Here, on the Eastern Shore, chicken & dumplings might as well be a food group. My mom made chicken or turkey and dumplings as I was growing up, but she made drop dumplings. Tender, biscuit-like little pillows. Fluffy dumplings. While they were delicious, they were never my favorite. My first “slick” dumpling was at the local Chincoteague Fire Department Pony Penning dinner. The Ladies Auxiliary sells tickets for a chicken & dumpling dinner, served immediately following the saltwater cowboy’s return to the carnival grounds with the wild horses that have made the swim. It’s really more like lunch, considering it’s served at around noon – but, here on the shore lunch is “dinner”, and dinner is “supper”.
After my first bite at the fair grounds, I was sold on rolled dumplings. Thick, chewy pieces of eggless pasta – swimming in a rich chicken broth, with lots of tender pieces of chicken. Comfort food at it’s finest! Once I married a man from the island, I knew I had to get my chicken & dumps recipe straight. Like I said before, for a Chincoteaguer, it’s almost a food group. For a couple of years I used dumplings I found in the freezer section, which is well and good. But, I knew I’d really take pride in making them from scratch. Flour, milk, and salt is all you need to make them happen. I usually do a double batch of the dumplings, as I’ve found this recipe doesn’t produce as many as I like. Homemade chicken stock is always your best bet, but a low-sodium store-bought stock is okay in a pinch. I’ll usually just pull the meat off a roasted chicken and refrigerate, make the stock from the carcass, and use the reserved chicken to combine with the dumplings. A favorite dish in our home, it doesn’t get more comforting than this!
Chicken & Slick Dumplings
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus about 1 cup for rolling
11 ounces milk
1½ teaspoons baking powder
4 quarts chicken stock or broth
Meat from 1 roasted or rotisserie chicken
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Place flour, milk, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir just until the dough beings to come together. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes.
Place broth in a large dutch oven over medium heat and bring to a rolling boil.
Lay down 2 large pieces of parchment or freezer paper and tape them to the counter (I have quartz countertops, and usually skip this step. Also, a pastry mat would be great too). Generously sprinkle the surface with flour, about 1/2 cup. Divide the dough in half. Roll one half of the dough 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, generously sprinkling more flour onto the dough so that it is well coated. Slice the dough into 1-inch-wide strips and then into 1-inch squares. Set the dumplings aside on a sheet pan. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
When all of the dumplings are cut, gently drop them into the boiling broth, a handful at a time. Once all of the dumplings have been added, cook for 35 minutes at a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. After the sauce has thickened well, add the chicken and pepper and stir to combine. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or just until the meat is heated through.
Source: adapted from Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run