My favorite meal growing up was my mom's Chicken-n-Dumplings. Tender biscuits, moist chicken, velvety broth, a few veggies for good measure--it was comfort food at its best. I can still taste it to this day. Recently I came across this recipe for Chicken and Slicks in Cook's Country magazine. I was immediately intrigued by the name. I had never heard of it or had it, but somehow I felt quite familiar with it. How? Why? Well, it turns out it is an old Appalachian dish. My family heritage goes back in the Carolina Appalachia (bluegrass banjo pickin' and all), so it all began to make sense.
If you love dumplings, noodles, and chicken, then this dish is for you. It is basically chicken noodle soup on steroids. The homemade "slicks" are wide, noodle-like dumplings that are quite slippery, hence the name. The broth is thickened with a dry roux and I threw in a few veggies just like Mom for good measure.
When my children asked me what we were having for dinner, they looked at me with a high brow. Chicken and Slicks sounded foreign, but one bite erased any doubt and they were quickly excusing themselves from the table for seconds. I guess it's in their blood.
Making the slicks does take a little extra time, but the results are completely worth it. All components can be made ahead of time; the broth and chicken up to 2 days and the "slick" dough up to 1 day. Instead of making the dough by hand, the recipe uses the food processor for ease. I found the dough very easy to work with.
Once processed, turn the dough onto a very lightly floured (you really don't need much at all) surface.
Knead until smooth.
Divide the dough in half.
Roll each dough half into a 10-inch square of 1/8-inch thickness
Using a sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut the dough into 5-inch by 1-inch rectangles.
Stack the slicks between layers of parchment paper and freeze briefly before simmering in the broth.
Then after finishing the broth, you will have yourself a bowl of some down home yum!
3 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved crosswise
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium celery stalks, diced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, toast the 6 tablespoons of flour, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer flour to a medium bowl and wipe out pot. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in now empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until well browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to a plate. Pour the fat in the pan into another small bowl; set aside. There should be about 2 tablespoons of fat. If there is less fat than that left, add enough vegetable oil to equal 2 tablespoons. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin.
Return the empty pot to the stove and heat over medium-high heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 7 1/2 cups of broth, chicken, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer chicken to a clean plate. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces, discarding bones.
Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, 2 tablespoons of the reserved chicken fat, and remaining tablespoon of oil in a liquid measuring cup. In the bowl of a food processor, process the remaining 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. With the machine running, slowly pour in the broth mixture and process until it resembles a coarse meal. Turn dough onto a very lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half.
Following photos, roll each dough half into a 10-inch square. Cut each square into twenty 5-inch by 1-inch rectangles. Place several noodles on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with another sheet of parchment, and repeat stacking with remaining noodles, ending with a sheet of parchment. Freeze until firm, at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
Return broth to a simmer and add the noodles. Cook until the noodles are nearly tender, about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to separate. Remove 1 cup of broth and whisk into the reserved toasted flour. Stir broth-flour mixture into pot being careful not to break up noodles. Simmer until lightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and stir in parsley. Enjoy!
Source: Adapted from Cook's Country, February/March 2011