Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
My mawmaw (my mother’s mom) was a great cook. When I think about my childhood, I often think about visiting her house on Sunday’s after church for lunch. One of my FAVORITE things that she often cooked was old fashioned chicken and dumplings. However, she was not the type that wanted people in her kitchen. Also, she never had recipes. So, it was a chore to figure out how she made certain things. (my daddy’s momma was the one who let me in the kitchen). The only reason we have some of her recipes now is because my sister would sit and watch her make things and write down what she did.
Unfortunately, no one ever sat and watched her make her famous old fashioned chicken and dumplings. I do not cook chicken and dumplings often. However, over the past couple of months I have craved them. So, I have been on a mission to make some just like hers. I’ve made them in the past and they were good…but still missing something.
Over the past couple of months, I have made chicken and dumplings three times…which is way unusual. Making dumplings is hard work, but I have been determined to get them right.
Some say third times the charm…and for me it was this time. My third time making them I was finally like ah-ha…they were finally LIKE HERS. By combining what I know she use to do with some other recipes I found on the internet…I finally got it.
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 12 cups of water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 2 1/2 cups of self rising flour
- 1 stick of butter
- 2 cups of milk for broth
- 1 cup of milk for dumplings
First, you will want to boil your two boneless chicken breasts in 12 cups of water with one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. When the chicken is done, you will save this broth – DO NOT THROW OUT. While these are boiling, you can start to prepare your dumplings.
For the dumplings, beat eggs with one cup of milk. Once combined, beat in self rising flour…a little at a time until combined and it holds somewhat of a shape. If it is too thin, you can add a little more flour. Then, you will roll out on a floured surface. When you roll it out, make sure it is good and floured and not sticking on the bottom. If it sticks on the bottom you will have a mess when trying to cut your dumplings.
After this is done, and your chicken is fully cooked, you will cut and drop the dumplings into the boiling chicken broth. I use a knife and just cut out small squares for my dumplings. Roll your dough so that it is pretty thin. Too thick is not good. I usually roll my pretty thin, and then as I cut each of them out…I take my palm and flatten to make even thinner. Use all of your dough. It is going to feel like lots of dumplings…but use every bit of that rolled out dough.
You will drop the dumplings, one at a time, into the boiling chicken broth. Once all dumplings have been added, you will add in the chicken. You can slightly stir during this process in order to find water to drop the dumplings into. But…do not just sit and stir..leave them alone and let them cook. Next, you will add a stick of butter. Once melted, you will add in 2 cups of milk. You can add more if you need more juice. If you do not move quickly on adding the dumplings…some of your water might cook away. So…try to move fast and if you need more liquid..just add the additional milk.
You can add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Lastly, you will cover your dumplings and let them simmer for about an hour. This is what softens your dumplings. Also, you will have to stir occasionally so that the dumplings do not stick….but do not just sit there and stir. If you eat right away, your dumplings are going to be more firm…so let them sit and simmer. I know sometimes it is tempting but it is just better to let them sit for a while.
So, my grandmother always made homemade pickles. For some reason, she always had sweet pickles on the table for us when we ate her old fashioned chicken and dumplings. The first time I cooked the dumplings I got out a jar of homemade pickles (that my mom now makes and mother n law) to eat with the dumplings. My husband thought I was gross. But..guess what…now he also likes homemade sweet pickles with his dumplings. I love using the pickles to soak up the juice left in the plate when I am finished.
Oh, and I will do cornbread as well but it is for my husband and not me. My daddy thought that he had to have cornbread with every meal growing up…soo…I am not into cornbread anymore. I guess I had plenty growing up.
Anyway, I hope this recipe is easy for you guys and that you enjoy these old fashioned chicken and dumplings as much as my family does.