, celery, and drippings, I dropped the dumplings into the broth to cook for twenty minutes.
While the dumplings cooked, I made Edna’s Glazed Carrots which were easy to prepare. All I needed were carrots, butter, cold water, salt, and sugar.
Kip said the chicken and dumplings and glazed carrots were delicious. He said they were the best dumplings he’s ever had, and he’s dumpling picky.
Thank you, Edna Lewis, for your life’s work, recipes, and inspiration. I will be using her cookbook a lot in the future. And, I’m no longer afraid of a whole chicken or chicken and dumplings!