Sunday Suppers: Chicken and Dumplin’s

The lone photo.  I'm sorry I am such a terrible Chronicler of The Feast.

The lone photo. I'm sorry I am such a terrible Chronicler of The Feast.

Before we get started:  In this case, the apostrophe takes the place of the g in dumpling.  Please do not think I don't know the difference between a plural and a possessive, because I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.  Thank you.

So, yesterday, we again made the trek down to Pinehurst to visit with Auntie Ev, Uncle Ray and Auntie 'Leenie.  As we often do, we took a lunch for us all to enjoy.  I asked Uncle Ray what they would like, and he said salami sandwiches.  Let me just say that Uncle Ray is taking some serious diuretics right now, and even I, the Salt Queen, couldn't agree to that.   It wouldn't do to be taking coals to Newcastle, giving the cobbler's child shoes or giving more salt to Mr. Water Retention.  And if I haven't told you, he'll be 93 in October.

The Beloved and I went to the store, saw some lovely organic, free range chicken and some frozen (the horror!) dumplings with all natural ingredients--no hydrogenated fats; no HFCS (of course I checked the label).  Add some broth to make it double-chickeny and some vegetables because they don't eat enough of them, and chicken and dumplings avec veggies it was.

We took our bounty with us, and all were very Pleased with the meal.  Of course, since I'm me, I forgot to take pictures of The Making of the Meal.  I figured that I'd just take my camera and take pictures in Pinehurst like I did on Chicken Noodle Soup Day.  I took the camera and didn't take any pictures.  The only picture I have is from our twice-reheated early supper today.  (Sorry)  We rounded out our meal with some whole grain bread and goat cheese.  And wine, from North Georgia, of course.

Underdocumented Chicken and Dumplin's

  • one whole chicken
  • a box of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, cut up
  • 2 stalks celery, cut up
  • 2 carrots, chopped (I thought "cut up" would be redundant)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • about 15 peppercorns
  • Old Bay, to taste  (I just can't get enough)
  • a judicious amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 frozen dumplings, the flat noodle kind that look like mini-lasagne noodles
  • 1/2 bag frozen mixed organic veggies from TJ's
  • 6 oz. sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup half and half or cream (optional)
  • cornstarch slurry
  • lemon juice

First, I put the chicken in a pot with the chicken broth and cut up vegetables, garlic, thyme and enough water to barely cover.  I threw in the peppercorns and about a teaspoon of salt, as well.

I simmered the chicken until his skin was softened and some of the fat had rendered into the broth.  Then, I pulled out the chicken, deprived him of his skin (thanking said chicken for helping to make a lovely meal for the relatives) and then placed him, skinless, back into the pot.

I let him simmer for another 45 minutes or so then removed him again and let him cool just slightly.

While he was cooling off some, I skimmed the fat off the stock and strained it into another pot, bringing it to a boil.   I added some Old Bay, because I like it.  Then, I tossed in the dumplings and simmered them on low-ish heat until they were done, about 30 minutes.  I also added the mushrooms and frozen veggies.  While everyone was cooking, I sliced all the meat off of the chicken carcass, freezing him for stock another day.

Once the dumplings were cooked, I added a few splashes of half and half--not a lot.  I tasted and corrected seasonings, leaving it somewhat under-salted.

Then, I added in the cut up chicken and thickened the whole thing up quite a bit with a cornstarch slurry.  I brightened up the flavors at the end with some lemon juice (to wake it up and to make up for the Lack of Salt).

And that's how that went.  I must say, it reheated beautifully, although the dumplings tended to lose their Attractive Long Rectangular Shape in the process.  If I were making this just for ourselves, I would have increased the salt and the dairy and left out the veggies.  Then, I would have served it with a side of veggies.  The way I did it this time seemed the path of least resistance to get Uncle Ray to eat carrots, though, and he didn't even complain!

Of course, you could certainly make your own dumplings--the biscuit kind or the noodle kind.

This brings me to a story.  Please don't roll your eyes; you'll enjoy it.  It is a funny yet Cautionary Tale.  About 20 years ago, an old boyfriend and I decided to make chicken and dumplings.  We were unaware of the whole "simmer" concept, so after boiling for 30 minutes, our lovely homemade noodle dumplings had completely disintegrated and joined Team Broth.  Traitor Dumplings.  We looked in there, didn't see any dumplings, looked at each other in horror and were all "Where the hell did they GO?!"  Ah, youth.  We ended up eating Chicken a la King from a can.

