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Chicken and Dumplings

Serves 4

The Pennsylvania Dutch love dumplings, as in this recipe for chicken and dumplings. It really is quite easy, although it takes some time when you cook your chicken from scratch. You will note that I use one half of a chicken. I often buy them whole, about four pounds each, and then halve and freeze them for later use because a whole chicken is more meat than you need for most soups or stews. If you prefer, use a whole chicken and save half of the meat for another use. This recipe could also be made with made ahead or store-bought chicken broth and cooked chicken, but homemade is always best.


   Chicken and Broth    Dumplings

For the Chicken and Broth: Heat a 4 or 5 quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; add to the pot and brown, about 3 minutes per side. Pour in the water; add the whole celery rib, carrot, onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, remove chicken from bones, discard skin, and pull apart or cut into bite-size pieces. Strain the broth and skim off most of fat. Taste for seasoning.

Bring the broth to a boil in the same pot. Add the sliced onions, celery and potatoes. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Add the reserved chicken. If desired, add flour and water paste to thicken broth slightly but not too much as the dough will also thicken it.

For dumplings: Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the parsley and pepper. Cut in the butter with two knives or pastry cutter. Stir in the egg. Gradually add enough milk to make a moist but fairly stiff dough. Drop dough by tablespoons into gently simmering chicken mixture. Cover tightly and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until dumplings are done. Serve immediately.

Notes: The amount of chicken, broth and vegetables can be increased to serve 6 or 8 without adding more dumplings since there is an ample amount.