Old-Fashioned Homemade Dumplings
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 16th 2014 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
Thanksgiving Traditions…and Dumplings
I love hearing what food traditions people have for the approaching Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve known people who don’t really care for turkey – so they have spaghetti instead. I’ve heard about family pitch-ins, dessert only traditions (I openly invited myself to this meal) and even “healthy tofu turkey” traditions, (which brings to mind a particular episode of a famous comedy show that used to run on CBS.) Tradition around my house centers on family, food, thankfulness and did I already say food!? Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays throughout the year filled with family traditions.
One of my favorite traditions involves my Mom, Darla, my Grandma Deloris and I, all making homemade dumplings from scratch. We have been making the family dumplings for years, still using the same six-generation old recipe – which is considered a “top secret recipe”…until now. It’s a very simple recipe that is old fashioned and very memorable for me. Clear off a large area where you can flour and roll out the dough, bring in your children, spouse and friends, and help create a memory with them like my Mom and Grandma Deloris did with me. I was seven when I first started helping with this recipe, and I still get excited when it’s time to make them. This recipe has been a tradition with my family for years – and I hope they soon will be at yours…
Old-Fashioned Homemade Dumplings
These are delicious with chicken and homemade chicken broth, but just as good with chicken broth in a box that you can buy in the grocery store. This recipe is also perfect to make ahead! My family makes these ahead of time and freezes them and it couldn’t be easier. Do all of the steps below, but when you are finished, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, place the cut dumplings on the parchment paper, place another layer of parchment paper on top of the dumplings, and continue stacking. When you have finished layering and stacking, wrap the entire baking sheet, twice, with aluminum foil. Freeze until ready to serve. When ready to serve, take out and use – no need to unthaw. This recipe can also easily be doubled or tripled for large groups.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon lard or shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
¾ cup ice water
4 cups (32 oz.) chicken broth
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup
Cooked and diced chicken (optional – about 3 cups)
Start by adding the 4 cups of chicken broth and 1 can of condensed cream of chicken soup to a large heavy bottom pot and place over medium heat.
Mix together the flour, lard or shortening, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Slowly add the ice water to the mixture, stirring until you have formed a dough. (You may need more or less of the ¾ cup water. You don’t want the dough to be sticky or too firm – the dough will be elastic and pale when it’s perfect).
Flour a large work surface and place the dough in the middle.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about the thickness of a nickel.
Using a floured and sharp knife cut the dough into strips vertically and then again horizontally – making each dumpling about 5 inches long. (Don’t worry about measuring – just eyeball it. It doesn’t have to be perfect).
Once the chicken broth is at a medium boil, add the cooked chicken (optional) and then add the strips of dough one at a time, stirring constantly so they won’t stick together.
Continue stirring gently and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper if desired.