As a native of Eastern Oregon where there are four distinct seasons, I learned to change up my menus as the weather changed. Fresh salads and fancy sandwiches at springtime, grilled meat and watermelon in the summer, light soups and casseroles in fall, and thick stews with crusty bread in winter. We knew it was time to change seasons by the way things smelled---even when fall was ending and the bite of winter was coming, we could smell the snow in the air.
The South (we are in Arkansas now) likes to play the "let's change up everything with the seasons" game too---only nothing is distinct and there are no signs of a new season coming. I've been here seven years and I still can't read the clouds. We just roll with it day to day and pretend winter is real. Sometimes December is mostly 40s and 50s, other times it's 70s and even 80s.
Still, my kids must have a little northener left in them because they've been requesting chicken and dumplings for weeks now. According to my seven year old, I've not made this family favorite since the night we decorated Christmas sugar cookies---in 2018. She's probably not wrong. I just haven't been feeling it---the whole "do the exciting new season stuff"---but I'm determined to try harder. Especially in a crazy year like 2020 has been, a bit of normalcy is important. These are the things families are made of---the memories and traditions and faith that binds us together.
So tonight I made this hearty, stick-to-your-bones meal in a pot and everyone cheered. I fell asleep while the chicken was cooking but it was perfectly tender. I thought I dumped too much thyme in, but it was fantastic. I thought I went too fast on the veggies and feared I'd undercooked the carrots, but they were just right. Apparently, I've still got the knack. Here's roughly how I made it---I hope your family enjoys chicken and dumplings as much as we do.
Homemade Chicken and Dumplings (12 servings, 8 hours)
up to 3 quarts poultry broth (I used turkey broth from our Thanksgiving carcass)
6 bay leaves
3 celery stalks
onion to taste (I used 2 TB dried onions, you could use up to 1 whole, if you like)
thyme, garlic, salt to taste