Chicken & YUMplins

31 03 2010

For as long as I’ve been an adult people have always assumed and asked if  I’m from the south. I am from south of L.A. and South of California, but  I’m not from any region of the “South” as in confederacy or N’ahlin’s or hard hearted Hannah the vamp from Savannah.

A little Ella for ya

One time, while on some tour, I was in Northern Florida and a  guy asked me where I  was from and I said “L.A.” and he said in the most hickish southern accent you can possibly think of “Lower Alabama?”. Um  no and who ever knew Florida was apart of the south and while we’re on the subject why is  Virginia considered the south? It’s pretty far north, but if you’ve ever been there you don’t doubt you’re in the south. Once when I was in West Virginia we got to town (before internet) and called a local  bar to ask if they knew of any “happy” bars in town. After explaining  what “happy” meant the lady at the bar said on the phone in the most hickish deep in the hills missing tooth kind  of voice “I don’t know of any butt fuckin’ bars in town and if I did I wouldn’t tell any faggots  where they were” click. Welcome to WEST Virginia NOT for Lovers.

I do love the south, don’t get me wrong and I have several things to be thankful for in the south. One being Paula Deen, who will realize one day she wants to adopt me. Isn’t she cute!

Another thing I’m thankful for is The Waffle House where I learned to love grits and kitchens where I could actually watch them add a pound of butter to my food. Thank  you Waffle House for all of your after show meals & your drunken nights.

In Jackson, Mississippi I was surprised to find a  Gay & Lesbian Bank!!! G&L Bank AND they had an ATM!! We don’t even have one in West Hollywood! Don’t ask what I was wearing…it was 1998.

I guess my taste for food has always veered the southern way as well. I’m a huge fan of soul food,  southern,  creole,  fried anything and butter rolled in cheese dipped in batter fried and slathered with mayo. Another time on tour I was so excited when our bus driver’s Mom was going to host the whole cast at her southern home for a real home cooked southern meal. All 50 of us got there and the whole neighborhood had come together to cook us up some amazing food. There were quite a few vegetarians on that tour so it was pretty hard for them to find something they could eat that didn’t have pork something in it. They zeroed in  on salad and  biscuits. While biting into the biscuits we discovered something chewy like an apricot with no flavor. One curious vegetarian chimed in and said “what is this chewy stuff in the biscuits?”.  Momma of the South replied “Oh that’s just a bit of cracklin'” “Cracklin?” we said “What’s that?” Momma South said  “It’s pig skins”. I think all of their faces turned  green and they quickly covered their mouths with their napkins and ran top speed to the bathroom like a fire lit under their ass.  I was laughing my face off!!!  Oh man I still laugh to this day!

Anyhow, you’ll see a lot of  comfort southern inspired food recipes here because somehow it’s how my dna is geared.

The other night I had a hankerin’ for Chicken & Dumplins so here I share with you a KILLER recipe for this southern classic.  This recipe will not disappoint you!

Chicken & YUMplin Dumplins (2 hours start to  finish)

Serves  about 6

Tools: Stock pot, ladle, mixing spoons, tongs, ice cream scoop, paper towels, plates, bowls

5lbs. Chicken Thighs (you can get them prepackaged this way)

2-3 Large Carrots

2-3 Stalks of Celery

1 brown onion

6 tbl Flour

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup cream

4 1/2 c. Chicken Broth

2 Bay leaves (fresh is best if you can get it)

1 tsp Fresh Thyme (again  fresh is best but dry will do)

1 c frozen or fresh peas

1 tsp parsley

4 tbl butter

2 tbl oil vege or olive

Salt & Pepper

Dumplings

2 c.  Flour

1 tbl Baking Pwder

1 tsp salt

3 tbl. reserved chicken fat from frying

1 cup warm whole milk

OKAY!!  This  can be made in one pot!! First pat your thighs dry then salt & pepper them. Dice your onion and chop celery and carrots into 1/4 inch pieces and set aside. In your stock pot heat 2 tbl oil to cover bottom until just smokin. Add half  your thighs fat side down and fry both sides until golden brown about 5-10 minutes each batch. Remove to  paper towels and do the second batch in the chicken fat oil the same way and remove. Drain all the fat in the pan into a cup to reserve for use later. Melt the 4tbl of butter in the pan and add onion, carrots & celery. Cook until onions are transparent. Multi task while those are cooking by removing the skin off your chicken thighs. Once the onion is well cooked add the 6 tbls of flour to make a roux/thickener. Mix until all veggies are coated. Now slowly add your wine & chicken broth while mixing at the same time and then the cream. it’ll start to  thicken like a gravy almost. Now add your chicken, thyme & bay leaves. Bring to a boil then put on low to simmer for 1 hour. After the hour remove your chicken to a large cutting board and carefully shred the chicken off the bone being careful to remove  any fat or  bones. Remove the bay leaves and add the shredded chicken , parsley and peas.  Salt & Pepper to taste. I even add a little garlic salt and sometimes sliced mushrooms. Leave on a simmer. Now make your dumplings.

In a bowl combine flour,  salt and baking powder. In a micro proof glass heat your milk and chicken fat for about 30 seconds until around 100-110 F degrees. Add that to the flour and stir until fully incorporated. Take your little ice cream scoop or 2 spoons and scoop balls into your  chicken pot just setting right on top of the broth. The scoops can be any size but remember they will at least double in size. It should make about 16- 1 1/2-2 inch balls. Don’t worry about them touching or if they dunk in the liquid, but try to keep them on top. Cover with a lid and let them simmer for about 16-18 minutes. The steam and liquid will cook them perfect.

Now you’re ready to serve!! If your neighbors start coming  over like zombies because it smells so good either invite them in or tell them to bring back all that stuff they borrowed from you.

Here’s what mine looked like

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