Pillowy soft homemade dumplings, rich and hearty chicken soup make up my Grandma’s Famous Chicken and Dumplings recipe!
So as many of you long time TKW Family members know, my Grandma was one amazing woman. She stood all of 4′ nothing, often sporting purple or pink hair and driving a car that most would use for drag racing. She was a pistol to say the least. She’d stand up to the biggest, baddest, meanest person only to make them cry for their Mama…and then she’d offer them a hug, some food and a beer. LOL Grandma ROCKED!
What also rocked about Grandma were her mad kitchen skills. Growing up poor she learned how to cook from what was on hand and some how transform it into something truly magical.
This soup was one of her creations. While we are all from above the Mason-Dixon line, she called this her Southern-Style Chicken Soup. Meaning she put in thick homemade dumplings. Now I know some may think of dumplings as round balls but that’s not these. Hers were rolled out dough, left a tad thick (as dumplings should be hearty) and square/rectangle shaped.
I so looked forward to spending the weekends at her house in the in the winter as we would always make soup of some sorts and most of the time it was this soup. When I was real little I was allow to shred the chicken but as I got older and was sturdy with a knife I would chop the veggies and eventually make the dumpling noodles. Since my Mom taught me at the age of 3 to make bread I was familiar early on in life on how to roll dough. She’d clean everything off of her kitchen table, put the huge wooden board on top and then we’d start to cooking.
I can still so vividly remember her hands, all aged and stiff from arthritis, covering mine showing me how to mix the dough by hand and how to tell when it was ready to roll out. I can picture her fingers, bent and wrinkled showing her years so tenderly covering mine, gently pressing down, telling me to close my eyes and let my fingers “see the dough”. It’s funny because as I’m writing this right now I can picture every detail about that moment – her hands, so soft and tender, always, ALWAYS cold on top of mine. God I miss her.
With this recipe I’m going with a tad bit of assumption that you already have chicken cooked up on hand. If you don’t you can totally use my Pressure Cooker Poached Chicken breasts (you can add boneless thighs to the recipe too for more flavor) and use that chicken in this recipe! Dark meat adds a richness to the broth and dish – I highly recommend it! With grandma she would put a whole chicken in a pot with her water, seasonings, whole onion (with peel), carrots and celery and cook that down for a bit to make her homemade stock and her meat. I’m not doing that today as nowadays you guys want fast while being delicious!
For those that don’t have homemade stock on hand I HIGHLY recommend using the Knorr Homestyle Stock cubes. They taste homemade AND I’ll use them when I don’t have stock on hand. They aren’t salty and the packed with perfect chicken flavor. Most grocery stories carried this but as of late none where I live do so I actually get mine off of Amazon. Also get their beef and veggie stock cubes too! Plus right now there is a 20% off coupon on the chicken and vegetable stock!!!
Grandma would make a huge tub of this soup as when my Dad picked me up on Sunday she’d give him containers to take home for us kids. Of course when he was at her house he’d have to have a bowl or two because we all knew that as soon as he walked in the house with her soup the boys came out from their rooms or wherever they were about the house just to devour this. I don’t think I can ever remember a time when her soup made it past a Sunday night. No one could make the soup like Grandma. For years I tried to replicate it but I could never get it right. It wasn’t that I was forgetting ingredients or missing a step it was well, because Grandma wasn’t there in the kitchen with me.
It may sound strange but the day I got it right was a day I’ll never forget. I was an adult, living on my own and one of those days where I was just truly sad. I hadn’t let myself think about her since her passing as every time I did all I would do is break down and cry. I wasn’t able to get past that point of thinking of her and not crying. It hurt too bad to ‘feel’. I wasn’t able to think of her and smile thinking back on all of those amazing times we shared. All the laughs and inside jokes we shared. I couldn’t think about the time we drove ourselves crazy because we couldn’t figure out what S.A.S.E. meant when we were sending away for free stickers (I was a HUGE stickers freak). It wasn’t until a week later when we realized it was “Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope”. We laughed pretty hard over that calling ourselves dummies. But hey, in our own defense, we didn’t have google or the internet wasn’t even a thing.
