For my part, I’ll share my mom's recipe — or, my mom's mom's recipe — with the class. Mind you, I haven't made chicken 'n' dumpling soup in a while, in part because no matter what I do or change about the recipe, my mom's version is always much better than my own. Worth noting here is that while she eyeballs every step of the recipe, I tend to find myself having flashbacks to HS chemistry lab, measuring out each ingredient to the point of absurdity. It's a habit I've since kicked, but I still know my mom's Chicken 'n' Dumpling soup will always be tastier and more wholesome than my own. In the end, I'd have it no other way.
- (1) whole chicken (3-½ to 4 pounds)
- (2 - 3) quarts cold water
- (1) white onion
- (1 - 2) celery stalks
- (½) teaspoon of garlic powder
- (4 - 6) chicken bouillon cubes
- (1 - 1½ ) cup whole milk OR (½ - 1) cup half-and-half
- (2 - 3) cups of flour
- (1 - 2) cups of Crisco vegetable shortening
- (5 - 6) tablespoons of butter [(2 - 3) cups for dumplings; (4 - 5) cups for roux]
- (¼ - ½) teaspoon pepper & salt
- Fresh parsley (optional)
Starting with the dumpling, cut flour with vegetable shortening until they stick together and can be rolled into a ball. Sprinkle each ball with some extra flour so it doesn’t stick to your rolling pin when you begin flattening them into dumplings, gradually sprinkling additional bits of flour as you roll your dumplings thinner and thinner. Once ready, set your thinly rolled dumplings to the side for later.
Next up, take your whole chicken and place it in a large pot of cold water, adding white onion and celery stalks, ensuring that the chicken is fully submerged in the water before bringing it to a boil. While the pot heats up, begin making the roux by melting butter over a low heat in a heavy-bottomed pot, and by adding ~½ cup of flour, whisking them together until the consistency is thick and the color an almond brown. Add whole milk or half-and-half to color and thicken soup, begin stirring in the roux at a gradual pace, while also seasoning your water with garlic powder and salt, throwing in cubes of chicken bullion to boost flavor and adding parsley for color. Add roux only until the consistency of the soup meets your preferences.
Boil for 60-to-90 minutes, feeling things out for when to stop the boil, turning off the stove and waiting about ten minutes before removing the whole chicken. To the side, then, pull chicken off the bone until properly shredded. Bring soup to a simmer, add shredded chicken as well as pre-rolled dumplings, optionally stirring in more roux to meet your desired consistency. Remember to stir continually, otherwise the dumplings will begin to clump rather than soften. Simmer for about 35 minutes, grab your trusty ladle, and serve!