My friend Julie makes the absolute best chicken and dumplins’ in the entire world. Yes, I dropped the “g” ’cause I’m from the South, and that’s what we do here. I was in High School the first time she made these for me. I couldn’t believe that at age 15 my friend could cook like this. Wow!!! I didn’t even think I liked chicken and dumplins’ till I had hers. Fast forward 20 some-odd years later, and she and I reconnected through Facebook. I took two of my children to visit her and begged her to make this divine dish so my children would know how real (meaning not canned) chicken and dumplins’ tasted. One taste and they were hooked. I also fell in love with them all over again.
I have her recipe and I make them quite often. Mine never taste quite as good as hers. I don’t know if it’s because she uses a pressure cooker to make hers, or if it is just because I am actually cooking them instead. My family insists they are still delicious and often request them for dinner. As a matter of fact, we had them last night. Contrary to popular belief, they are actually very simple to make and are great if you are cooking on a budget.
Some people add celery and carrots and even potatoes to their chicken and dumplins’. I don’t and neither does Julie. You are the one cooking however, please feel free to make any additions or subtractions that you choose. It is after all, YOUR kitchen, and Southern cooking should be fun.
Yield: 8-10 servings
3-4 chicken leg quarters
1 medium onion chopped
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chicken seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
1 can of chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken condensed soup
1/2 stick of butter
1/4 cup of milk
2 cups self-rising flour (if using all-purpose flour add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.)
1/3 cup of shortening
3/4-1 cup of milk
1. In a large Dutch oven, place chicken pieces, and chopped onion. Cover with water and add pepper, garlic powder, chicken seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the chicken is falling off the bone.
2. Remove chicken, reserving stock, and set aside to cool.
3. Whisk can of chicken broth and can of soup into the reserved broth and bring to a boil.
4. While the chicken is cooling and the broth is coming to a boil, make dumplings.
5. To make dumplings, cut shortening into flour using either a fork or a pastry blender. Cut until the dough resembles small pea pellets.
6. Add milk slowly and stir to combine. Use your hands to push the dough together. Add your milk gradually, pushing the dough until the dough is neither dry nor wet. You are looking for a well-incorporated ball. Note: Do not over handle the dough, or it well become tough.
7. On a floured surface, roll dough out until it’s about an inch to an inch and half thick. Cut the dough into strips, length wise, then vertical, making the dumplings the size you want them. Some people prefer large dumplings, some prefer small.
8. Add the 1/2 stick of butter and the 1/4 cup of milk to the broth that should be at a boil.
9. Drop dumplings, one at a time into the boiling broth, push dumplings gently down into the broth with a spoon, making sure all are covered. Then reduce heat to medium.
10. The dumplings should boil about 20 minutes, so while they are boiling, debone your chicken, removing skin and fat. Tear the chicken into bite size pieces.
11. Add the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes.
We like to eat these with saltine style crackers or cornbread. No one ever leaves the table hungry when chicken and dumplings are on the menu. By the way, if you are ever down the Lake Oconee area in Georgia, find Julie and ask her to make you a pot of these amazing chicken and dumplins’.
Sources: Julie gave the author this recipe for her file.