Southern-Style Chicken and Dumplings

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Few things can compare to scratch made chicken and dumplings.  I can remember my great-grandmother making these years and years ago, and I always thought she used some kind of magic to make them taste so good.  Now, some people use pre-made biscuits for their dumplings.  I’m not judging those who choose to make them this way.  Wait…yes.  Yes, I totally am.  Face it, biscuits are the easy way out.  There is nothing like making your own dough.  It takes the taste to a whole new level, and it’s easier than you might think.  Give it a try.  😊


Ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 chicken thighs or one whole chicken (save the giblets!)
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 4-8 tsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • Water
  • Black pepper

Preparation:

  • Cut up the whole chicken into individual pieces (breast, thigh, leg, wing) if needed and place the chicken in a large sized stock pot. If you have giblets, throw them in there, too.  They add flavor.  Cover the chicken completely with water.  You’ll want the water to be about 4 inches above the chicken.
  • Set stove eye to medium high heat and bring to a boil. Turn down to a slow boil and cook chicken until done (30 to 45 minutes.) You can cover the pot to prevent evaporation, but watch closely for boil over and check the chicken every so often to prevent over cooking.
  • Turn off the stove eye, scoop out chicken and parts and place in a shallow pan. Allow the chicken to cool until it’s comfortable to touch.
  • Scoop out 3/4 cup of the broth from the pot and set it to the side to cool.
  • Pick chicken apart from bone if needed, removing any gristle or fat as well. Shred chicken to desired size.
  • Return giblets, bones, and skin to the pot, add more water if needed to cover the parts, and bring to a low boil.  Let this simmer and produce a nice stock while you make the dumplings.
  • Sift 2 cups of flour and 1-2 tsp of salt together into a large mixing bowl. Make a hole in the center of the flour with your hands, and add the cooled stock.
  • Using a circular motion with your fingers, slowly incorporate the stock with the flour, adding more flour from the edges of the bowl as your dough forms. Don’t over work your dough.
  • Once you get a nice, smooth dough ball, flour your countertop or cutting board, and roll out the dough to the desired thickness.  Some people like their dumplings thick, and some like them thin.  They only puff up slightly when cooking, so the thickness you choose when cutting will pretty much be thickness they stay.  I like to roll my dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut the dough into desired dumpling shape and size. Some like large squares, some like thin strips, some even like little circles.  Make them your own!
  • Scoop all bones and chicken parts from the pot. Skim away some fat from the surface of the broth if needed.
  • Add 4 tsp of chicken granules, and taste test for flavor and saltiness. Be careful, this stock is HOT.  Add more granules if needed to reach the desired flavor.  Do this in small increments.  Remember, you can always add more, but once it’s in there…it’s in there.
  • Begin dropping dumplings into the pot, one at a time. Do not stir yet. You want the dumplings to cook a little on their own so they won’t stick together.
  • Once all the dumplings are in the pot, allow them to cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add chicken meat and gently stir together.
  • Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until dumplings reach the desired consistency. Some people like theirs soft and mushy, some like them firm and chewy. Think of the dumplings like pasta, everyone has their own preference.
  • If you need to thicken your sauce, put about 2 tbsp of flour in a small dish, and add just enough water to make a slurry.  Make sure all lumps are out (you may need to whisk it a bit) and add slowly, in small increments to the pot and gently stir.  Add more until your sauce reaches the desired consistency.
  • Add some black pepper to taste.
  •  Serve warm and enjoy!

I want to note that you can use boneless, skinless chicken if needed.  You may have to add more bouillon granules to enhance the flavor, though.  Back in the day, my family almost always ate chicken and dumplings on Sundays and at family gatherings as a side dish to a smorgasbord of other foods, but these are good and hearty enough to also make a great meal any day of the week.

I really hope you try this recipe.  It seems like a lot of steps, I know, but you’ll be surprised at how fast it goes.  Plus, nothing beats the reward of hearing your loved ones “ooo” and “ahhh” over it. 😉

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