Chicken & Dumplings

I first heard about Biscuit Love in the current edition of Garden & Gun magazine.  Owned and operated by husband and wife Karl and Sarah Worley in Nashville, this food truck operation turned restaurant serves locally sourced from scratch food.  After hearing descriptions of the dishes (seriously, just look at that menu online!) I’m ready for a road trip specifically to dine there!
You may think that I’m joking but my family takes food very seriously.  We drove 7 hours to Townsend, TN just to eat at Smokin’ Joe’s Bar-B-Que. Okay, so yeah, we may have also visited Cade’s Cove and Clingman’s Dome while we were there but the entire premise of that trip was the BBQ.

After processing our first batch of chickens, I knew the first dish I wanted to make was chicken and dumplings.  My family already has a killer recipe for the creamiest slow cooked chicken and dumplings you’ll ever taste in your entire life, but I’m kind of obsessed with Ronni Lundy’s cookbook Victuals so I had to take a peek at her recipe!

Coincidentally, the recipe in her book is from none other than Biscuit Love’s Karl Worley.  When something so coincidental happens, I feel like it’s meant to be and so I set out to have a little of Karl Worley’s cooking in my kitchen rather than road tripping several hours with a toddler because I’m adventurous but not completely insane (…yet).

Karl’s recipe gives directions on roasting a whole chicken and making your own chicken stock from the reserved bones.  While I did this since I had a freshly processed chicken available, let’s operate under the assumption you’re coming home from work and want this dinner on your table like, now.  If that’s the case, ain’t nobody got time for roasting a chicken and making your chicken stock.  So let’s just say we go to the local grocery store deli and pick up a nice rotisserie chicken for around $7.00 and call it a day.

 

We’ll start this recipe by making the sauce:

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Mix up your butter and oil in the skillet and add carrots, garlic, and bay leaves once melted.  You’ll cook it until the vegetables are soft.  Next we’ll add in flour, continuously stirring to really coat the vegetables and remove starchy flavor.

We’ll pour in our chicken stock a cup at a time, stirring well.

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(I had to take a photo of my chicken stock.  This is from my first canned batch and I’m so proud of it.)

We’ll reduce the heat and let it simmer until it thickens up (about 15 minutes).  We’ll stir in our heavy cream last and set this pot aside.

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Next up is our dumpling dough (my favorite part!):

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In a large bowl, we sift our flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper.  Use your fingers to work in the lard (or bacon fat) until your mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the cream until the dough just comes together.  It should be thick and stick well to your spoon.

Next we’re going to divide our sauce and shredded chickens equally between two wide pots and bring them both to a simmer.  Drop spoonfuls of dumpling dough into the pots and be sure to leave plenty of room for them to expand so they don’t end up sticking together.

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Reduce your heat to medium low and cover while the dumplings poach for about 10 minutes.  You’ll want them firmed up but fluffy.

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Karl Worley’s Roasted Chicken & Dumplings (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (roasted at 375 degrees on rack in a roasting pan for an hour then shredded once cool OR a precooked rotisserie chicken from your grocery store, shredded)

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken stock (from the grocery store is perfectly acceptable but I’ll be posting a super easy recipe to make your own soon!)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt

Heat a wide pot over medium heat.  Add butter and oil.  Once butter is melted, add carrot, garlic, and bay leaves.  Cook until soft.  Stir in flour to coat vegetables; keep mixing for a couple minutes to remove starchy flavor.  Slowly pour in chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well.  Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened up, about 15 minutes.  Stir in heavy cream and salt to taste then set pot aside while you make the dumpling dough.

For the dumpling dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lard (or bacon fat if you happen to keep yours)
  • 2/3 to 1 1/3 cups heavy cream

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper.  Using your fingers, work lard (or bacon fat) into dough until crumbly.  Stir in heavy cream slowly until the dough comes together.  Dough will be thick, sticking to your spoon.

Directions:

  1. Follow instructions to roast your bird or shred your rotisserie chicken.
  2. Make your sauce.
  3. Make your dumpling dough.
  4. Divide sauce and shredded chicken between two pots.
  5. Bring pots to a simmer.
  6. Add dumpling dough by the spoonful to each pot, making sure they are not crowded.
  7. Cook at medium-low heat, covered, for about 10 minutes, until dumplings are firm and fluffy.
  8. Serve immediately.

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