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!