While away on vacation a few weeks ago in Cedar Bluff, Alabama, I made a large batch of my family’s favorite cold weather stew, chicken and dumplings. Although, this time, because I was on vacation, I knew I didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen, plucking and boiling a chicken while everyone else was out enjoying the beautiful fall weather, so I cheated just a bit, well . . . a LOT, and pulled out an old sneaky recipe that would make Southern Grandmothers everywhere have a hissy fit.
This Cheater Chicken and Dumplings is so easy, it involves the lowest form of culinary skills . . . opening cans. (gasp!) My two boys can’t get enough of Chicken and Dumplings, and if they can tell the difference between this and the real, made-from-scratch version, they haven’t let on.
The amounts are all variable and can be adjusted, but basically, you bring to a boil chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, canned chicken, chopped carrots, celery with poultry seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Then add . . .
The best kept secret of the South, store-bought dumplings. Yikes! I know! Mary B’s is a great brand you can find in the frozen food section at most stores around here. I got mine at Piggly Wiggly, but if your store doesn’t carry them, the other secret to use is canned biscuits separated into thinner layers and cut into quarters. Drop them into the hot, bubbling broth, and stir to keep from sticking to the pan. When the dumplings start to float and are soft, you’re done!
** I looked up Mary B’s to find their link so you could see their web site, and I had no idea they are headquartered just an hour away in Pensacola – where I grew up! No wonder I love them!
Mouth watering chicken and dumplings everyone will think it took all day to cook.
If you want the real-deal melt in your mouth Southern Chicken and Dumplings look at THIS recipe from Mary at Deep Dish South. Her version is a lot like my Grandmother made, thick enough to serve on a plate, not in a bowl.
But for my cheater version, follow the steps I outlined above and depending on how soupy or thick you want it, adjust the quantities of ingredients here:
For my camping away-from-home (very large) version I used . . .
1 – 32 oz box of Chicken Broth, low sodium
2 – 26 oz cans Cream of Chicken soup
4 large cans of pre-cooked chicken (or use a rotisserie chicken)
2 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
Mary B’s frozen dumplings, broken into small bite size pieces (I only used about a fourth of the package)
1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
*if I had thought to bring an onion with me, I would have thrown that in as well.
Combine ingredients, add dumplings to boiling mixture and wait until they float to the top, reduce to simmer and cook until dumplings are tender.
Hide all the cans, dab a little flour on your cheek, and no one will be the wiser.
*This made a huge amount for four adults, including two growing teenage boys, and we still had leftovers for the next day.
Now do tell . . . do you make your chicken and dumplings from scratch?