Winter Warmers: Lea’s Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplingsMy dear mother-in-law, now 83 years old, is simply the best cook I have ever known. Cooking wonderful food for others remains one of her greatest joys in life and she continues to cook or bake for hours upon hours each week. Although she can compete with the chefs that rule today’s Food Channel, her upbringing in the hills of southeastern Oklahoma means she’s an expert with old Southern favorites as well. Our family has enjoyed many a cold winter day savoring her Chicken and Dumplings. This recipe is from her cookbook she penned for family and friends more than twenty-five years ago.

Chicken and Dumplings

Boil one fat chicken or use chicken pieces. Cover with water. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tender. Remove chicken from broth and take out 2/3 cup of broth for the dumplings.

Dumplings:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3+ cup broth*
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ t. baking powder

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together. Beat egg, add broth, and mix with dry ingredients. Divide dough into three parts. Turn on floured board and knead lightly. Roll out to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1 ½” squares. Add one at a time to boiling liquid (broth). After all dumplings are in broth, add 1 to 2 cups milk, salt and pepper well, and cover. Simmer slowly for about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

*Notice the + after the 2/3 cup broth. Sometimes you need to add another Tbsp of broth. This is a stiff dough, about the consistency of yeast roll dough. Divide dough in 3 parts to roll out and it rolls easier.

Personal note: Although she doesn’t mention this specifically in the recipe, we remove the chicken from the broth, debone, and remove the skin. Then we cut the chicken in smaller pieces and add back into the dumplings once cooked.

A note from the original cook: As I checked with my mother-in-law this morning to see if she had made any changes over the years, she added one tip. Make sure you boil a fat chicken for a rich broth. Just chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken will not yield this broth. If you (like me) prefer only white meat in your dumplings, boil leg or thigh pieces in your broth along with the chicken breasts to richen the broth.

– Lea AAR

3 thoughts on “Winter Warmers: Lea’s Chicken and Dumplings

  1. LinnieGayl AAR

    This sounds so good, Lea. I haven’t made chicken and dumplings in years and this sounds far superior to what I did. I’d never heard of adding chicken broth to the dumpling ingredients but imagine that adds a lot of flavor.

    And the part about cooking a fatty chicken for the broth is a good one. In recent years I’ve used boneless, skinless chicken breasts to make chicken soup and it’s really lacking in flavor. Thanks!

    1. Lea Hensley

      Both my husband and I make these (he’s the better cook by far) but his always tastes better than mine. After I checked with his mom that morning, I asked him if he used fatty chicken (although we are all-white-meat fans) and he does, in fact, use leg and thigh pieces in the broth.

Comments are closed.