For nearly two centuries, making chicken and dumplings is something that’s been an easy task, with few changes necessary to improve on the taste and satisfaction it ends up delivering. The origins of the meal itself have been a source of confusion, with many people being under the impression that it was created as a low-cost meal during the depths of the Great Depression.
The fact that this meal is capable of filling a person up has often been used as the basis for pushing that myth. In truth, the meal undoubtedly dates back to before the mid-19th Century, with multiple literary references that sound very similar to the makeup of the product.
Regardless of when it was created, there’s little debate about the geography of those origins, with the Southern roots clearly in evidence by numerous mentions of it in places like South Carolina, Kentucky and North Carolina.
Geographical differences have also been seen in how some people refer to the meal, with Northerners occasionally calling it chicken pot pie. Meanwhile, North Carolinians are more partial to chicken pastry, while others use terms like slicks or slickers.
The stigma that chicken and dumplings is somehow a low-brow meal for poor people is seen by many Southerners as something of an insult, primarily because they consider it a regional delicacy. The simple fact is that prior to World War II, the breeding of chickens was much less prolific, which made the meat more expensive to purchase.
One indication of the reverence with which chicken and dumplings has been held by those in the South can be seen in the lyrics of the classic American song, “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.” The song notes the impending arrival of someone special, which means that the welcoming family will be serving this specific meal.
One simple version of how to make chicken and dumplings requires only a handful of products and a slow cooker that will be in use for approximately six hours. Those products include: roughly 1.5 pounds worth of boneless and skinless chicken breasts, 14 ounces of chicken broth, one can of biscuits, pepper, parsley, a chopped half-onion, two tablespoons of unsalted butter and two cans of soup. Depending on individual tastes, either cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup can be used.
Once everything is ready to go, the chicken breasts should be placed at the bottom of the slow cooker. On top of that should be the soups and butter, although there’s no need to add the water that’s suggested on the soup cans. That’s because the chicken broth will serve that purpose.
Over the next six hours, the food should be cooked on low. However, one hour before that period ends, take the lid off and use a pair of forks in order to shred the chicken.
Then, open up the can of biscuits and slice each roll into nine pieces before then adding them to the cooker. It’s important to remember that the biscuit pieces should be added slowly in order to avoid being splashed with the hot liquid.
During that final hour, the biscuits will evolve from raw to being fully cooked. Once the biscuits have been found to no longer be raw in the center, the meal is ready to be served.