Cooking up some Southern favorites

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He may have cooked for folks in a big city, but on this Recipe Wednesday this chef is serving up some southern recipes.

Chef Paul Fehribach is the author of "The Big Jones Cookbook," and he's the head chef at Meridian Restaurant in Winston-Salem.

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

  • prep time: 2 hours
  • equipment needed: 4-quart stock pot, 2-quart mixing bowl, table fork, 2-quart or larger baking dish, colander, tablespoon, long-handled wooden spoon, 2-quart pot
  • serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1 medium fryer chicken, 3 to 3½ pounds, quartered
  • 2 quarts cold water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

Method

Place the whole chicken in a 4-quart stock pot, cover with 2 quarts cold water, and add the bay leaves. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low boil. Skim off any foam or scum that rises to the top.

While the chicken is boiling, make the dumplings. Crack the eggs into a 2-quart mixing bowl and beat well with a fork. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and the milk, and beat thoroughly to combine. Then add all the flour and baking powder at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together into a sticky, firm dough. No need to knead or over-mix. Once the dough has come together and is free of lumps, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Cook the chicken at a low boil for 1½ hours, until chicken is just beginning to fall from the bones. Remove from heat. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot, and place in a 2-quart or larger baking dish to cool. Strain the stock through the colander into a separate 2-quart pot, and reserve, discarding the bay leaves and any other bits left in the colander.

Add the stock back to the 4-quart stock pot, and bring to a low boil over medium heat, then lower heat to maintain a high simmer. Add the onions and a tablespoon of salt; you can add more later to your taste if you desire.

While the stock and onions come to a boil, pick the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones, and add the meat to the pot in the largest pieces you can pick from the bones. Using a tablespoon, dip the spoon into the hot stock, then quickly spoon up a tablespoon-size bit of dough and drop it into the steaming pot by knocking it on the rim. Working quickly, repeat until all dough is used up. Stir gently from the bottom with a wooden spoon to make sure the dumplings aren’t sticking.

Turn heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook another 10 minutes,  until dumplings are puffy and cooked through. Taste and add more salt if desired. Stir in pepper and serve straight from the pot.

BUTTERMILK PIE

  • Prep time: 2 hours including pie crust and baking
  • Yield: one 9-­inch pie
  • 1 prepared 9-­inch pie shell, well chilled

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits and softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-­purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups low fat buttermilk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream

Method

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare one 9-­inch pie shell and refrigerate thor­oughly before filling.

In a standard mixer with the wire whip attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 to 6 minutes. Beat in the flour, cornstarch, salt and orange zest until smooth. Break the eggs into a 1-­quart bowl and beat into the creamed butter and sugar mixture one at a time, incorporating each egg thoroughly before adding the next, until smooth. Beat in the buttermilk and sour cream in thirds, being sure to incorporate after each addition.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 325 F on the lowest rack of the oven until lightly browned on top and the center is set, about 50 to 60 minutes. The center will jiggle as one mass rather than ripple like water when shaken gently. Cool on a wire rack before cutting or covering and refrigerating.

Excellent either warm or cold, but don’t try to slice while hot—­the filling won’t hold up. You can test by cutting a slice and starting to lift it out. If it pulls away cleanly from the rest of the pie, it’s cooled enough to slice. If the filling runs back together, let it cool awhile longer. Serve with macerated fresh fruit.