Chicken and Dumplings...True Southern Comfort!

 
 
Chicken and dumplings, like so many of the southern classics, was more than likely born out of the need to stretch a meal to feed a lot of people.   Killing a chicken for dinner was not something you did every day years ago on the farm when those chickens laid eggs, eggs that could be sold or traded for other staples you needed, but didn't produce yourself...like coffee and flour or sugar.   So if you sacrificed a chicken it was a big deal and you probably only gave up one.  One chicken was more than likely not enough to feed a housefull of kids, mama and daddy, and maybe grandma, grandpa and at times the farm hands.   This is where using flour to stretch that chicken out and fill a big ole pot full of goodness came in.  Nothing fills you up like all that doughy goodness and broth of a steaming bowl of dumplings.  The chicken becomes the less important part of the meal when homemade dumplings take center stage.   Weren't our southern ancestors smart people? 
 
Chicken and dumplings are also one of those classics that there must be thousands of recipes and techniques for making.  Nobody does it just the same.  Some cooks put shortening in the dough, some put butter, some use eggs, some just the chicken broth,  some people even make them with canned biscuits...you know what I think of that method, if you have read many of my posts...lol.  I won't elaborate on it further, but please don't do it.   Learn to make them the right way.  It's not hard, I promise and even if they aren't perfect, they will be better than made with canned biscuits.  I get queasy even typing that canned biscuit thing.   
 
OK, I admit it, I am a bit of a dumpling snob and my mother is to blame for this (just joking..sort of ).  Mama would say, of course, "I am to blame, the mother always gets blamed for everything"..in her best Jewish mother's voice (no we are not Jewish, but maybe should have been).  She's right by the way. We (mothers) do get blamed for everything, but that is a post for another day.  However, in this case, it's a good thing, because my mother can flat make some chicken and dumplings.  
 
My mother credits her dumpling recipe to one of her lifelong best friend's grandmother.  When Mama first married, she moved to Louisville, Ky from a town at the time that was much, much smaller.   Her best friend's grandmother, Goldie, also lived there and according to my mother, she was the best cook in the world.  She made the most wonderful dishes with the simplest ingredients and her chicken and dumplings were to die for.   My mother, being a new bride, wanted to learn, so Goldie taught her some of what she knew and chicken and dumplings was one of those things.  I think this lady gave my mother something much more than her recipes at a time she really needed it and that was comfort.   Mama was a young girl from the country, newly married and moved to a big, unfamiliar city with none of her own family anywhere near her and Goldie looked after her to some extent.  I would say that out of all of the probably hundreds of recipes my mother cooks and knows by heart, this one might be the most special to her.  
 
I have been blessed to have my mother around to teach me all of her recipes and she taught me to make dumplings a long time ago and I follow her method exactly, but my chicken and dumplings are never as good to me as my mother's, which is why I went to her to make these for you all.  Here is what you will need:
 
 4 whole chicken breasts, with the skin on ( you can use a whole chicken, but we only use the white meat in the dumplings)  
2 carrots, peeled and cut in about 2 inch pieces
1 onion, peeled and chopped in big pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut in 2 inch pieces
3 whole bay leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. chicken bouillon granules or 3 chicken bullion cubes
1 can cream of chicken soup
 
Dumpling Dough
2 cups self rising flour
1 cup chicken broth, chilled
 
Place the chicken breasts, the carrots, onion, celery, bay leaves, chicken bouillon granules, and salt in a dutch oven or similar big pan or stock pot and just cover with water.  Bring this to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered for about an hour and a half or two hours.  The chicken should be so tender it is falling off of the bone.  It's important to use the skin on chicken with the bones for this because this is what gives you the rich broth for your dumplings.   Remove the chicken to cool.  Once it has cooled, debone and either shred it or just sort of chop it in big pieces...not itty bitty pieces, they will get lost in the dumplings.  We only use white meat in our chicken and dumplings, but if you used a whole chicken do what you like. 
 
