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VINTAGE RECIPE: My Great Aunt Ellen’s Chicken and Dumplings- MY VERSION!!

TO SEE PART 1, CLICK HERE

My version

After I finished writing the last blog post, I started on the chicken and dumplings.

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The original version omits any thickener for sauce

right away I could tell that 2 tsp baking powder in one cup of flour was WAY too much- also, most recipes call for some form of fat, which I added.

Aunt Ellen used ‘chicken cooking water’ and canned broth. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make my OWN broth.


CHICKEN AND BROTH:

2 packages of boneless skinless chicken breast (3 breasts per package)
a couple stalks of celery, leaves on, broken up in large chunks
a couple unpeeled carrots, broken up into large chunks
UNPEELED onion, cut in quarters.
water to cover
handful of fresh parsley (do not chop)
tablespoon of chicken bouillon

Basically, I just dumped it all in a pot on high- when it reached a full boil, I covered it and let it cook on low for an hour.

After, I plucked chicken breasts out and chopped them into small pieces.

I strained the broth and discarded the solid vegetables.

Then, I measured out about 2 to 2.5 quarts of the broth for the ‘sauce’ later.

isn’t this beautiful?

 

Aunt Ellen’s granddaughter warned me to test out the recipe before totally committing, as her grandmother had different variations of the same recipe floating around. I immediately noticed that the baking powder to flour ration was WAY too high and would have resulted in a very bitter product. I increased the flour to 2 cups and decreased the baking powder to 1 tsp. I also added 1/3 cup of lard (or crisco), as it makes for a more tender dumpling and can be found in most chicken and dumpling recipes online. When I experimented WITHOUT the fat, it didn’t taste as good.

 


DUMPLINGS:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chicken boullion
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 c lard or crisco
1 cup milk

(instructions are underneath photos)

first I rubbed the fat into the dry ingredients until it was kind of mealy

after, I added the milk and just mixed it all up with my hands. Next time I will use my stand mixer- I then made the dough into a smooth ball.

rolled it out- we liked the thicker ones- cut them into squares using pizza cutter

 

dumplings!

 

CHICKEN ‘SAUCE’ (GRAVY):

2 quarts of reserved chicken stock from boiling the chicken breasts
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup flour
stick of butter
salt and pepper to taste
(optional: garlic powder, parsley, etc)

Melt stick of butter in pot over medium-high. Add flour and cook for a minute. Slowly add the cream and milk, a bit at a time, stirring until it becomes a white cream gravy. Add the 2 quarts of chicken stock and adjust seasoning. If you worry about lumps, use a stick blender or whisk while incorporating the broth. Return to a boil, stirring constantly.

When it begins bubbling again, add most of the dumplings and cover. Lower heat to low and cook about 12 minutes. Add rest of dumplings and cook uncovered on medium for about 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on it or it will boil over (like mine did).

Add chopped chicken and cover, set heat down to low, until warmed through.

it boiled over when I turned my back

 VERDICT:

This is definitely a keeper. I have to admit, I’ve never eaten real chicken and dumplings before. The only other exposure to it that I had was Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Pot Pie and the stuff that comes out of a can (yuck). I was truly impressed with the delicate flavor.

I can see why my father loved it so much.

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VINTAGE RECIPE: My Great-Aunt Ellen Renfro’s Chicken and Dumplings

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Aunt Ellen Donoho Renfro and her sisters- she’s the second from left

UPDATE: TO SKIP AHEAD TO MY TWEAKED VERSION OF THE RECIPE, CLICK HERE

Aunt Ellen Renfro was my favorite great aunt. She was just the sweetest woman and best cook in our family.

My grandfather was her baby brother.

My dad is always going on about how wonderful his late Aunt Ellen’s chicken and dumplings were (and her bread and peach cobbler).

She’s been gone now for 29 years, so one would assume the recipes were lost forever- luckily, this week her granddaughter Vanessa was kind enough to send me photos of a few of her them! I am so thankful that she took the time out to scan these for me- I am also a little teary eyed (happily so) about the prospect of attempting these dishes.

Food is love, and memories, and family… this is definitely a tie to our collective pasts.

A bit about Ellen Donoho Renfro here:

http://image2.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=87300176

I have been cross referencing her dumpling recipe with others found on the Internet. It seems like her recipe omits the usual shortening and/or egg that many of the others have. Her sauce looks like a scaled down version of traditional Southern Chicken and Dumplings recipes.

I am going to attempt her ‘chicken sauce’ and dumplings today. I will test a batch of dumplings using her recipe- and make another batch using a dough that contains the usual shortening/egg and compare.

Since her sauce is a tad bland for my taste, right off the bat, I will likely doctor that a bit as well.

Will post the results later today or tomorrow- going off to cook now!

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We Voted In The Michigan Primary #FEELTHEBERN

Voted!! #michiganprimary #feelthebern #vote #rockthevote

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Off to vote in #michiganprimary #feelthebern #vote #rockthevote #berniesanders

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We voted!! #rockthevote #vote #feelthebern #michiganprimary

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Peppa Pig teaches my kid about pregnant rabbits

04d5aaf90000044d-0-image-a-1_1449014686245Yesterday, they aired an episode of Peppa Pig where pregnant Mommy Rabbit talks about having a baby in her tummy.

Maisie was very into the episode.

Me: “Maisie, do you have a baby in YOUR tummy?”

Maisie laughed and laughed when I suggested it-

Daddy: “Maisie, does MOMMY have a baby in HER tummy?”

Maisie laughed again and shook her head ‘no’.

Daddy: “Maisie, where is Mommy’s baby?”

Maisie laughed again and grabbed my boobs.

FOR THE RECORD- I am NOT PREGNANT.