Thursday, February 17, 2011

If You Haven't Tried This, You're Missing Out!

Besides having my hair set on hot rollers from the age of 8, one of the things I remember most clearly about my childhood days growing up in Louisiana is the wonderful, incredible, amazing food.  And if you have never been to a Southern-style church supper, you are missing out, my friend!  

I love the power food has to evoke memories and to bring people together to create new memories.  Many an evening, I sat in the Fellowship Hall of Life Tabernacle, the church my dad pastored when I was a little girl, enjoying Miss Mary's chicken and dumplings and the company of friends who became family to us.  One thing I've enjoyed doing is introducing my New England family to some of my favorite Southern fare.  This recipe is one of our favorites, so I wanted to share it with you. 

My parents in the early 80's, when they first moved us to Louisiana to pastor the church. (I bet they hadn't tried chicken & dumplings at the time this photo was taken... Unthinkable!) 
I'd love to read your comments if you try this recipe - or if you have memories of Miss Mary and her incredible cooking!  What are some of YOUR favorite childhood recipes?  I'd love to have you post them in the comments section below. 

"Miss Mary's Louisiana Church Supper Chicken & Dumplings:
Whole Chicken (add water to cover)
Chopped Green Pepper
Chopped Onion
3 Stalks Celery, Chopped
1T salt
(Boil until chicken is done - about an hour)

Meanwhile- Prepare Dumplings:
In a bowl, combine:
1 1/2C flour
dash salt
Cut in:
2T butter
2tsp Crisco
Stir in:
1/4 Cup Ice Water
(Mix together to form dough.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes)

Remove chicken from broth and set aside to debone.
Bring broth to a slow boil. 
Knead dumpling dough on a floured surface.  Roll out thin (like a pie crust).  I use a flexible cutting board to do this on, and then I can take a pizza cutter and roll it across the dough to form 3/4 -1" squares.  
Drop the dumpling squares, a few at a time, into the boiling broth to cook (about 15-20 min)
(I typically make a flour/water mixture, which I add at this point to thicken the broth)
Add the chicken meat (I shred it, but you could cut chunks), and let sit 10 minutes before serving.  

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes in the world!  I hope you all enjoy it!!!  

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