 
 
Place the strained, clear broth back in your pan. Discard the vegetables and bay leaves. This should be about 3 quarts of broth.Take 1 cup and reserve it for your dumplings.  Place it in the refrigerator to chill.  If I am in a hurry I put it in the freezer for a bit, but don't let it freeze.  Once the broth is chilled, you mix it with the 2 cup self rising flour to make the dough for your dumplings.  Mix to incorporate and knead just enough to make soft dough.  Do not over work the dough or your dumplings will be tough.   You can do all of this prep the day before you intend to serve this and the just store it all in the refrigerator overnight.  The dough rolls like a dream if it's cold actually, but I never plan ahead like that and just roll mine out as is.  I don't have a problem with them, as long as the broth has gotten real cold before hand.   Before you start to roll the dough and make the dumplings, add the cream of chicken soup to the broth and whisk it to mix, and turn it on medium/high heat to bring it up to a boil.   You probably won't need any more salt in this, because of the sodium in the canned soup, but taste the broth and season to your taste.  
 
 
 
Roll 1/2 the dough out on a floured surface.  My mother uses a marble slab which works great, what can I say that's how Mama rolls...lol ( okay, bad I know), but if you don't have one, like me, use wax paper, floured. Roll thin, about 1/8th of an inch. 
 
Sprinkle the dough with a little black pepper to your taste.  At home, I use a lot, my mother doesn't care for so much.  We use a pizza cutter to cut the dumplings.  You can use a sharp knife also.  It's so much easier taking pictures when someone else is doing the work! 
 


 
Cut all the way across in one direction and then cut across them vertically to make sort of rectangles.  This does not have to perfect by any means.
This is a better picture of how they will look.  Pick up several at a time and start to drop them in the boiling broth.  After these are all dropped, stir them gently around ONLY ONCE to be sure they aren't sticking together.  If you stand and stir the dumplings a lot, they will break up and you will have just soup.    The dumplings will puff some during this since they are made with self rising flour.  It's normal.
 
 
Roll the second half of the dough and drop these in the broth.  Turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 5 -10 minutes uncovered. 
 
 
Add the chicken and GENTLY stir it in.  You can cover the pot now.  The dumplings are cooked at this point.  Turn down to low.  When it is all heated through, the dumplings are ready to serve.
 
 
 
Mama's Chicken and Dumplings!
 
 
 
 
 
 


57 comments:

  1. Oh my! I want this now and it's still "breakfast time"! Pinning and sharing on my FB page!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I really appreciate it! :)

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    2. Looks great Kathy... pretty clide to my recipe too ...going to try yours this Sunday

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  4. Wow...now I want to try this and I've never made this before

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  5. Sounds delicious to me, can't wait to try!

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  6. I'm really excited to have found you! Can't wait to try this and several others. Thanks for sharing with us, much appreciated and enjoyed. God Bless.

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  7. Thanks for sharing.I always use can of cream of chicken soup,with my broth.It gives the broths a richer favor.And I use butter me knots biscuits,and lately.I've been use these we got in Ga,in Piggy Wiggly.And a box,they are so good.Have tried many.The bisquik ones dissolves.But I can't wait to make these dumplings from scratch.Years ago,my sister n I made with flour n water mixture.Think these will be better.Going try soon.Thanks again for sharing again.Cindy in Fla

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  8. Sounds good, but I prefer the puffy dumplins to the rolled ones, probally same concept, except do not
    roll them out, just drop them in the hot broth by
    spoonfuls.

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    1. That's how my granny made them. She'd mix together a dough just like she was going to make biscuits and drop in portions about half to a third the size of a regular biscuit. The center stayed fluffy while the outside really thickened and soaked up the broth. Never did like the rolled out kind because of the "packy" texture throughout the dumpling. Different regions of the South do it differently, I suppose.

