Chicken and Dumplings

Tomorrow is April 1. It would have been my Great Grandmother’s 105th birthday. She lived to be 99 years old and I was 30 when she passed away so I have many wonderful memories of her over the years. She had ten children and my grandmother is the oldest. They lived on a small farm in South Georgia where they raised pigs and grew cotton and tobacco. We would go to the farm every year for Thanksgiving when I was growing up. I remember fishing in their ponds, playing in the fields, running from cows, and eating simple, but delicious southern food. My favorite thing that my great grandmother made was chicken and dumplings. She made them any time she had a bunch of people over she needed to feed. These are not your typical thick, doughy dumplings. They are thin, silky and delicate. Some people actually call this chicken and pastry but she called them dumplings.

In memory of her birthday I thought about coming up with a healthy or quick version of her recipe. I might do that in the future, but ultimately decided to make the real deal just like I remember her doing. Dumplings made with shortening and homemade stock from a whole chicken. It is a little time consuming, but a lot of that is idle time while the chicken is cooking. The dumplings are really easy to make. The hardest part is rolling them out as thin as you can get them. That’s the secret. When you think you have them thin enough. Roll them out a little more.

The flavors are so simple because this is just a basic country meal. It isn’t fancy or expensive, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s simplicity is what makes it so delicious. If it wasn’t so filling I could eat the whole pot!

Print Recipe
Chicken and Dumplings
Southern style chicken and dumplings just like grandma used to make.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 1/2 hours
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
Chicken and Stock
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme dried
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups water approximately
Dumplings
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp shortening
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cold water
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 1/2 hours
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
Chicken and Stock
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme dried
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 cups water approximately
Dumplings
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp shortening
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cold water
Instructions
Make the stock and chicken
  1. Add onion, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme to a large pot.
  2. Place the chicken on top and add water. The water should come just about to the top of the chicken. Then bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Turn off heat and let pot rest, covered, for 1 more hour.
Make the dumplings
  1. While the chicken is resting make the dumplings. Add flour, salt and baking powder to a medium bowl. Mix together with a whisk.
  2. Cut shortening into flour using a pastry cutter.
  3. Slowly mix water into flour using your hands just until dough pulls away from the bowl and starts to form a ball.
  4. Turn dough out onto liberally floured surface and knead 2-3 times. Roll dough out as thin as you can get it (about 1/8"). Sprinkle with more flour as necessary.
  5. Using a regular old knife, cut dough into 1”x4" strips. Set aside and finish the chicken.
Putting it all together
  1. Remove chicken from pot and shred chicken in to bite sized pieces while removing skin and bones. Remove the onions from the stock and return to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the dumplings to the boiling stock one at a time. Then reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken and stir gently. Cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 10-15 minutes for broth to thicken.
  3. Ladle into bowls and enjoy.
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