What I’ve always loved about cooking is how it can connect generations of family. Though many of my ancestors’ recipes have been around since before my time and were created by people I never had the pleasure of meeting, reading their words and cooking their dishes makes me feel as though I know them.
This recipe is a slight twist on my great-grandma’s chicken and dumplings. I took her classic dish, turned it into a soup and prepared it in a slow cooker. Cooking it in a slow cooker makes the chicken beautifully moist. Even better, you can drop the chicken in the pot, cover it with water, and ignore it for a few hours while you go about your business – perfect for anyone as busy as I am!
Although I tweaked my great-grandmother’s recipe slightly my mom still claimed it tasted and made the house smell, “just like I remember.” Be sure to use your farmer owned ingredients to make this delicious soup and share a bowl with someone you love.
For the Soup:
1, 3-4 pound chicken
1 gallon of water
3 large carrots
5 stalks of celery
1 medium yellow onion
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup of parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
For the Dumplings:
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 egg, whisked
4 to 5 tablespoons of milk
Remove any innards or stray quills from chicken. Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with water. Turn the slow cooker on high and cook the chicken for 2 hours.
Chop the carrot, and celery into a small dice. Thinly slice the onion. After the chicken has cooked for 2 hours, add the vegetables and bay leaf.
Cook for another 2 hours until the vegetables start to soften and the chicken is cooked through.
Once the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F, remove it from the broth. Let it cool slightly, just enough so you can handle it. Pick the chicken meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot and discard the bones. At this point taste the broth for seasoning. Add as much salt and pepper as desired.
While the meat comes back to temperature, make the dumplings.
Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and egg together in a small bowl. Add the milk slowly, while stirring. The batter should come together but still seem very wet and soft. At this point my great-grandmother would just drop tablespoons of dumpling batter into the hot liquid.
I decided to flour a board and a rolling pin, roll the batter out and cut it into 1-inch squares. Either way works.
Add the dumpling squares to the hot liquid and cook 10 – 15 minutes. The soup is ready when the vegetables are tender and the dumplings are cooked through. When they are ready, they will have puffed up and floated to the top of the slow cooker. If you taste one and it still has a raw flour taste to it, let the dumplings cook for another 5 minutes.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls and enjoy!