Chicken and dumplings? Chicken and pastry?

Chicken and dumplings? Chicken and pastry?

During the month of February, I will be reflecting on and celebrating Black History Month by cooking from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin.

Anyone else think that the “dumplings” in chicken and dumplings were filled bits of dough? Raises hand. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I had never made chicken and dumplings before. I’m not sure I’d ever eaten chicken and dumplings before.

Mr. uglyducklingbakery tells me that his mother made a variant she called chicken and pastry. My grandmother would have made this as matzo ball soup. And back we go to how foods get shared and varied around the world.

I made some small adaptations to Tipton-Martin’s recipe. We had a pack of boneless chicken thighs that I subbed for whole chicken pieces. I used chopped fennel bulb in place of the celery. And I used vermouth in place of the white wine, because there’s always an open bottle of vermouth in the fridge ready for martinis.

From start to finish, dinner took about 1 1/4 hours, including putting away clean dishes and washing the ones in the sink. More than what I would typically make for a working weeknight, but it would be an ideal dinner for a winter weekend.

I can’t say whether my rolled dumplings were perfect, because I have no reference for comparison. But Mr. uglyducklingbakery said they were “tenderly chewy and succulent.” (really). The recommended 1/4 inch roll may be too thick – other recipes call for 1/8 inch.

While cooking, one critical recommendation seems to be not to lift the pot lid while the dumplings are steaming on the top of the stew. To test for doneness, some suggest using a toothpick like with a cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Someone will have to confirm if that’s a good test for dumpling doneness.

Or I can do it the next time I make chicken and dumplings.



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