Chicken and Dumplings is a southern tradition. Chicken and Dumplings lovers are divided into two camps: flat dumplings or round dumplings. One of my grandmothers was a flat dumpling person. She mixed them up, rolled them out flat, and cut them up into strips. My other grandmother made the round dumplings- she mixed up a basic biscuit dough, rolled it into balls, and dropped them into the broth. I confess, I am more of a round dumpling person (sorry, Granny). However, I have found a short cut in to form of canned biscuits. Would my grandmothers gasp in horror if they were alive today? Most likely not. They'd probably cheer me on for finding a way to save time while still serving up a great dish. So.. here goes:
If you happen to have a fresh, whole chicken lying around, well, good for you, sister! Get that baby into a pot! If you are like the rest of us (rummaging through the freezer thinking, "I know I had some chicken in here somewhere..." well go see what you've got. I had some frozen chicken breasts. Works for me. The fact is, our grandmothers learned to make use of all they had and waste nothing. If they didn't have a whole chicken did they give up? Heck no! Got some chicken? Go get it...
Put the chicken in a pot and cover with a good bit of water. (That's right, I said "good bit". Unless I am trying a new, difficult recipe, I rarely measure things.) I filled the pot enough to cover the chicken by a good 2 1/2 inches. My chicken was frozen, so that takes longer to cook than fresh chicken. I turned the heat to medium high and added 1 medium onion:
2 ribs of finely sliced celery:
I topped this with 1/2 stick of REAL butter, sliced:
When the chicken begins boiling away nicely I also add about 1 tsp. poultry seasoning, a chicken bouillon cube, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. (You can always adjust them later.) Some people add a bay leaf- it's really up to your personal taste. I don't usually add a bay leaf.
While the chicken cools, take 2 rolls of canned biscuits from the fridge. (Use the small "cheap" kind for this- the big, fat ones don't work well at all.) Quarter each biscuit and place it ON TOP of the broth in the pan. IMPORTANT: NEVER (ever) stir the broth once the dumplings are added!! If you do, they will sink to the bottom, stick there, and burn. Cover the dumplings with the chicken pieces. The chicken presses the dumplings just underneath the broth, where they will cook, but not sink enough to scorch. on the bottom. Cover and simmer until the dumplings are cooked all the way through. Once they are done and you turn off the heat, you can stir it a little.
The final dish: