Of American non-ethnic, regional cooking, I think that the American South has the most original, innovative and delicious cuisine in our country. Of course I’m biased because both of my parents are from the South (Texas and Louisiana) but facts are facts 🙂 Fried chicken, gumbo, cornbread, cornmeal fried fish, smothered pork chops, sweet potato pie, cobblers, candied yams, chicken and dumplings, etc. ‘Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery’, it seems as if most Americans agree. However many of these Southern specialties don’t always transplant well into other regions. For instance, dumplings become biscuits or gummy, inflated, uncooked lumps of dough. I had some of these after I left the safe haven of authentic southern cookery and really, I didn’t know where to look. Bleah.
I can picture my Louisiana grandmother thinly rolling out a simple dough, then cutting it into strips like wide noodles before dropping them into boiling chicken broth. So tender, they melted in your mouth. I don’t know what I was thinking! I’m no kneader or roller but I have a KitchenAid with both a dough hook and roller attachment, but did I use it? No. Fool that I was. I was exhausted and bored by the time I kneaded the dough 2 times and felt that everybody who rolled their dough out as thin as my grandmother’s must all be gratefully dead. Therefore, I didn’t exactly make my grandmother’s dumplings, but they came out okay. I cut them into irregular diamond shapes and cooked them longer. I’m going to do this again but with the KitchenAid.
The turkey and dumpling idea was forced upon me when I bought a ridiculously large, smoked turkey leg that I had no idea what to do with and spent sleepless hours between reading in bed and trying to think of something. Finally I arrived at turkey and dumplings that I would proudly make “a ma grandmama.” Sometimes I hurt myself. Con (short for imbecile (polite) in French).
Anyway. This is a great start whether you’re making soup with turkey or chicken. Add potatoes or rice and then you don’t have to bother to make the dumplings at all 😀
The turkey leg just fit inside my large, oval Le Creuset. Pretty cookingware is always good for my morale along with background music.
The smoked turkey leg was quite meaty and flavorful. Roasted, this would make great sandwiches.
Smoked Turkey and Dumplings
2 1/2 lb smoked turkey leg
2 celery branches, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced
2 large Maggi chicken cubes
2 bay leaves
3 1/2 quarts water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Place the turkey, celery, onion, carrots, Maggi cubes, bay leaves and water in a large covered pot, bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the turkey leg and separate the meat from the bones, skin etc. Coarsely chop the meat and set aside.
Kitchen Aid recommended: Sift the flour together with the salt into a large bowl, add the egg and milk and mix well. Knead until smooth, then roll out very thin and slice into strips or any shape you want. Bring the turkey broth to a boil and add the dumplings a few at a time.
When the dumplings are cooked, stir in the reserved turkey and serve in deep bowls.