Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ma's Old Prairie Dumplings

This recipe is from my great-great-grandmother.

She was married to a sharecropper in the plains/prairies
out around Muleshoe, Texas.

Times were hard back then ... real hard.

If all you had on hand
was some fresh kill meat, some flour, and salt ...
and access to water ...
you could have one FINE meal.

(As my Mammie would later say ... a little butter don't hurt none.)

My point is ... check out how simple this is ...
and check out how DELICIOUS it is, too.

I suppose you could do this with rabbit
or squirrel ... like my GGGM probably did ... or whatever
other kinds of "fresh kill meats" y'all eat out there.

But the only meats we eat around here
are mainly beef and chicken ...
occasionally some deer and lamb ... 
so my dumpling meal will center around chicken.

First thing you do is boil your meat
in a large stewpot.

Tonight I only did three breasts.

Place meat on plate to cool. 
Keep the broth/water.

In a large bowl, cover the bottom with salt.

Add hot water to bowl, and dissolve salt.
You want it salty.

Tonight I used 1 1/2 cups water ...
if I make a larger batch I go with 2 cups.
There is no strict measuring.

The more water you have
the more flour you'll need ...
and the more dough you'll make.

Then I open up my sack of flour and start pouring
into the salt water.
Nothing in this recipe is measured.

Just enough flour to make a dough.

I use a fork to stir.

Until it gets crumbly and lumpy and moisty.

Then I reach in there and start using my hands ...
and blend, blend, blend ...
until I can pull a good-sized ball out of there.

I sprinkle flour on my countertop ... and roll it out ...

... and cut slices with a butter knife.

Then I hold out the palm of my hand
and stack as many as I can on there ...

And plop 'em one by one into the hot broth ...

You'll know if the broth is hot enough
by seeing the dumplings immediately float to the top.

Once you get all of your dough rolled out and cut ...
and into the broth ...
time to hand shred the cooled meat, and toss it in there.

Now this is where I add to the original recipe just a tad ...
I go ahead and give it a good shake of black pepper,
and add a half a stick of real butter.

I stir it real good, and shut the heat off ... and cap it.

And start cleaning my mess, and taking more pictures.

After about an hour of farting around ... the dumplings look like this.

The longer it sits, the better it gets.


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We sure did :)

(Edited to add final picture.)

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  1. Angie Gohmann Hatla via FacebookSeptember 7, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    Looks and sounds wonderful! You don't add any extra salt or seasonings to your broth?

  2. It is mighty wonderful .... and, no, Angie, nothing else ... the salt water permeates the dumplings, and as they cook it leaches out into the broth and makes its own gravy ... the only thing I add that Ma didn't is black pepper and butter.

    Seriously the ONLY ingredients are meat, flour, salt/pepper, water, and butter.

  3. Nancy Schoonover Helton via facebookSeptember 7, 2010 at 9:59 PM

    We're just all wonderfully well organized and have an overabundance of talent! LOLOLOLOLOL

  4. and skills

  5. Nancy Schoonover HeltonSeptember 7, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Oh yeah! Can't forget the skills. :)

  6. Brandi Dawn Brookreson Schatte via FacebookSeptember 8, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    LOL literally LOL LOL

  7. Angie Gohmann HatlaSeptember 8, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Brooke, no other spices?

  8. No other spices ... I promise ... salt and pepper, that's it.

  9. Angie Gohmann HatlaSeptember 8, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Awesome! Can't wait to try it!

  10. Johnny Schatte via FacebookSeptember 8, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    Hey Brooke - I'm gonna do your dumplings! They look great! Keep posting recipes.
    Hope everyone is well & doing just fine!

  11. Thank you, Johnny ... wonderful to hear from you!

  12. I agree with Johnny - keep the recipes coming! I always used can biscuit dough or flour tortillas for dumplings but yours are easy and the REAL thing! YAY! Thank you. AV

  13. Yes sir, this recipe is for sure the real thing ... hope y'all like it ... I'll keep posting my home-cooked meals as the spirit moves me ... good to see you again, Andy :)

  14. mc...I was raised on these dumplings. My granny, mama and even my daddy made these...and so do I. Most people can't understand really how delicious they are because of the few ingredients. I remember my granny even rolling them out with an old jelly jar when she didn't have a rollin pin. I like mine with lots of black pepper :P
    Great photos...thanks for sharing this.

  15. Hello, Ezra Blu :)

    Yes, I know what you mean about people not understanding how delicious these are despite the simplicity.

    I am happy you enjoyed the memory, and post!


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