Aunt Boma’s Crack Chicken and Dumplin’s

This recipe comes from my great aunt Boma, whom I never knew, but came to love through her recipes. At some point, one of the cousins collected all of her recipes for us and at the end of this one, it says “This is the way our mother made dumplings.” Last year, for the life of me I could not find my recipe for Aunt Boma’s Crack Chicken and Dumplin’s[1]. (I added the crack by the way (in the title, NOT the recipe). I’m pretty sure they didn’t have that in her day, though they did use liquid cocaine as an anesthetic.) I emailed my cousin Frosty, Aunt Boma’s grandson, who sent me a completely different recipe for Aunt Boma’s Chicken and Dumplings than the one I grew up with. Although I can attest that Frosty is a phenomenal cook and would have more knowledge of Aunt Boma’s cooking than me, I had most definitely never had these dumplings and I was not going to go through the trouble of making them if I didn’t know ahead of time that they were better than the crack dumplin’s. (It’s like going to somebody else’s Thanksgiving; it’s never as good as what you grew up with. Unless of course, you came to my family’s Thanksgiving, in which case, it’s way better and you’ll never want to go to your family’s Thanksgiving ever again.)

I’m not gonna lie, the dumplings are a slight pain in the ass, but they are well worth the effort. My mom once tried to take the easy route and cut up canned biscuits instead of making homemade dumplings. Emphasis on once. The woman was smart enough not to make that mistake twice. Hell hath no fury like a sick child scorned.

This recipe makes a double batch. Trust me, you’ll need it.

4 quarts of chicken broth (preferably homemade)

2 cups of chopped chicken

2 Tbsp butter

¼ cup of flour mixed into ½ cup of milk

Dumplings:

4 cups flour

2 tsp of salt

2 rounded Tbsp of shortening (DON’T try to substitute butter…your dumplings will melt in the boiling broth. I learned this the hard way.)

1 ½ cups of warm water

Mix the salt and flour with the shortening and warm water. Use a pastry cutter if you have it. Otherwise, use a wooden spoon then knead by hand to mix well.

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Form the dough into a ball with your hands. I usually divide the dough into 3 or 4 batches since I have about zero counter space.

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The dough will be a little sticky, so you’ll need to dust flour onto your rolling pin and roll the dough on a floured surface, adding more flour when necessary.

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Roll the dough until it is super thin (about 1/8 cm thick).

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At this point, you will want to taste the dough. And then you’ll want to try some more. I urge you to refrain because if you’re anything like me, you will not be able to stop and your stomach will revolt on you the next day. Now, if someone can tell me what makes flour, salt, water, and Crisco so damn addictive, I’ll give you a prize.[2]

Cut into 2-inch squares and place on floured wax paper to set for about 30 minutes. They will dry out a little—this is the point.

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Bring chicken and broth to a rolling boil and add the dumplings one by one and cook uncovered until tender (about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness). Your broth should be boiling enough so that the dumplings are floating to the surface and not stuck on the bottom.

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The dumplings are ready when you can easily cut through them with a spoon. They will look a little something like this and have now evolved to crack dumplin’s.

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Stir in butter and flour/milk mixture to thicken, simmering for 2-3 more minutes.

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Add cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste. Enjoy and be ready to get addicted.

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[1] When your family is from small town West Texas, you tend to forget about the letter g in words. As in, I’m fixin’ to make Aunt Boma’s dumplin’s that are freakin’ like crack.

[2] Prize to be awarded is my eternal affection and gratitude and holds no monetary value.

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