Old-Fashioned “Dumplings and Chicken”
Serves: 8 to 10
Hands On Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
1 (5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, with backbone and giblets reserved
1 onion, halved
1 carrot, halved
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 gallon cold water
3 cups self-rising flour
3 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup milk
All-purpose flour, for kneading
To cook the chicken: Combine the chicken parts, giblets, onion, carrot, bay leaves and kosher salt in a large stockpot. Cover with the cold water, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a low simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes. Remove the breasts and transfer to a plate.
Continue to simmer the stock, stirring occasionally, until the broth is richly flavored and the remaining chicken is very tender, 50 to 60 more minutes.
Remove the chicken thighs, wings and drumsticks to the plate with the breasts. Let cool to room temperature. Strain into a second large pot through a fine mesh strainer and season to taste with salt. Discard the remaining chicken parts and vegetables.
Remove the skin, bones and any large pieces of fat from the chicken. Shred or cut into bite-sized pieces.
To make the dumplings: Place the self-rising flour in a large bowl and use your hands to create a hole in the center of the flour. Pour the eggs and the the milk into the hole and, using your hands, mix the eggs and milk into the flour to form a stiff dough.
Use the all-purpose flour to heavily flour a work surface. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and knead until smooth. Cut the dough in half.
On the heavily-floured counter, roll one half of the dough until it measures between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Cut into strips about 1 inch wide and 2 inches long. Transfer to a floured baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
Return the strained broth to a rapid simmer over medium-high. Add the dumplings and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until puffed and cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat to low and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute. Serve hot, with optional garnishes (see note).
About the recipe
This old-fashioned recipe, courtesy of Chief Merchant Sean Pruett’s Mammaw, is just as much a dumpling dish as it is a chicken soup. The original recipe starts with a bowlful of self-rising flour and ends with a pot full of slippery, toothsome dumplings. Feel free to serve this dish with as much of the resulting broth as you’d like. While traditional served as is, we like to add optional garnishes of parsley and freshly ground black pepper for (just a little) oomph. Add as you see fit.