So there I was in the kitchen making her soup and I caught a cool draft by the fogged window. A feeling came over me, overwhelming and one that almost knocked the breathe out of me. Instantly every memory I had of her, the details of our times together came rushing back. I tried to fight it but I couldn’t. It just overpowered me. So there I sat, on my kitchen floor crying so hard. I missed my Grandma. I wished she was there with me helping me make the soup and teaching me. At that time my cat came upstairs and looked at me around the corner. He stopped, looked me in the eye and as he rushed over to see me was meowing so hard. I, like every pet owner, talked to my cat as he nuzzled my neck purring so loud in my ear you thought he was part motor boat. Through my sobs I said how much I missed her and that I needed her again. That I couldn’t make this without her.
I rambled on for a bit until the cat got a tad annoyed as his head was soaking wet from my tears and I pretty much sobbed out as much as I could. I put my cat down and he decided it was time to play so he fish-hooked one of the 9 million milk rings he hid under the fridge out and brought it over to me. This cat was part dog I swear as he loved to play catch. As I tossed it I started to think about how my Grandma and I would play fetch with her cat. That lead to the time she had just opened up a brand new gallon of milk and the cat not only jumped on the counter to get the ring but as he did he startled her and she ended up dumping the whole gallon floor. At the time it wasn’t funny but as we cleaned it up we couldn’t stop laughing as the cat had milk prints EVERYWHERE!
And just like that I chuckled and smiled while sitting on my kitchen floor, cheeks wet from crying. I was able to think about my grandma and not cry. The pain and heartache started to mend and I had my grandma back with me. I stood up, cleaned my face and decided to finish making her soup. As I did I thought back to all of those weekends in her house making it together. Hearing her voice telling me how to chop this or stir that or her telling me to ‘see the dough’ with my fingers.
Now I’m not sure if I honestly did anything different then the other times I made her soup on my own, but this time, this time it was Grandma’s soup. As I ate that soup, all curled up in the corner of my couch as I stared at my cat sitting on the kitchen floor with a milk ring hanging out of his mouth I couldn’t help but smile. I had my grandma back.Print
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 3 carrots, cut into small chunks
- 3 stalks of celery, cut into small chunks – leaves too!
- 1/2 cup white onions, chopped small
- 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1–2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3–4 cups cooked boneless, skinless chicken, rough chopped/torn
- 2 cups AP flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup Crisco
- 1/2 cup whole milk (can use 2%)
- 1 large egg
Start the Soup
- In a large stock pot over medium heat add in the butter and oil. When the butter starts to foam, add in the carrots, celery and onion. Sauté these for 3 minutes gently mixing around. Add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix.
- Continue cooking for 3 minutes then add in the stock, thyme, pepper and chicken. The vegetables should still be fairly firm. Allow the mixture to heat up slowly.
Make the dumplings
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Add in the milk and egg. Using a mixing spoon, mix together until a ball of dough just begins to form, being careful not to over mix it – you don’t want to develop the gluten.
- On a floured board dump out the ball of dough. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle where the dough is about 1/4” thick. *I like mine thicker so feel free to roll out a tad thinner.
- Using a pastry cutter, cut the dough into 1” strips by 2” long.
- Bring the soup mixture up to a rolling boil and slowly add in the dumplings one at time stirring gently. Once all the dumplings are in the pot and a little of the flour on your board (this will help thicken up the soup), allow to gently boil for 13-18 minutes or until your dumplings are cooked through. The thicker they are, the longer they will take to cook. To know when they are done, they will no longer taste doughy/gummy.
- When done, remove the pan from the heat, adjust seasoning to taste.
Keywords: grandma soup, chicken and dumpling soup, noodle soup, homemade dumplings, southern dumpling, comfort food, soup for the soul