In honor of Mother’s Day, we’ve asked chefs to share a recipe inspired by their own mom. Oprah Winfrey’s favorite, Art Smith, Executive Chef and owner of Art and Soul in Washington, D.C., Southern Art and Bourbon Bar in Atlanta, Georgia, and Table Fifty-Two in Chicago, Illinois, tells you how to make Chicken and Dumplings just like his mother, Addie Mae Smith.
Chef Art Smith tells us, “This is my mother Addie Mae Smith’s recipe. What Southern women doesn’t make chicken and dumplings?” A staple of the diets of those who live below the Mason-Dixon Line, he notes, “Anyone from the rural South was raised on it.”
Chef Art Smith has a very close relationship with his beloved mother, Addie Smith – and it is very evident in all his restaurants. Along with her chicken and dumplings, he says, “Her 12-layer chocolate cake and deviled eggs are stars at Table Fifty-Two, and her spirit can be tasted and felt at Art and Soul.” He’s made this very recipe for foodies around the globe, from South Africa to a ship in Russia. His mother’s recipe isn’t the only thing that travels with Chef Smith. “Mother goes all over with me because she takes the whole little village of Jasper, Florida, on her trips with her celebrity chef baby son!
His mom’s rendition of this dish features “simple ingredients — a nice chicken and the holy trinity, a.k.a. onions, celery, and carrots.” Despite the simplicity of the ingredients, Chef Smith warns, “The key is a great broth and perfectly cooked dumplings. Which sounds easy, yes? Nope! It takes years of perfection!” If you’re not feeling brave enough to make a go on your own, head to Atlanta. He shares, “Ours at Southern Art are pretty close, and Mother will try them on Mother’s Day at the restaurant.”
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Chicken and Dumplings
Makes 6 servings.
Few recipes are more Southern or downright delicious than chicken and dumplings. Most folks won’t get any more fancy with seasonings than a little parsley. The truth is that other fresh herbs, like chives, tarragon, or savory, are also good.
One 3–to-3½ pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
2 quarts water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Place the chicken, onion, celery, and carrots in a 5-quart Dutch oven or covered casserole and add the water, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and cover tightly. Simmer, occasionally skimming the broth, until the chicken is tender, about 50 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter (keep the broth and vegetables simmering) and cool it until it’s easy to handle. Discard the skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces.
Meanwhile, increase the heat under the broth to high and cook until the liquid is reduced to 6 cups. (If you’re in a hurry, strain the broth, reserving the vegetables, and measure 6 cups of both, reserving the remaining broth and vegetables to the pot.) Skim off any fat from the surface of the broth. Stir the chicken back into the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To make the dumplings, place the flour, salt, and oil in a medium bowl and gradually stir in the water to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Roll out ¼-inch-wide strips. (If you wish, you can do what my mother does – make the dumpling strips while the chicken is simmering, and freeze the strips until ready to cook.)
Slide the strips into the simmering soup, placing them next to each other without stacking or crowding. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the dumplings are cooked through and tender, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the dumplings with parsley. Serve from the pot, breaking the dumplings as needed.