The measure of a mother’s love… Almost everything I learned about cooking, I learned from my mama. Growing up in small-town Georgia, my mother was at the door of anyone who had a birth or death in their family, got a promotion, lost a job, or just broke a bone - with a homemade casserole or pie in hand. She took care of people through food. Still does! Her greatest claim to fame is her mouth-watering chicken & dumplings. It is out of this world & the birthday or celebration dinner request of everyone in our family. She kept her secret from my sister & me for a long time, saying that those dumplings were what kept us coming home. Recently she opened up her recipe box, so to speak, & let us in on her secrets! I then came up with my own version of her masterpiece & served them to her when she visited me in Nashville. I had butterflies when she took her first bite wondering if she would approve. She did! Whew!
So I’m sharing with you my take on what Mama thinks keeps me coming home…
Mama-love is what keeps me coming home; my precious mama, my sweetheart of a daddy - ok, and your dumplings!
Chicken and Dumplings
4 Chicken breasts with skin, boneless
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
½ cup carrot, finely diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
2 jalapenos, finely diced
¼ tsp cayenne
1 tbsp thyme, minced
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
3 cups self-rising flour
3 tbsp Crisco, cold
¾ -1 cup cold milk
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven and brown the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pot and add the onions, carrots celery, jalapenos, thyme and cayenne. Stir and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken back into the pan. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.
In the meantime make the dumpling dough. In a bowl add the flour, Crisco and milk. Using your hands mix until it forms a dough. Knead it a few times to ensure it comes together. Set aside.
Remove the cooked chicken from pan. Remove the skin and discard. Using 2 forks shred the chicken and place it back in the pan. Add ½ cup of heavy cream. Stir and make sure it is mixed well. Using a tablespoon scoop 16 dumplings and drop them into the pot. Cover half way with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
For the past thirteen years, Kimberly Schlapman has brightened stages worldwide as a member of country foursome Little Big Town. This March, she’ll fulfill a lifelong dream with the second season airing of Kimberly’s Simply Southern, a half-hour cooking show on GAC.
Kimberly grew up in the northern foothills of Georgia where cooking was an enormous part of Kimberly’s upbringing. She calls both of her grandmothers “incredible” cooks but it was her mother who taught her not just how to cook, but how to take care of people with food.
In 1987, Kimberly left home to attend Samford University, where she met fellow vocalist Karen Fairchild. After graduation, both women moved to Nashville, which is where the idea for Little Big Town was born. The addition of Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet filled out their signature harmonic sound and five albums later; they’re still going strong.
Kimberly currently lives in Nashville with husband Stephen and daughter Daisy Pearl. www.kimberlyssimplysouthern.com