The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It

Making Grandma’s Chicken and Dumplings

Thanksgiving this year was oddly unique. The family enjoyed lots of time together and also lots of time apart. I got to read a book and play lots of Angry Birds, which I so enjoy but rarely get to do. It was fun.

For lunch on the big day, we had the usual. Then, that night we had leftovers just like always. This year, however, a new dish was in the leftover pile. It was my husband’s grandmother’s chicken and dumplins.

Grandma makes the chicken and dumplins sometimes, but her daughters make it too. You can’t always tell who has made it, and it is different depending on the cook. These dumplins were like nothing I had ever had before. They were so, so good.

When we got home, I got the bright idea to try to make these dumplins. I convinced my husband to call his grandma for the recipe. She, of course, did not use one. She did share some info, though, and using that and the intel I got from my MIL, I tried it out.

Dang, it was good.

The recipe to the best of my knowledge is-

004One hen. Not a chicken. Not a turkey. A hen. Ours was found under the frozen turkeys at Kroger. They may be seasonal. I have no idea. Ours weighed seven pounds.

Take the hen and let it thaw in the refrigerator for several days. Mine took two days. Take out the gizzards and neck and such. I fed that to the cat. Place the thawed hen in a pot and cover it (her?) in enough water to cover it/her. Add one tablespoon of minced garlic to the water. Cook covered over low heat for five hours. At the five hour mark, add a can of chicken broth. Then, increase the heat to medium for thirty minutes.

At this point, remove the hen from the water and let it/her cool. When cool enough to touch and handle, debone the hen and set the meat aside. At this point, I packed up the broth and the meat and stored both in the refrigerator over night.

005The next day, a nice, thick layer of fat had formed over the broth. Do not remove it. Heat the broth slowly to warm it up and add a half a stick of butter to it. I think this is the trick to what makes it so good. Also add a tablespoon of salt. Shread the chicken into pieces.

006While the broth is getting good and warm, open a can of refrigerated biscuits-prefereably the non-flakey kind. I used a can of ten. On a floured surface, roll out each biscuit until they are very thin and reflour as you go. Slice each thin biscuit into strips; I slice mine into four.

007When the broth is warmed and the butter has melted, add the chicken and turn up the heat to a rapid boil. Add the well-floured dumplins one at a time and so, so very lightly stir. I used a large spoon and just pressed mine down so they were wet. Minutes later-like five or so-the whole thing is done. Add salt and pepper to taste.

008 Serve in a bowl with lots of broth.


This must be the most unhealthy recipe ever-the hen, the fat, the butter, the dough.

011But, it will satisfy and make you feel so, so happy.

When I gave Mr. Opinionated his bowl, he took one bite and said, “You did good.” Coming from him about a dish that was supposed to be like his beloved grandma’s, I consider that a success, and I hope yours is too.


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