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Chicken and Dumplings

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My Grandmother used to make Chicken and dumplings for me. I have been unable to find a recipe like hers and the recipe has been lost through time. I know that she boiled chicken and added the (square) dumplings to the boiling stock after removing the chicken. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Were the dumplings thick and square, or quite thin. James McNair has 2 recipes in his chicken book, one with the bigger round dumplings and another with what he calls southern dumplings, which looked more like ribbons of pasta.


    9 Replies
    1. re: Renata

      They were about 3X3 and were not very thick. I remember my Grandmother always said the trick was having the chicken stock "rolling" in a boil while placing the dumplings in the broth. GOD they were AWESOME and would give anything to have them again....

      1. re: patrick

        If you want to cheat and get something close to Southern dumplings, cut flour tortillas into squares. Drop into broth.

        1. re: Jim H.

          AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! No, NO, NO........My Grandmother cooked EVERYTHING from scratch....They have to be hand rolled and carefully placed in the broth.....

          1. re: Patrick

            This sounds a lot like what the PA Germans call "potpie", not a baked chicken pie with a crust, but stewed chicken with homemade noodle squares cooked in the boiling broth, then served in a soup dish with large pieces of the cooked chicken, carrots, celery, onions, (sometimes also potatoes--we love our starch!) and of course the potpies, with gravy. I have two recipes, one "slippery" (noodle style, but cut thick) and one "fluffy" (kind of a rolled dumpling). I also have a good recipe for the more usual dumpling, which is a flour, baking powder, milk mixture, dropped by spoonfuls on the boiling broth. I am not tech-savvy enough to give you a link, but I can look up the recipes and send them if any of them sound like what you're looking for. In fact, I'll be making these tomorrow for my daughter's birthday (her favorite dinner!) in spite of Ash Wednesday.

            1. re: Patrick
              Marcia M. D'A.

              Patrick, I grew up with the same kind of chicken and dumplings as you did. I still make the dish once in a while, but have made modifications. If you're interested in my recipe, please let me know. The dumplings are rolled out flat and cut into strips, but there is not reason you can't cut them into squares.

              1. re: Marcia M. D'A.

                i am very interested in ur recipe... can i have it plz?

                1. re: RedneckHawtie

                  Note the date of that post. That poster might not even be around.

            2. re: Jim H.

              Don't listen to him!!! :-) Flour tortillas a substitute for real Southern dumplings?!
              Make them with buttermilk instead of regular milk, then roll them out thin and cut them in squares like your grandmother's and drop them into the simmering broth.

              1. re: Jim H.

                Um. This is nothing like true southern dumplings. At. All.

          2. I've always been confused on this dish - I have it like a soup with small chunks of vegies and chicken and like stew - big chunks of both. which is the correct way?

            1 Reply
            1. re: rocket

              Neither is "correct" in any absolute sense, they're just different.

            2. Reames (think frozen egg noodles) makes "flat dumplings".
              They are good enough to make it a lot of trouble to make them myself homemade. All the stores in my area (kansas city) don't carry the dumplings but I can find them at some.

              1. t
                the food guy

                Yesterday I saw the tail end of a Paula Dean show on the food network where she made chicken and dumplings. I've attached a link. I did not try the recipe, but she's good. Enjoy.

                1. Are you talking about fluffy raised dumplings or those flat, thick, noodly types?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Candy

                    They were made like pie dough and were rolled out the thickness of pie dough and cut into squares.

                    1. re: Patrick

                      Try the recipe at this link: http://southernfood.about.com/od/chic... This sounds like what a friend has described and said her family served them over mashed potatoes. My family always made the light fluffy dumplings that are cooked on top of the stew and covered and steamed for 10 minutes and then cooked uncovered another 10 minutes. Like big fluffy biscuits and heavenly with lots of butter and chicken gravy.

                      1. re: Patrick

                        As somebody noted above, this really does sound like what the PA Dutch call pot pie (or bott boi). There is another variation, called Chicken Stoltzfus, that involves creamed chicken served over a type of homemade cracker -- it's delicious if you have the skill to make the crackers (I don't) or can find an Amish/Mennonite farm stand that sells them. Or if your SO was once a pastry chef.

                    2. Definitely not your grandmother's but a really fabulous alternative if you've got some time on your hands is a Tyler Florence receipe. My husband says if I never cook anything else but this for him, he's happy to pickup all the rest of the cooking.

                      Warning: I have never found a way to combine the butter, lemon juice and herbs in the roasting step. Just doesn't happen. I've always got lemon juice running all over the place.

                      Link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SandraV

                        Thanks for that link--sounds delish!