The good news is that a)I can warn you of the Perils of Boiling Dumplings and b)we wrote a country song to commemorate our Sad Experience.  Here is the chorus:

Dumplin's, oh dumplin's!  Oh why did you depart?
Why did you leave us standin' here by the stove with a broken heart?
Oh, we followed the directions and did just what they said,
But when we checked the dumplin's, we found that they had fled!

I can't remember the rest, but I do remember the last line:

"So we opened up the cupboard.....and made Chicken a la King!"

Catchy, n'est-ce pas?!  I hope that you learn from our Dumplin' Disaster.  Enjoy, all!


  1. says

    hahahahaha!!! i’m chortlin’ (in this case, the apostrophe takes the place of the g in chortling) … your disappearing dumplings story reminds me of the time i made strawberry shortcake for a friend … he had shown up on my doorstep with fresh strawberries from Oregon – a land far, far away … i used a lot of shortening to grease the shortcake pan (because my mother’s always stuck to the bottom)… it flew across the kitchen when i gave it a healthy shake to loosen it … but that was okay, he caught it … the funny part of the story is the horrified expression on his face when i started mashing the strawberries with a potato masher (again, my mother’s fault – i had never, ever eaten a fresh strawberry – ours always came from the freezer section of the grocery store) and sprinkling massive amounts of sugar on them … he screamed, “WHATTHE HELLAREYOUDOING???!!???”

    more chortling … hahahahahahaha, snort, hahahahaha!

  2. says

    Looks awful good and I could go for some right now even though it’s morning 😉 I eat odd breakfasts…

    Hey, there’s a topic for you – Odd Breakfasts I Have Had!

    Smack! Get the bag o’ frozen peas out!

  3. says

    Dumplin’s make a very fine topic for a country song – your talents know no bounds! I grew up eating stew and dumplin’s, as well as spuds, and they are very dear to my heart. I have sorely neglected them in recent years, though, making way for fancier foodstuffs. I think I feel a song about down-on-their-luck dumplin’s coming on… 🙂

  4. says

    @dianne ‘ware the flying shortcake! 😆

    @Natasha The only reason it was funny at the time was that some wine was involved. 😛 Otherwise, we were very sad!

    @Libby I will not rise to the bait on odd breakfasts, although a Sunday Supper sometime might be a breakfast-for-dinner post 🙂

    @Daily Spud Perhaps we should start a band?! 😉

    @Reluctant Gourmet I can almost guarantee your family will love it!

  5. says

    Ah yes, the disappearing dumpling conundrum – I know it well!

    Question: Isn”t it a no-no to add lemon juice (or other acid) to a concoction that contains dairy?

    • says

      Good question, groovy. The rule has 2 parts: Part 1: adding lemon to very fatty dairy (cream) is fine, because the fat acts as a buffer and keeps the proteins in the cream from coagulating (which is what that curdled stuff really is–clumps of protein). Part 2: If you want to use a less fatty dairy product (1/2 and 1/2, like I used, sour cream, yogurt, etc) you can as long as there is enough starch in it. The starch plays the part of the fat inasmuch as it acts as a buffer. I thickened my stock w/a cornstarch slurry before adding the lemon juice. Voila, no curdling. Once both lemon and dairy are in the boat, however, don’t let the thing come to a boil, or it might just curdle anyway, out of sheer contrary-ness!

    • says

      Good question, Paul. Yes, they are. As a matter of fact, my neighbor calls them Chicken and Pastry. I guess it’s just like “soda” “coke” or “pop”–it depends on where you live. 🙂

  6. Deb says

    Jenni, living in a small rural town in north central NM, I know I won’t be able to find the frozen dumplings. I’ll look for them in Santa Fe tomorrow when we drive down there, but do you have a substitute suggestion if I can’t find them?

  7. Deb says

    OK… just read to the bottom of the recipe to see the dumpling recipe. Duh…

    As Rosanna Rosanna Danna would say… “Never mind…”

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