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  9. We don't use carotts and all that

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  10. OKay, so I know you are going to eat me up but I buy Walmart Rotisserie Chicken ( shoot) I know that is not spelled right.. anyway I take the meat off the bone and use cream of chicken soup with canned broth and make chicken and dumplings. Don't tell my family for they think I labor all day long cooking this just for them, Betty Boop

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  11. You don't leave the carrots and celery in the broth. You just cook them with the chicken to make a proper broth. They flavor the broth and add dimension to it.

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  12. Do you keep the first batch of dumplings in the pot when you add the second batch?

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  13. Do you leave the first batch of dumplings in the pot as you add the second batch?

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  14. Yes, you just add the second batch to the pot with the first batch. The dumplings don't really over cook and the time between the two batches is not that long. Leave the top off while you roll and cut the second batch.

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  15. just made this and it was great! My daughter and boyfriend said it was the best thing I ever made...HAHAHAH. Thanks for this..

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  16. Made this tonight using your dumpling recipe, but the rest was my mommas recipe. I can't make the fluffy kind but these turned out YUMMY!!! Thanks!

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  17. Thanks I think we will have this tonight

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  18. Sometimes, for whatever reason, my Mama would serve the chicken on the side. Did not matter. The dumplings were still delicious. Once I froze some. When I heated them up, they came all to pieces. No problem. Kind of like a thick cream soup. Still had the flavor of a pot of dumplings.

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  19. Love Chicken and Dumplings and while I make strip dumplings I am gonna try yours...never make enough for my son, he loves the dumplings! Great recipe!

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  20. I used to make these all the time when I was a newly wed...now I'm a single mom, busy as ever with work, kids, and school, but I am so glad for the reminder of how great chicken n' dumplin's is. I had a similiar recipe, sans the cream of chicken soup. I also added crushed thyme to the dumplings and dropped them by the spoonful. I'm going to try your recipe, looks yummy and I love the tradition behind it! Thanks for sharing, Ms Kathy :)

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  21. Oh My Goodness! This looks amazing! This is dinner for tonight!By the way, I absolutely adore your blog! Its one of the few that I have actually tagged and have come back to for reference often.

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  22. I still think mine are better with biscuits. To each their own version.

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    1. Why would you even say that...then go make your own. How rude.

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    2. I know I wouldn't like biscuits made into dumplings!

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    3. Dear Anonymous. If you don't like her dumplings then shut up and don't use them. Your laziness with the nasty canned biscuits offends me, but as you said you will do what you want. Nobody cares about what you do anyway...

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  23. So glad I found this! I was just looking for a chicken and dumpling recipe. I have always made drop dumplings and want to try rolled dumplings.

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  24. So funny, just made this this weekend. When one of my babies are sick, that's what they want... Mommas chicken n' dumplings. A solid favorite in my house, true comfort food. I must say, I cheat with Mary B's dumplings-saves me a minute!

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  25. Got to try this recipe!

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  26. Oh...Yum !!! This is exactly the kind my favorite Aunt used to make for me...thanks so much !!!

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  27. do the dumplings turn out chewy or fluffy? Thanks

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  28. I add a little ground sage to the broth.

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  29. Some time ago you had a chicken & dumplings recipe where the dumpling recipe used boiling water - I have made several times super very good stuff. Do you have any idea about the purpose of using boiling water. I have seen it a few times and have not been able to locate what boiling water accomplishes - any idea?

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  30. I wonder if I can use a cup of canned chicken broth and be chilling it while doing other things?

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  31. This is what is cooking for dinner tonight...sounds and looks delicious!!

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  32. I've wanted a great chicken and dumpling recipe. Being from a Hispanic family, mom never cooked any dishes like this. Mexican food is the bomb, but sometimes ya get a hankering for some good ol southern food too!! Thank you for posting it.

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  33. This sounds so yummy! Totally sharing this on my facebook page!

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  34. Totally sharing this yumminess on my facebook page! cant wait to try it!

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  35. This recipe makes me so hungry! Must try!

