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Ham & Dumplings

Growing up in the rural South, Mama always baked a ham for Christmas.  Since meat was not a common food on our table, reserved mostly for Sundays and holidays, whenever she baked a ham, it did not go to waste.  After all the meat could be sliced from the bone of either a butt or shank portion ham, Mama would take the ham bone with the mean still around the bone and boil it until all the meat fell off the bone.  She would then remove the bone, add 3 to 4 diced red potatoes, 1 small onion, and 2 stalks of celery to the pot with the ham and broth.  When the potatoes became soft she would then add dumplings.  Mama always made homemade dumplings.  Sorry to say I never got the hang of making them as good as she did so I fudge and use Pillsbury frozen biscuits.  I let them thaw, mash them together in a ball, place the ball on wax paper sprinkled with a little flour, then sprinkle some flour on top of the ball and cover with another piece of wax paper.  Then using a rolling pin, I roll the ball out to desired thickness.  Remove top wax paper and cut dough into strips.  Drop into boiling ham broth mixture.  Add cracked black pepper and salt as desired.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes stiring
occasionally.  Broth will thicken up from addition of dumplings.   I often take some of the ham chunks out of the broth and cut into smaller pieces.  I sometimes add parsley flakes to the biscuit dough before rolling it out into dumplings...this is entirely a matter of prefrence.  It does add a nice color to dish though.
One of my family's favorite meals is a large pot of ham & dumplings, whole greenbeans, cream corn, coleslaw, and pear salad.  Hope you try this recipe and enjoy it as much as we do.

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