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Monday, April 11, 2011

Homemade Dumplings

I almost posted the name of this recipe as Chicken and Dumplings but we also like to have garden pea dumplings.  I'll explain.  I had never heard of garden pea dumplings and certainly had no idea how to make dumplings when I married Phillip.  My mother-in-law always cooked chicken and dumplings at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  When one of us was sick, she would surprise us with a pot of chicken and dumplings and you know it was just what we needed to make us feel better.  As a change, she would make a pot of garden pea dumplings using a can of Lesueur sweet peas with the addition of water for the broth to cook the dumplings in.  When you have someone who makes the meals that you love and you don't see how the meal was put together, you have no idea how it was accomplished or how much work was involved in the preparation.  I was so fortunate that I helped my mother-in-law for a couple of years to prepare her dumplings and dressing for the family Thanksgiving and Christmas meals as her health begin to fail.  Otherwise, I would just have a recipe and would not have had the experience of preparing it with her sitting right next to me giving step by step instructions.  Another experience.  I made dumplings this past weekend and put them in the freezer with the plan of having them for our Easter meal in a few weeks.

                                                             Homemade Dumplings

5 1/2 cups Martha White self-rising flour
2 cups of water
1 Tbsp. salt

Sift flour into a large deep bowl.  Add water and salt.  Use your hands to mix together.  You want the dough to be smooth and not sticky.  You may have to sprinkle a little more flour on the dough to get the consistency that you want.

I spread a cup or two of flour on my granite island.  I place the dough in the middle of the island and use my hands to flatten the dough.  I flour my rolling pin and then use the rolling pin to smooth out the dough in all directions as thin as possible.  You are now ready to cut the dough into dumplings.

I cover the surface of my jellyroll pan with Press'N Seal. 

I cut long strips from top to bottom.  I then cut long strips from side to side.  The cut dumplings are now ready to go on the jellyroll pan.  I do a single layer and then tear off another piece of Press'N Seal.  I continue this process until all dumplings are on the jellyroll pan.  I securely cover the top of the pan and place the dumplings into the freezer.  They will keep until I am ready to cook them.  I usually have 3 layers and each layer is one cooking for us.  If we have company, I will cook more. 

To Cook:  If you want chicken and dumplings, cook chicken breasts with the skin on for a richer flavor.  Add 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of black pepper.  Cook chicken for an hour.  Remove chicken from broth.  Remove skin and discard.  Tear chicken apart and return to chicken broth.  Add one can of Cream of Chicken Soup.  Bring chicken broth to a boil.  Add a layer of frozen dumplings.  Do not stir.  Cook dumplings for 5 min.   Gently move dumplings around with a wooden spoon during the cooking process.  

For garden pea dumpings, make your broth with a 15 oz. can of Lesueur sweet peas and the addition of 4 more canfuls of water.  Add 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, and 1 Tbsp. corn oil.  Bring broth to a boil.  Add a layer of frozen dumplings.  Do not stir.  Cook dumplings for 5 min.  Gently move dumplings around with a wooden spoon during the cooking process. 

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