Chicken & Dumplings ~ Cracker Barrel Style

I am a very big fan of good, southern-style cooking. I grew up on that kind of food. It’s good-for-the-heart cooking…but not really every good for the heart. I love making this type of food, and recipes I would classify as southern-style litter my cookbook. However, sometimes you just don’t want to cook these types of dishes and you have to go out in search of them. One of my favorite places to get this delicious southern-style cooking is Cracker Barrel. My favorite meal there is their chicken and dumplings dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, biscuits and a sweet tea. I don’t even have to look at the menu when I go.

Sometimes, though, I get a craving for chicken and dumplings. (This happens when you’re pregnant…the cravings, I mean.) We have 2 Cracker Barrel restaurants within a reasonable distance to us – but neither is really convenient. So, I took to the internet to find a recipe I could make that would be close to Cracker Barrel’s.

I have made, and shared with you, my slow cooker chicken and dumplings recipe. I have a chicken pastry that I make (that I still need to share with you). But this one takes the cake.

Chicken and dumplings, Cracker Barrel style

Now, let me be honest: this recipe sat in my pile of new recipes to try for…a while. I was intimidated by needing to make my own dumplings. But it was EASY! Certainly much easier than I ever expected. It was a little messy, but the result…worth it. So, here goes!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of flour, plus more for coating surfaces
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Chicken stock + water or chicken broth to equal 2 quarts of liquid
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground pepper

How to do it:

  • In a large pot, cook chicken. Once cooked, remove chicken and shred or cut into small pieces. Save the chicken stock to cook dumplings in. 
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender (or your fingers). Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork (or fingers – see a theme?) until the dough forms a ball.
  • Heavily flour a work space (seriously, don’t skimp). You will need a rolling pin and something to cut the dumplings with (like a pizza cutter).
  • Roll the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin. Dip your cutter in flour and cut the dumplings into squares about 2 x 2 inches.
  • Use a spatula (lightly floured so nothing sticks) and put the dumplings into layers on a plate, flouring in between each layer (see another theme?).
  • Add enough water or chicken broth to the pot so that you have about 2 quarts of liquid. Bring liquid to a boil. Drop in dumplings one at a time, stirring as you add then. Don’t shake off excess flour – this will help thicken the liquid. Add the extra flour from the plate to the liquid. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Add shredded chicken and pepper. Stir everything together and you’re ready to eat.
  • (If you decide you don’t want to cook your own chicken, get a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and shred it up. For the liquid, use 2 quarts of chicken broth.)

Doesn’t that sound easy? And, I promise, this will be a recipe added to your collection for use many times! It gets 2 thumbs up from Jon and me, and my parents (born and bred southerners) both agree!

 

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen