" Harlem Nights" 'Sylvia's of Harlem' Chicken and Dumplings

The following recipe was featured during the presentation of Harlem Nights during TBS's Dinner & a Movie.

You will need:
For the Chicken:

  • 1 3 1/2 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 green bell peppers, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbl salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Dumplings:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for kneading
  • 3 tbl sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

For the Collard Greens:

  • 1 smoked ham hock, cut up in pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 pounds collards
  • 1 tbl salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • 1/4 cup bacon drippings

1. For the Chicken and dumplings: Wash the chicken pieces and drain them well. Put them with the water, onions, celery, green peppers, salt and pepper in a large pot or dutch oven. Heat over medium heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmering and cook 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the dumplings: Stir the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl until combined. Make a well in the center and add the milk, eggs, and shortening. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with your fingers until they form a smooth, soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board.

3. Check the chicken pot. There should be enough cooking liquid to barely cover the chicken and vegetables. If not, add hot water as necessary. Lightly flour your hands and roll the dumpling dough into 1 inch balls.

4. Drop the dumplings into the pot of simmering chicken until they cover the surface in a single layer. Cover the pot and boil 15 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer until the dumplings are light and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve the chicken and vegetables with some dumplings and liquid.

5. For the Collard Greens: Put the cut up ham hock into a 5 quart pot with the water. Heat to boiling and reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer 45 minutes. Skim the foam from the broth once or twice.

6. Meanwhile, prepare the collards: cut away the very thick part of the stems. Wash the collard greens thoroughly-they can be very gritty. Shake off excess water and chop into small pieces. Stir the collard greens into the pot and add the salt, red pepper and sugar. Drizzle all with the bacon drippings. Cook, covered at a lively simmer until the collard greens are tender, about 20 minutes.

7. Turn off heat and check seasonings. Cover the pot and let the collard greens sit for a few minutes before serving.

8. Don't forget, Sylvia hates it if you come to the table late.

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