Central and Southern Appalachian food culture is rooted in place, and the cultural traditions that were brought by early settlers who were granted land for their services during the Revolutionary War. Early Appalachians crossed the Cumberland Gap from the original thirteen American Colonies. These families trace their food culture to the diets enjoyed throughout the 17th and 18th Centuries in England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland among others. Table fellowship is communal and inclusive in the holler. A Sunday dinner table may very well be populated by judges, preachers, coal miners and bootleggers; all enjoying table-fellowship together. Many recipes are prized commodities passed down from generation to generation, celebrating each family’s take on the traditional foods of Appalachia. I invite you to print, share, and prepare my family’s Appalachian recipes with your friends and loved ones. Look for new recipes every week.
Chicken and Dumplings
2 1/2 quarts hot water
1 stewing chicken cut into serving pieces
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 stalks celery
1 small onion peeled and quartered
Dumpling Batter (recipe follows)
In a large kettle, bring the water to a boil. Ease the chicken into the water; add salt, pepper, celery and onion. Simmer slowly until meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours, removing the scum which rises to the surface as the chicken begins to boil. Meanwhile, make the dumpling batter.
When the chicken is done, transfer it to a covered dish to keep it warm, remove celery and onion, leaving the kettle of broth behind. Bring the broth to a rolling boil, then drop the dumpling batter by small spoonfuls into the boiling broth. Cover kettle tightly and cook just until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Test for doneness by opening a dumpling up with a fork. Broth will have thickened into a gravy during cooking. Serve dumplings and chicken with gravy spooned over the top. Makes 6 to 8 servings, less if the folks are hungry.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup buttermilk
Sift together the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and in the well place the egg, butter, and buttermilk. Stir just enough to form a heavy batter. Cook as directed in above recipe. Makes 6-8 servings.
Mommy always served with Fried Sweet Potatoes and Crispy Cornbread. Gravy is delicious served over crumbled cornbread.