My grandmother, Mama Nell, made amazing chicken and dumplings. We grew up with 'slick' dumplings. That could be the reason I'm so crazy about all kinds of pasta--they're very similar! I wouldn't say we took them for granted, because we frequently begged for them, but we didn't spend as much time as we should have learning her recipe and technique. Mama and I have tried to recreate Mama Nell's Chicken and Dumplings. This is pretty darn close, but maybe no one could make them as well as Mama Nell. Thank you, Mama, for helping me try! —Annelle
Chicken and Broth
whole chicken cut into pieces
medium sweet onion, roughly chopped
celery stalks and leaves, roughly chopped
carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
coarsely ground pepper
cooled chicken broth (add an ice cube to cool)
vegetable oil, unless broth has lots of fat, may need a little less
all purpose flour
butter, flour and 1/4 cup whipping cream to finish
Put vegetable oil in large pot on medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until onions are transparent.
Add chicken pieces and bay leaf. Cover with water. Add two teaspoons salt and one teaspoon pepper. Simmer until chicken is tender enough to fall easily from the bone, probably about 25 minutes. May have to add more water to keep chicken covered.
Remove chicken from broth with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl to cool. Pour the broth through a colander and then pour strained broth back into the pot. Taste the broth and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Put flour in a bowl and slowly add beaten eggs, chicken broth, oil, and salt into center, mixing it into the flour with a fork. Keep mixing until it forms a ball. Knead dough in the bowl a couple of times to form a nice soft ball. Dough shouldn’t be sticky. Add more flour if needed. Refrigerate dough for a couple of hours.
Divide the dough in half. Spread a newspaper on the counter, flour the paper and roll the dough on the paper until it is very thin. With a knife, cut the dough into strips about 1 inch wide. Then cut the strips into ~5 inch pieces. Let the dumplings sit for a while (10-15 minutes) to dry. Repeat with second half of dough
Remove skin and bones from cooling chicken and discard. Tear chicken into bite sized pieces using two forks and set aside until ready to add back to pot.
Bring broth to simmer. Gently slip the dumpling strips into simmering broth and let them cook for about fifteen minutes. Don’t stir, but you may have to separate dumplings as you’re adding with the end of a wooden spoon.
*To thicken broth, add two tablespoons room temperature butter to two tablespoons flour and combine well. Add to simmering broth and dumplings and stir to thicken, along with one-fourth cup whipping cream.
Add chicken to broth and dumplings. Turn heat to low. When chicken is heated through, serve in bowls and enjoy!