                      2. There are four basic kinds of dumplings commonly used, as far as I know. The kind I prefer is the kind I grew up with: basically just drop biscuits laid on top of the simmering stew by the spoonful, then covered and steamed twenty minutes. There's another variant using biscuit dough, but this is rolled out about 1/4" thick and cut into 2"x1" strips and steamed as above. The other two variants use noodle dough and pie dough. I've eaten all but the biscuit-strips version, which I still want to try sometime - I found it in a Carolina cookbook.

                        When I make the dish I boil a pot usually of chicken stock, sometimes mixed broth and water, and then add the chicken and simmer this gently until the chicken is just cooked, adding cut-up carrots and some celery and onion as well.* Then I remove the chicken and take the meat off the bones and cut it up, in the meantime steaming the dumplings in the broth. The meat gets added back in, seasoning adjusted, everything sits keeping warm while we set the table, then we eat.

                        * Most recipes, especially older ones, call for starting the chicken in cold water, bringing it to the boil, then skimming off the crud and simmering gently until it's cooked. This yields more flavorful broth at the expense of the chicken, and doesn't work as well with our modern, younger chickens as it did with the old barnyard fowl.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          This is an old thread (2 years old!) Patrick may not even be around anymore.
                          But, I do have a recipe for chicken and dumplings like he's looking for. I just don't know if he needs it anymore.

                          1. re: QueenB

                            Patrick pro'ly moved on to Mrs. Paul's fish stix. But some a the rest of us might like the recipe. You think?

                            1. re: yayadave

                              Sure thing. I know *I* like the recipe! ;-)

                              PA Dutch Chicken Pot Pie (I've modified from great-grandma's recipe)

                              1 chicken (3-4 lbs)
                              12 cups water
                              1 tsp Salt
                              1/2 tsp Pepper
                              1 Tbsp dried tarragon (or parsley, if you don't like tarragon)
                              1 stalk celery
                              2 sliced carrots
                              1 onion, roughly chopped

                              Wash chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and tarragon. Place in stock pot with celery, carrot and onion. Add water (should just cover chicken). Bring to boil. Simmer for one hour. Remove chicken from broth and set aside to cool.

                              When chicken is cool, remove meat from bones and roughly chop.

                              Combine 2 cups flour and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Cut in 2 Tbsp shortening, until the consistency of cornmeal. Add 3/4 cup hot water, stirring to make a soft, but not sticky, dough. Place dough on floured surface, dust with flour and roll very thin. Cut into squares (I usually make mine 2"x3", but cut to whatever size you prefer).

                              Bring the broth you cooked the chicken in (along with the veggies) back to a boil. Drop dumpling squares into boiling broth and cook for 15 minutes at a rolling boil. Turn off heat, add chopped chicken back to broth and dumplings, let set for five minutes, or just to let the chicken cook through. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

                              This soup is always better on the second day, but darn good on day one too. Sorry if the directions are kind of willy-nilly. I cook this from memory...it's one of those recipes that have been passed down without ever writing it down. It's very simple and only takes about two hours, with minimal work. It's also one of those recipes that begs to be played with. Last time I made it, I used whole wheat flour for the dumplings. They were a little thicker, but just as tasty. Mom uses a bag of frozen veggies instead of the fresh celery and carrot. Switch around the amounts of veggies, add different ones. Have fun!

                              1. re: QueenB

                                thanks for the recipe QueenB. I've been looking for something like this since I moved into PA Dutch country and had this at a fall festival.

                          2. re: Will Owen

                            Will, do you thicken your gravy, or add cream?

                            1. re: Sharuf

                              I usually add a thickener of milk and flour, as my mom and grandma did, but last night (yes, kids, I got inspired and made this yesterday!) I mixed up some Mexican table cream with a heaping coffee spoon of potato starch and whisked that into the liquid. This was about a quart and a half of the broth from cooking the chicken which I had degreased and then cooked down for about fifteen minutes. I had decided to finally try the biscuit-strips dumplings (White Lily sef-rising flour, lard and buttermilk), so I dropped about a dozen of those into the slightly-thickened broth and steamed them covered for twenty minutes, then stirred the chicken meat in (the skin, bones and cooking vegetables, plus the rest of the broth and more water, went into the crock pot for further stock-making). These dumplings came out sort of like gnocchi, a little chewy and very good, and the chicken and gravy were just sinful. As I'd made a full two-cup recipe of biscuit dough, I had about another ten or eleven strips left over, so I just put those on a cookie sheet and baked them, then served'em on the side. All ridiculously good, but emphatically not diet food. Okay, then - grilled fish and salads for the rest of the week!

                          3. You should try this recipe. It's really good. The best dumplings I have ever made--they were so tender they melt in your mouth, and I've never made dumplings before in my life. They were very easy to make. The key is to put the dumplings in BOILING broth. I used can chicken broth.


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: tohongie

                              Thanks for the Martha link. I'm making the dough recipe, with some herbs tossed in. Hope they turn out good in my leftover turkey broth!

