Slippery Dumplings [A Sort of Recipe]

When my grandmother died, my mom and I made her lentil soup because cooking is a wonderful way to bring up good memories, and it's something active you can do. And doing is good. This week a friend of mine said that he had never had slippery dumplings. This was not surprising, but certainly something that I had to fix.

My Poppop (my father's father) passed away a week ago...and slippery dumplings was one of his favorites meals. My Mommom, also deceased, used to make it all the time. Boy did she make it well. I don't know that my Poppop ever cooked, but I do know that he could sure eat a meal, so it seemed a fitting time to make this popular dish and share it with my readers.

The funny thing about this dish is that it's very native to our geographic location. You will only find these slippery dumplings in two places: certain counties in Pennsylvania and the Delmarva Peninsula. True story. This dish is about as local as my Poppop was. He was a Sussex County man; lived his life here and was the Mayor of Georgetown (our county seat) for 27 years. He was well-liked because he was a charismatic and funny man, always ready with a joke. As a grandchild, I mostly saw was his playful side, but he was also a brigadier General, and I have the notion that he was a task master when it came to work.

My Poppop will be missed, not only by his children, grandchildren and extended family, but also by the town of Georgetown because he was, in many ways, a man of the town. This [sort of] recipe is my dedication to him.

I am calling this a sort of recipe because here's the thing about slippery dumplings: there are lots of ways to make them. More chicken, less chicken, veggies, no veggies, etc. So I want to encourage independence of thought when it comes to making your dumplings. The only hard and fast rule is that you'll need the dumplings. I can get mine at the local grocery store... but you may also order them on Amazon because I'm not sure they are available in all places.

I'm going about this a little differently than some of my other recipes, because I want to keep it loose. The basic idea is to end up with a big old pot of YUM!

Here's what I used: 

2-3 boneless skinless thighs
4 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
frozen peas
frozen corn
frozen green beans
Lawry's seasoned salt, to taste
olive oil (for frying the chicken)
1/2 box Anne's dumplings
Chicken bullion (to taste)
Flour (for thickening)
Pepper, to taste

Some thoughts and suggestions: you can use vegetables, or not. I believe my Mommom only used peas in hers. Also, you could totally use rotisserie chicken. Or just white meat chicken. Whatever you fancy is the ticket. Also, I slice up my chicken, but other people cook the chicken, remove it from the pan and then shred it. No rules.

Method (sort of):

Heat oil in a pan and slice your raw chicken. Throw the chicken in the pan with the to oil and cook until done. Add your raw veggies (not the frozen) and sauté them about 5-10 minutes. Add this another place you'll have to go with preference. I like to add 4-6 cups of water and later thicken it to a nice gravy.

Add the frozen veggies, chicken bullion (4 should do it, right?), and bring it all to a boil. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, you are ready to add the dumplings. Add the dumplings 3 at a time. I do this to keep the pot at a boil as I am adding the dumplings. Once you've added about the half the package, you'll be good. Let it boil for about 10 minutes then reduce heat to simmer and cover for another 30 minutes.

If you are serving them right away, adjust seasonings and then thicken it to your liking. I like to mix a tablespoon or two of flour with water. I bring the whole pot back up to a boil, and I add my flour mixture to thicken it all into a gravy. However, if I am serving it later, I simply remove it from the heat and leave it covered. Once it's cool, you can refrigerate it and it thickens considerably with time--you may even have to add MORE water to thin it!

Now, I know there are a lot of locals out there who make this dish, and I know they have a method different from mine. I am hoping that some people will share their recipes in the comment section below! 

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