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  36. I've been craving Chicken and Dumplings for months. This is making my mouth water. The part I always dread is rolling the dough to get the right thickness. The last time I made dumplings, which was several years ago, I found some frozen strips of dumplings in the frozen bread section at Wal-Mart, and they were great. I've never been a fan of eating dumplings made from biscuits.

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  37. I have been thrilled by the many wonderful recipes you have so graciously shared on your blog. I have found many of them to be very familiar, and very much like many of my family's old recipes.

    I was especially delighted to find your Mother's "Chicken and Dumplings" recipe because it is EXACTLY the recipe my Grandma Capps handed down to so many of our family members. It is rare to find two families who make Chicken and Dumplings exactly the same way!!! Thank you Kay, and God Bless you for sharing such wonderful recipes. As Southerners, we take great pride in our simply wonderful, delicious comfort food.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments! That makes what I do every a lot more fun and enjoyable. I am glad you are enjoying the recipes and you are so right about the chicken and dumplings.

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  38. FOR ANYONE WHO DOESN'T EAT MEAT, MY MOTHER MADE POTATO DUMPLINS. JUST DON'T USE CHICKEN. THEY WERE DELISH.

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  39. So simple, and so good. Thank You! My Uncle puts the feet and all in the pot. Its disturbing. Ilove your blog

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  40. This is very similar to Mama's recipe, but I made a couple of changes. Instead of cutting into small squares, I cut into three rectangles that would fit my casserole pan. I layered with the chicken mixture and mozzarella cheese and baked for 20-25 min at 375. Chicken and Dumplings Lasagna. First time I made it, I got one serving, my family ate the rest.

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  41. I bought all the ingredients to make this for tonight's supper. Am coming down with a cold and figured this would make me feel better! :) I never followed a recipe for chicken n' dumplins before, I just made up my own and it is very, very good! I didn't use cream of chicken soup, and I left my veggies in and ate them. I love the recipes you share Kathy and I believe this will be so yummy. But I am just curious why you take the veggies out? To me chicken n' dumplins is similar to beef stew, and that is served with the veggies it cooks with. Not dissin' your recipe at all just curious. I am not a 'true Southerner' actually a native Californian but married a Georgia man and I love, love love down home cooking! :)

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    1. So glad you are trying it. In the South, chicken and dumplings just typically don't have vegetables in the broth. It's just traditionally a thickened broth with the dumplings and the chicken. The vegetables are cooked pretty much down until the nutrients have gone into the broth anyway. It's fine to leave them in, if you like though. Cooking and recipes should be about what you and your family like. I am just glad you tried them.:)

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  42. instead of discaring the veggie cant u still use them in the soup?

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  43. Why do you use a canned soup but refuse to use canned biscuits? Dumplings are dumplings!

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    1. No. Dumplings are not just dumplings. Canned biscuits are nasty and you are just lazy. If you don't like the recipe then shut up and do it your own way with your nasty canned biscuits!

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  44. I'm just gonna tell you a secret! I am going to have my hip replaced in late Dec or Jan. The Doctor said I have to loose 34 pounds and quit smoking and do it.in 6 months. I have 15 pounds to go and just pray about the smoking. Anyway, I have had a steady diet of dill pickles, chocolate 'sprayed' rice cakes, Schwan's sugar free fudge pops and a lot of Progresso Minestrone soup! Now here's the secret. I go to this site or posts and imagine I'm eating many of your recipes! I share them, highlight them and will be making most of them and eating them!!!
    I almost went over the edge when you posted the Salisbury Steak and Mashed Potatoes but girlfriend when you posted this recipes for Chicken and Dumplings I dropped right off the edge, haha!! I love the stories that warm our hearts before we even get to the recipe! Thanks for being my guilty pleasure until I get my new hip!! <3

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  45. Sounds delicious. I am definitely going to try your recipe. Thanks

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  46. This is one of my all time favorite meals. Dumplings should always be rolled, never dropped by spoonfuls, but you had me at Louisville KY!!!

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