                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                Just wanted to report back---these dumplings rocked. I stirred in some chopped fresh celery leaves, rosemary, thyme, sage, and white pepper. They were great---kind of like thick noodles.

                            2. As my profile indicates, my mom's chicken and dumplings is quite possibly the finest meal I've ever eaten. And I still make them whenever I get the chance (the Khantessa doesn't cotton to them however).

                              Basically, what I do is make a mild chicken broth from skin-on breasts, a bay leaf, black peppercorns and rosemary.

                              Once the broth is complete--usually takes 45 minutes at a low boil--I remove the breasts, tear the chicken into bits with my fingers and return those bits to the broth.

                              I then return the broth to a low boil and make a dough from eggs, milk, salt, shortening and lots of flour.

                              Once the dough is the proper consistency, I roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness on a cutting board and cut into 1 1/2 x 3 rectangles.

                              I then drop these dumplings into the broth and cook for approximately 10 minutes.


                              Just serve in bowls with salt and pepper at the dinner table.

                              1. After quite a bit of recipe testing over the years, I have determined that I prefer my dumplings unleavened. I use two cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup milk. I mix it, knead it a minute, roll it out to half an inch and then cut rectangles. Then I drop it into broth that has been thickened with a butter/flour roux, along with the cooked chicken. I let it simmer for ten minutes or so.

                                1. Make a good chicken soup, however you like it. You can use a whole chicken, but for me, it usually is the dish that uses my scraps from the freezer- backs, necks, wing tips, and sometimes hearts or gizzards. I put onion, celery, bay leaves, garlic, poultry seasoning, and simmer for a good long time, 1.5 or 2 hrs. If you use a whole chicken remove the larger pieces of meat sooner, to preserve their texture, but put the bones back in. Remove the bones and vegetables, put the meat back in and adjust your seasonings. You can add vegetables at this point, onions, celery, mushrooms, sauteed if you want. A few carrots are ok, but be aware that more than that will significantly change the flavor of your soup. For the dumplins, I like to use the Bisquick recipe, but gently pat it out with lots of flour and cut it, and these are a good combination of fluffy and formed. I find I have less problem with dissolving dumplings, if I add them to gently bubbling stew instead of a rolling boil. Cover for about 10 minutes, then uncover and gently stir, and cook another 15. The dumplins thicken it, you don't need to add cream or slurry.

                                  1. Old thread but thought I would add to this instead of starting new one.

                                    I am making this tonight - http://backtothecuttingboard.com/dinn...

                                    The recipe calls for cake flour, which according to the website has less protein and therefore yields a more tender dumpling. I didn't have shortening so used butter - hope that wasn't a mistake.

                                    Will see how it tastes tonight. My mother set the bar pretty high when I was growing up.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: pegasis0066

                                      Use of a soft (lower protein) flour is commonly recommended for biscuits, and by extension, the biscuit like dumplings. But these are the flat non-rising style of dumpling. Cake flour is even softer than biscuit flour. But is a tender crumb desired with this style of dumpling, or should it have a noodle like firmness?

                                      My guess is that a Southern cook would use the same flour for this style of dumpling as they would use for biscuits, and even cakes.

                                      The use of baking soda is questionable. While the proportions are ok (1/4tsp/cup flour), there's no acid in the recipe.

                                        1. re: pegasis0066

                                          To get any leavening action, baking soda has to be used with an acid, most commonly buttermilk. With plain milk, a biscuit recipe would use baking powder.

                                          But with this style of dumpling you don't want much rise if any. I don't know why the baking soda is there at all.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            I just read in 'Ideas in Food' that baking soda is often added to Asian style noodle dough. They use a soft flour. But the baking soda helps produce a stretchy firm noodle, one that is more slurpable, which is, in my limited experience with these dumplings, a desirable quality.

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                Yes. I was reading their book of the same name, but they probably discuss noodles/pasta on the blog as well.

                                    2. We use a packaged national brand all purpose biscuit/pancake/waffle mix, following the directions on the box,it makes a biscuit quickly. or a dumpling, or pancakes or waffles...

                                      1. My grandmother made it also. Her chicken was most likely a worn-out laying hen, and her dumplings were made with Bisquick.

                                        1. As already noted in this thread, there are 2 styles of dumplings. One is biscuit like and floats on top of the soup. The other is noodle like, rolled and cut into strips or squares, and cooks immersed in the soup.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: paulj

                                            my grandmother made it the noodle like way and it was called chicken pastry. she also kept all the chicken fat in so it was very fatty, and delicious to everyone in the family except me. She cut the noodles long so it was a bit like having lasagne noodles but thinner. No leavening....she served it with from scratch biscuits, brown and serve rolls, green beans cooked with pork fat for several hours, and for dessert, canned fruit cocktail and cool whip frozen in ice cube trays.

                                            I loved my grandmother but I'm glad I don't have to eat this family favorite meal any more! This was in North Carolina.