This is recipe is for my mother’s version of Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings. My grandmother used flat dumplings. Instead of using drop biscuits, she made regular biscuit dough, rolled it thin and cut it into strips. She dropped these strips into the bowling stew. When the strips were done, she served the stew. By the way, her recipe would have started with: Choose an aging hen that's no longer laying. These are best for stewing. Yikes! I'm going to the grocery...
For the Stew portion of the recipe:
Whole or cut up fryer
2, 32-ounce boxes Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dry sage)
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced carrot
Optional: 1/4 cup frozen green peas
1-1/2 cup all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening or butter
1 cup milk
Optional seasonings: celery seed, pepper, dried sage (to taste)
Making the stew - Place whole fryer or cut up pieces in a Dutch oven or other large stewpot (or crock pot). Add one of the boxes of chicken broth, 1/2 cup of the onion, 1/2 cup celery, garlic, and sage. Bring to a boil, lower temperature to medium or medium low and simmer for approximately an hour or until chicken is tender and pulls away from the bone. (If using a crock pot, stew according to directions, low for 10 hours, medium or high for 5 hours.)
Remove cooked chicken from pot, set aside on a plate to cool completely. Add the other box of broth to the stew liquid, along with the remaining onion and celery, and the carrots. Return to a boil, lower to medium and simmer until vegetables are tender. (If you used a crock pot to cook the chicken, pour the liquid into a large pan to continue the recipe.)
In the meantime, remove cooled chicken meat from bones and skin. Cut meat into bite-sized chunks or strips and add back to the stew pot. Optional: add the frozen green peas at this point. TIP: Be sure you have enough liquid to cover all the solid ingredients completely, otherwise it will turn out dry, since the biscuits soak up some of the juice.
Making the dumplings - Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening or butter. OR––I use cold butter and put the dry ingredients and the butter, cut in chunks, in a food processor. After processing until the butter is incorporated, I put this mixture in a small bowl and add milk all at once. Stir quickly (don’t over stir). If it seems too dry, add more milk. It should be very wet, but not soupy. Optional: If you like a spicier version of these dumplings, add pepper and/or celery seed to the dry ingredients.
When the vegetables are tender, bring the liquid in the stewpot to a full boil. Drop biscuit dough by spoonfuls into the boiling liquid. Distribute evenly. The dropped biscuits will rise and cover the top of the stew. Lower heat to medium once the biscuits have begun to rise. Stir gently, using an iced tea spoon or chopstick to reach between the dumplings and scrape the bottom of the pan (to mix loose dough into the stew -this will thicken the liquid). When the dumplings are no longer doughy, the stew is done. Serve in bowls. Makes enough for 6 servings, depending on the size of the serving.