I don’t make chicken and dumplings very often. My husband loved them, but he’s gone. My daughter and her husband aren’t crazy about them, and my granddaughter just decided she might like them again just a few months ago. I say might like them ‘again’ because she ate so many one time when she was little that she got a stomachache! Was that more information than you wanted?
This past week, I was suddenly craving chicken and dumplings, so I bought a whole chicken and planned my dumpling making day! For me, the broth and the boiled chicken are as important as the dumpling flavor. I have to figure out a way to use all that chicken, and I love keeping a couple cups of the broth to start a pot of soup later on. It is so good.
To make a good stock for dumplings, plan on gently boiling your chicken for 15 minutes for every pound of chicken. Make sure you wash the chicken inside and out. If you are lucky enough to get giblets with your whole chicken, wash those in cold water. You certainly want to add them to the stock pot. Add enough cold water to the stock pot to cover the chicken. Add an onion cut in quarters, 2 carrots cut in chunks and 2 stalks of celery cut in chunks. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and another teaspoon of ground black pepper. A clove of garlic and a bay leaf will add incredible flavor. When I have fresh sage, I add a stem of the leaves. My chicken simmered for 3 hours then I removed all the meat and bones from the stock and set it aside to cool. I removed 3 cups of the stock from the pot … 2 cups to freeze for later and 1 cup to cool for the dumpling dough. I added a pinch of saffron to the stock and brought it back to a simmer while I prepared the dumpling dough. After the chicken cools enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones.
To make the dumplings …
Gently beat together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 egg and 1 cup of warm chicken stock. Don't add boiling hot stock to this because it will scramble your egg. Let the stock cool a bit before you add it.
On a floured board, gently knead in a little extra flour until you can handle the dough. It will be warm and pliable. Carefully roll the dough to a thickness of about ¼ inch and cut into 2 inch squares.
I actually use a clean flour sack dish towel to roll my dumplings on! You can take it outside and shake out the flour when you are done and throw it in the washing machine.
Drop the dumplings into the simmering broth, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chicken meat back in after the dumplings are done.
I don’t add all the chicken back to the pot because one person can’t eat all that! I freeze it for use in chicken sandwich salad and a couple casseroles. If you are cooking for a crowd, you might want to double the dumpling recipe and add back all the meat.