Directions

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  1. Prepare chicken with care, according to handling instructions, removing the inner packet if present, and thoroughly washing the bird.
  2. Place whole chicken in a large stock pot and cover with filtered water. You can season the water with salt and pepper and a little garlic and onions if you want. But it is not needed.
  3. Bring the chicken to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and continue to boil until the chicken is falling off the bone. This will take about 3 hours and you will need to add water from time to time to keep the chicken covered and the pot about 3/4 of the way full.
  4. Once the chicken begins to fall off the bone (you can test this by carefully inserting a spoon and gently pushing on the breast to see how tender it has gotten), turn the heat down to med-low and take a large slotted spoon and begin to scoop out the chicken and bones into a colander that you set on top of a large bowl to catch the drippings. Leave the broth in the pot for later.
  5. Set the chicken and bones aside to cool and leave the broth cooking on med-low.
  6. For the dumplings, sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  7. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or blender, or with your hands. Sometimes I use a large metal form to cut in the shortening.
  8. Pour in the milk and stir until well blended.
  9. Turn the dough onto a floured surface, knead for one minute (about 10 times) and roll or pat out the dough to a thin layer about 1/4 inch thick. NOTE: Make certain you flour your surface well before doing this to prevent sticking.
  10. Next, take a large knife and carefully cut the dough top to bottom in 1 inch wide strips, leaving the dough on the counter. Then cut side to side, cutting the strips into small rectangles.
  11. Now back to the chicken that has been cooling. Move the colander to the sink and run a little cold water in case there is still some heat. Completely debone the chicken, placing the good pieces of meat in a bowl and discarding the bones.
  12. Next, increase the heat on the broth that has been cooking until you get a nice low boil. Gently begin to transfer the dumplings, about 3 or 4 at a time, waiting 7 or 8 seconds before the next set, into the pot of boiling stock. Essentially, you want to give each set of dumplings a little time to lose their stickiness, or you will be cooking one large wet biscuit, and you do not want that!
  13. Once all the dumplings are in the pot, add the chicken back and continue to cook for about 20 minutes.
  14. Spoon out a dumpling and test for consistency and firmness. When it tastes good, you  are done.
  15. You can garnish with peas and carrots, and serve it hot.