Chicken and Dumplings, Southern Style

This recipe is taken from watching my Grandmother making this for Sunday Dinner practically anytime we would visit. I never tired of it then and when I make it now, it always brings back fond memories of those Sundays visiting my grandparent’s home in Jacksonville, Florida.

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ dice
3 shallots or 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into ¼ dice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 pounds chicken pieces, washed and dried
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
3 thyme branches, fresh
2 rosemary branches, fresh
1 small sage branch, fresh
3 quarts of water
2- 2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus enough to flour the board
2 teaspoons salt

Heat olive oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven or French cocotte. Sprinkle chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the oil is shimmering, brown the chicken (skin side down first) in batches being careful not to crowd the pan. Give the chicken a chance to turn a deep golden brown before turning it over to brown the other side.

Transfer the chicken to a plate after it is browned. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Add and sweat the carrots. Stir in the shallots (or onions) and cook about 3 minutes, scraping the bottom as you stir. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary branches.

Deglaze the pot with about 2 cups of water, scraping up any brown bits. Return the chicken to the pot and cover with remaining water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.

Remove the chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and set aside. Strain the stock and return it to the pot.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and 2 cups of stock. Stir to combine. Add more flour as needed to make soft dough. Dump out the dough and knead just to bring it together. Divide dough in half and roll each half out on a lightly floured work surface to about a 1/8 inch. Use a bench knife or an off-set spatula underneath the dough to keep it from sticking.

With a butter knife, cut the dough into long strips. Lift the dough off the rolling surface and pull each strip into about 3” strips, dropping each one into the pot of simmering chicken stock. Simmer dumplings about 20 minutes. Add chicken back to pot to reheat. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

Enjoy this hearty, family favorite with a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon or Voigner.

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