Chicken and dumplings was a Missouri staple. Actually, in Missouri, it was common to eat some type of gravy almost every day. Unfortunately my grandma’s chicken and dumpling recipe was something she just did by heart. No one really remembers it. This recipe is pretty close to what hers tasted like. I have heard that she made the dumplings a day early and let them dry on the counter. Her dumplings were firm and not fluffy. They were thin rectangles and never had raw centers. Next time, I will try that trick and see if it changes the texture to more dense as I remember them.
3 quarts water
3-4 pounds whole chicken cut up or bone in chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 bay leaf
4-5 sprigs parsley
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
Bring the water to a boil. Add the chicken, salt, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and parsley. Simmer uncovered for 2 hours. The liquid is supposed to reduce by 1/3.
When the chicken is fully cooked remove it from the pot and let it set out to cool. I did not cook the chicken a full 2 hours. I removed it after about 40 minutes and I could have removed it sooner.
After the 2 hours of simmering, strain the broth. Discard all the veggies and spices.
Add 6 cups of the stock back into the pot. Add the coarse ground pepper and lemon juice. Add more salt if desired. Heat the stock on medium heat while making the dumplings.
For the dumplings, mix all. Stir until smooth and then let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Roll the dough on a floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. I used a pizza cutter. These do not need to be perfect in appearance at all. I let my 5 year old cut them.
Drop the dumplings into simmering stock one by one. They will first double in size, then they will slowly shrink as the sauce becomes thicker. Stir them often. Do not cover the pot. Here are some photos of the changes you will see. Simmer them 30 minutes. Shred the chicken in between stirring the dumplings.
Place the chicken back into the pot. Make sure to add just the meat and not the skin or bones. Simmer for another 10 minutes.