By Arritta Morris
Dumplings have been in many cultures for a very long time.
The ancient Romans were the first to have their own dumplings. They did not call them dumplings, but may have used a word such as knodel or gnochi.
The dumpling was also a great way to cook a bread in a dish in a one-pot meal with a cast-iron kettle when settlers crossed the American plains in the 19th century.
I will give you a variety of dumplings I have tried and hope you take the challenge to make some of these wonderful dishes.
Poor man’s dumplings
1/2 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1 head of green cabbage, chopped
1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of water
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
black pepper and salt to taste
Melt the butter in a skillet. Cook the onion, garlic and cabbage in the butter over medium to high heat until the cabbage is translucent. Season with the salt and pepper. Mix well.
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Mix the flour, oregano and water together into a dough. Drop the dough by small spoonfuls into the boiling water and cook until firm; drain. Add the dumplings to the cabbage mixture. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
Meme’s chicken and dumplings
I also want to give you my mother’s chicken and dumplings recipe. She and my grandmother could make this recipe stretch clear from Texas to Michigan I do believe.
Boil a whole chicken in a pot with water to cover. You really do want the broth off this boil off. Debone the chicken, removing the skin and break in pieces and place back into the broth.
Mix 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1/3 cup of solid shortening, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup milk, pepper to taste.
Mix all the dumpling ingredients and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. I use a pizza cutter to cut the strips of dough into bite size pieces. Drop in the broth that you have brought up to a rolling boil. Place lid on pot and cook for 20 minutes. Add a lump of butter and another 1/2 cup of milk, Let it set for about 5 minutes.
A secret to using any type of shortening or butter in a recipe that requires one to mix into flour is to place product in the freezer and then grate product. I keep this in food storage bags which comes in handy when I need these items for baking and mixing.
I will be teaching this recipe to the Baking Club at the Madison County Extension office, 230 Duncannon Lane, 6 p.m. Thursday.
A reckless thing
I did a very reckless thing this week. If you have ever used a mandolin slicer without the hand guard, you may have had the same accident I did. I had to go to the emergency room at Berea Hospital because I thought I was losing a pint of blood every 15 minutes. They could not sew up my mistake as I took off a layer of the top skin.
The hospital staff was so good to me. I hope none of them know that I am a food service specialist and write for the newspaper on how to do things the right way. We are certainly blessed in this county for all the good staff at all the emergencies services that give a lot of their time to help dumb clucks like me. Please always use the hand guards on all slicers, or you can wind up in the shape my thumb is at present.
The last dumpling recipe I would like to share with you is:
6 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled and cooled.
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cut open the cooked potatoes and put them on a baking sheet. I bake these potatoes in a low (325 degree) oven for 30 minutes. This step dries out the cooked potatoes. Grate the potato into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, flour, and salt. Mix well together.
Knead the dough to where it holds together. Make dough into 1-inch size balls. Add the balls of dough to boiling water with a teaspoon of salt in the water. Cook for about 10 minutes until they float. Remove with a slotted spoon. Cut one to see that it is cooked all the way through.
These are now ready to add to any type of broth be it chicken or beef. Simmer for a few minutes to let them pick up the flavor.
I do hope you try one of these ways to make a dumpling. They are very inexpensive to make and do they ever fill you up on a cold winters evening.
Till next week.
Arritta Morris is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a master’s degree in counseling. She is certified as a food service specialist by the School Nutrition Association.