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Chicken & Dumplings
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Place chickens in large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until chickens are tender. Remove chickens from pan and set aside. Remove backbones. Add chopped carrot, celery and onion and simmer 30 minutes. Add chicken stock base and remove from heat. Strain and reserve stock. Melt butter and stir in 1 cup flour until smooth. Add to straine reserved chicken stock. Simmer 5 minutes. Add sherry and lemon juice, salt to taste and, if desired, food color. For dumplings, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt in mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in milk until just blended. Place about 1/2 inch water in saucepan with wire rack that comes 2 to 3 inches above water line. Cover rack with lightly oiled waxed paper, oiled side up. With water gently simmering, drop dumplings by tablespoons onto waxed paper, leaving room in between for expansion. Steam 8 minutes, uncovered, then cover and steam 7 minutes longer. Meanwhile, remove skin from cooked chickens and bone, if desired. Cut in large pieces. Place chicken pieces in casserole. Arrange dumplings on chicken. Cover with sauce and sprinkle with peas for color.
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