Chicken n' Dumplings

I blended recipes from Alton Brown and Paula Deen, and added some seasoning to make this my own.

Dumplings

These need to dry for at least eight hours, so make them the night before or get up early.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/2 cup skim milk, chilled

Directions

Sift together the dry ingredients. With your fingers, work the shortening into the flour like a crumble. Be careful to not overwork the dough, or the dumplings will be tough. Add the milk a few spoonfuls at a time until you can form a rough ball. Divide into two pieces and roll each out as thin as you can. Alton's recipe said 1/16", but mine were closer to 1/8" and worked fine. Work on a piece of floured parchment or wax paper to make it easier to handle the rolled-out dumplings. When the dumplings have dried out, cut them into 1/2" strips, then cut those about 2-3" long. A pizza wheel works great for this.

Chicken

If you use a whole chicken, you can make stock from the carcass. I guess you could buy one already cut up and forgo the stock, or use leg quarters. But seriously, this is a get-your-hands-dirty dish, and carving a chicken into pieces is fun.

4-6 lb. Chicken, cut into eight pieces
5 ribs celery, sliced thin
1 large onion, chopped
3 teaspoons kosher salt
Several grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 vegetable bullion cube
Water

Directions

Put everything in a dutch oven or big pot. Add enough water to cover, maybe an inch more. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

When the time is up, turn off the heat and remove the chicken pieces so they can cool down. Strain the broth from the veggies -- keep the veggies in a large bowl, and return the broth to the pot. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and tear the meat in bite-size pieces. Put the meat in the bowl with the veggies. If you're making a stock, (you are, right?) add the bones & skin to it.

Put It All Together

Bring the broth to a boil and drop the dumplings in. Don't stir, though you can use the back of a spoon to push the dumplings down into the water to make sure they're covered. Let them cook for 10 minutes, then add the veggies and chicken back in and stir everything together. If you want to thicken the soup up, add a little cornstarch (I used about 1 tablespoon) at this point.

Enjoy!