Chicken and Dumplings Save the Day

Photo courtesy of Preppy Kitchen.

Monday was one of those days when nothing seemed to go right. I am always a little cranky at the beginning of the week as my favorite hangout, the Greenhouse Biloxi, is closed on Mondays. So, I ran a few errands and ended up in Ocean Springs, just in time for lunch. I was ready for a smash burger, or an Italian sandwich at Lil Market (my new favorite lunch spot), but they were closed. I should have remembered. I thought, “Hertz Fried Chicken might be good,” but halfway there, I realized I wasn’t hungry enough for that much food (takeout is two pieces of fried chicken and three sides). Where the heck did I want to go for lunch? The buffet at Rouses is OK. I like Trinity Café at the Ohr Museum too, but of course, it’s closed on Mondays too.

Then, I remembered Jacked Up, that very cool little coffee shop on Howard Avenue in Biloxi. I could take my computer and write my next story for Our Mississippi Home and have lunch at the same time. Two birds, one stone. When I got there and found my favorite seat empty, things started to improve, but when I looked at the digital menu and saw that chicken and dumplings was back on the menu, my day was made whole again.   

What could be more uplifting on a day gone sour than a big bowl of Dixie’s chicken and dumplings? It’s loaded with shredded chicken and tons of dumplings, so it’s more stew-like and not watery like a soup. I always think of my grandmother Alma Journey Brunt when I think of C&D. She kept chicken in the backyard and that hen or cock that wasn’t doing its duty anymore was way too tough for frying, so into the pot they went. The last time I saw her, in an old folk’s home, my mom told her that she sure did miss her C&D, and my wonderful old grandmother replied that she sure would be happy to make some, but that she lamented the fact that she didn’t have any chickens anymore. 

If you follow my scribblings at all, I am sure you know that a rotisserie chicken from Rouses is one of the few shortcuts that I will take. Debone the chicken, throw the bones into a pot filled with chicken stock and simmer for an hour or so. Sauté onions, carrots, bell peppers and a jalapeño or two until tender. Add the shredded chicken, remembering to season as you go. Add dumplings (you can buy them frozen, use pinched biscuit dough, or make them from scratch) and simmer until done. Its about as simple as it gets. Jacked Up serves its chicken and dumplings with toast, but I do not.

So, a day that started out pretty bad was saved by chicken and dumplings!. Check out Jacked Up, if you haven’t been there yet. 


Written by Julian Brunt

Julian Brunt is a food and travel writer that has been writing about the food culture of the Deep South for over a decade. He is the eleventh generation of his family to live in the South, grew up in Europe, traveled extensively for the first fifteen years after graduating from the University of Maryland, University College, Heidelberg, Germany. Today, he's a contributor for multiple publications, including Our Mississippi Home. He's also appeared on Gordon Ramsay's television show, "To Hell and Back in 24 Hours."


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