Memories of Sunday dinners at great-grandmother’s house in the 1950s were brought back by talk of chicken and dumplings, Ruth Carraway said.
“A four-generation horde would gather a couple of times a year to reconnect and enjoy each others company. With so many mouths to feed, chicken and dumplings was an ‘easy’ and inexpensive dish to put on the table,” she said.
“Back then you raised your own fat hens. All a cook had to do was chase down three or four cackling, flapping birds, wring their necks and scald their feathers in preparation for plucking and cleaning them for the stew pot. Mix up a batch of buttermilk biscuit dough, roll it out, cut and add the dumplings to the boiling broth, and, voila ... chicken and dumplings.”
Uh, Ruth, I hate to tell you, but that sounds like a heck of a lot of work!
She shares her recipe, adding she’s made changes over the years to include other vegetables and make it a one-pot meal seasoned to her taste.
RUTH’S CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS STEW
3 large chicken breast halves or one medium to large whole fryer with skin and bones
2 quarts chicken broth with water to cover chicken by about 2 inches
2 chicken boullion cubes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 medium to large onion, diced
4 large celery ribs, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1⁄2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
2 bay leaves
1⁄2 cup butter (optional)
1 14.5-ounce can peas, drained
11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄3 cup solid shortening
11⁄4 cups buttermilk or 1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Wash chicken and place into large pot. Cover with broth and water. Add bouillon, salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain simmer. Cook 45 to 60 minutes until just done.
Remove chicken from pot and cover tightly with foil. To pot, add onion, carrots and celery. Bring to boil and cover. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, until tender. Set off heat to cool somewhat. Remove vegetables from broth, cover and set aside. Discard bay leaves and skim fat from broth.
When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones and discard. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Cover again with foil and set aside.
Place pot of broth over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Add remaining pepper and butter, if using.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut shorteninginto flour until pea-sized pieces form. In smaller bowl, beat egg. Stir in buttermilk or milk. Add flour and mix to a stiff dough. Turn out into a well-floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll out with floured rolling pin to 1⁄2 inch to 3⁄4 inch thickness. With a sharp, floured knife, cut dough lengthwise into strips about 2 inches wide. Cut dough crosswise then to form 2-inch squares.
Separate dough squares as you pick up each dumpling and drop into the boiling broth. Gently press dumplings into broth with wooden spoon if they are above the broth level. Do not stir. Cover and reduce heat to simmer about 10 minutes.
With wooden spoon, gently stir in chicken and cooked vegetables with drained peas. Cover and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes without stirring. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve piping hot.
TIP: You may adjust consistency of broth to your own preference, adding broth as necessary to thin or thickening with a slurry of milk and cornstarch or flour. Keep in mind the longer the dish is on the heat, the more the chicken, vegetables and dumplings will cook up.
Oatmeal is a great addition to many baked goods, giving it a new texture and added moisture, along with a nutty flavor.
Just a Pinch website shared this recipe, which comes from home cook JoLayne Cooper.
11⁄4 cup boiling water
1 cup old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1⁄2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
11⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄2 cups butter
2 cups coconut
1 cup nuts (finely chopped)
11⁄2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
8 to 10 tablespoons evaporated milk
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Pour boiling water over oatmeal and set aside for 20 minutes.
Cream butter and sugars, add eggs. Beat well.
Add vanilla and oatmeal mixture to butter/sugar mixture. Add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix well. Put in greased 9-by-13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
For topping: Melt butter and add coconut, nuts, brown sugar and milk. Mix well. Frost cake when you take it out of the oven, and broil until the topping browns. (Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn.)
Anyone who has watched chef Emeril Lagasse cook on television and found him or herself yelling “Pork fat rules!” needs to learn about this.
The National Pork Board has launched the first social network all about pork.
For anything you need to know about cook pork, including recipes and general conversation, visit PorkBeinspired.com/pork social. Those who join are privvy to recipes such as Simple Vietnamese Pork Noodle Bowl, Ultimate Hawaiian-Style Ribs, Smoky Pork, Bacon and White Bean Chili and Easy Cheesy Pork Chop and Rice Casserole.
When you register, you’ll receive a $1 coupon toward your next pork purchase.
The site also offers a contest called Pork Passion Pursuits. To enter, submit your recipe in one of the following five categories before April 11:
Winner will receive $5,000. That would buy a lot of bacon, which is my favorite way of getting pork.
Meanwhile, here are a couple of examples of recipes available on the site.
EASY CHEESY PORK CHOPS AND RICE
4 bone-in or boneless pork chops, about 3⁄4-inch thick
2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
2 cups frozen vegetable mix, thawed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
Salt and pepper
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for casserole dish
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the rice, vegetables, cheddar, ricotta or cottage cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, sprinkle the Parmesan on top and set aside.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the chops and cook until browned on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Arrange the chops, browned side up, on top of the rice mixture and bake until the rice mixture is hot and the chops are cooked to 145 degrees, about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for three minutes.
Serve the chops over the rice mixture, sprinkled with the parsley, if using.
Yield: 4 servings
SIMPLE VIETNAMESE PORK NOODLE BOWL
1 11⁄4-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices
12 ounces rice noodles*
4 cups prepared slaw mix*
1⁄4 red onion, thinly sliced
41⁄2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
41⁄2 teaspoons fish sauce*
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil or other neutral-flavored oil
1⁄4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Prepare the noodles according to package directions. Arrange the noodles in 6 serving bowls. Top with the slaw mix and onion and set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, in a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth, fish sauce, and soy sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to very low, to keep the broth just below a simmer.
In a very large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork and cook until browned and cooked to 145 degrees, 1 to 2 minutes per side (you may have to do this in batches). Let stand at room temperature for three minutes. Arrange the pork on top of the noodle bowls.
Ladle in the piping-hot broth, garnish with the basil and lime wedges and serve.
*You can find rice noodles and fish sauce in the ethnic or Asian section of most major supermarkets. You can find prepared slaw mix, typically a combination of green cabbage, red cabbage and carrot, in the produce section of most major supermarkets.
Yield: 6 servings
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