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Old 09-05-2012, 06:14 PM   #11
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This is a great question and has finally lured me out of my status as lurker on this excellent forum. I was born and raised in England and have spent the last half century or so in the US, so I am familiar with the many varieties of both "biscuits" in the American usage ("biscuit" means "twice baked" in its original Latin configuration. It does not rise and is a "cookie" in the US.) American biscuits, made of flour, baking powder, and fat are close relatives of the English dumpling in composition, but not in cooking method. All dumplings that I can think of, with the exception of the baked apple dumpling, are cooked in stock or saline. Popular European examples include potato dumplings and the tiny spaetzle from Germany and the pasta based gnocchi from Italy. English dumplings use ingredients that are almost identical to the U.S. Southern biscuit, except that they traditionally use suet, cow organ fat, instead of lard, which is pig organ fat.
The seasoned "lumps" (origin of "dumpling" are dropped into beef stew, where they sit totally submerged and double in size from the action of the baking powder. Yum.
I first saw the biscuit topping mentioned in an English cook book by Anne Willan (Chicken Classics, 1992), and when I was living in San Diego about 15 years ago, it covered what was laughingly called "steak and kidney pie."
I consider it inferior to a pastry topping in both flavor and consistency and it is certainly not a dumpling, but when i cook for my culinarily challenged daughter (but not her daughter, who, at eighteen, is a gifted cook) I will serve pot pies in ramekins with this "biscuit topping" fancied up with a few mild spices and some parsley, and it is quickly made and satisfying.
Cheers
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:31 AM   #12
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Howdy, Phil!
Welcome to D.C.!
I agree with the opinion that it is not necessarily the dough but the cooking method that distinguishes your run of the mill biscuit from the run of the mill dumpling.
In my neck of the woods for as long as I can remember, dumplings were made of corn meal, usually in a fish stew.
Now before everyone jumps at me about chicken and dumplin's...let me just say that Mrs Hoot and I had many a long discussion about chicken and dumplin's. In my world, until I met Mrs Hoot...everyone (and I do mean everyone) in my family, and friends, and neighbors called that particular dish chicken pie. If butter beans were added it became butter bean pie. Mrs Hoot had never heard of this term being applied to what she had always known as chicken pie, or chicken pot pie, which has a top crust and involves all manner of vegetables in a savory, thick broth.
I have finally relented in the discussion and have learned to use the term chicken pie to refer to the delicious top crust delicacy called chicken pie. I also have learned to refer to chicken in a thick broth with boiled dough..chicken and dumplin's.
But I still think of those delicate, delicious corn meal dumplin's we made here when I was a kid. I have tried to duplicate them with varying degrees of success....
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #13
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I actually vote for the OP's dish to have biscuits baked on top.
Funny, growing up eating Penn. Dutch cooking, something you all would call chicken and dumplings was called chicken pot pie. I guess it doesn't much matter what it is called as long as it is good!
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:47 AM   #14
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Dumplings the British way from the home of suet.
Recipe Inspiration
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Old 09-07-2012, 01:56 AM   #15
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not in keeping with mumu's original post, there are billions of asian people who have another definition of dumpling.

i guess i shouldn't start a pudding thread then ...
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:14 AM   #16
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you, you, you, don't mean Devils Dumplings ala Black Adder, I double dog dare you to post the youtube
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Old 09-07-2012, 02:41 AM   #17
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no, i said asian...

lol, not much "dairy" there.
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