Mamaw’s Chicken & Dumplings

About the Recipe:

By: Claire Richardson

The South is an important part of my families history. The stories mom tells of visiting our relatives there, specifically Mamaw Spivey have been wonderfully ingrained into my own memories. She recalls often being in Mamaw’s small kitchen while Mamaw smoked her cigarette and they played canasta together.  Meals that fed more than a handful of people were prepared on those tiny counters, with no formal cookbook or recipe to follow. 

Mom speaks of Mamaw’s Chicken and Dumplings that they were to this day something she missed the most. I tried duplicating that meaningful meal from a recipe online, but mom sadly reported it just wasn’t the same. 

I decided to reach out to my Aunt Dana, who not only seemed to share a love for cooking but has a memory like a steel trap. After sending my heartfelt email and saying lots of prayers, I received the response I yearned for. The recipe in my inbox with all it’s glory. I could barely wait to make it. Knowing I needed backup, I called mom and dad over for dinner to share in the making of the infamous Chicken and Dumplings. With simple ingredients and some use of skillful technique, I’m happy to report my mom said we “nailed it”. 

You’ll see the joy in the photos from devouring bowl after bowl of this deliciousness! But what you don’t see is the tears, the tears of joy knowing we brought back a piece of Mamaw; we honored a tradition and we are now passing on a recipe that is more than just a dish of good food, but embodies the stories and memories that will never leave our hearts!

NOTES:

  • These dumpling aren’t what you may be used to- the balls of dough. The dumpings Mamaw made were rolled out, cut into strips and dropped into the boiling broth.
  • Our recipe for the dumplings only calls for flour, salt and broth- Yes that is accurate.
  • If you are looking for help on technique of your dumplings, check out this sweet video, I seriously could listen to Mrs. Rita all day: Old Fashioned Chicken N Dumplins’
Questions for the Table
Sunday dinner should be a time for you and your family to enjoy each other’s company without distractions. We know how hard that is, which is why we introduced three questions at dinner to engage the whole family. This exercise will reveal stories and details about your loved ones that you never knew – stories you will cherish.
Try it yourself! Use the questions below at your next Sunday Supper!
  1. Is there a meal in your family that has been passed down, what is it?
  2. Is there a recipe from a loved one that you wish you had?
  3. Is there a traditional meal in your family, if so what is that?

Mamaw’s Chicken & Dumplings

Recipe by: Dana Spivey

Contributions by: Jaime Cummings

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • All-purpose flour
  • Carrots, diced (optional)
  • Celery, diced (optional)

Instructions:

  • Place the whole chicken (minus the extra parts contained within the cavity) into a large stock pot.
  • Cover the chicken with water by about 2-3 inches.
  • Add lots of salt and pepper (I added approx 4 tablespoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper).
  • Cover pot and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat slightly and allow chicken to simmer for 1 hour.
  • Place a large cutting board near the stock pot.
  • Carefully remove the chicken from the pot with a large fork and tongs, allowing it to drain. Then place on the cutting board.
  • While the chicken is cooling slightly, remove 2 cups of broth and place into a heatproof measuring cup.
  • Add in the carrots and celery at this time if using.
  • Place 2 cups of flour and  1 tsp of salt into a medium size bowl, whisk to combine.
  • Slowly add in the cooled broth to the flour mixture. Begin with 1-1.5 cups. Adding more broth if needed to incorporate the flour.
  • Combine with a wooden spoon and then use hands to knead the dough together.
  • Generously flour a flat surface.
  • Continue to knead the dough incorporating flour or broth to ensure it is not overly sticky or too dry.
  • Begin to roll out the dough into a large square and thin (less than 1/4″ thick).
  • Gently lift the corners of the dough to ensure it is not sticking to the counter surface.
  • With a knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into strips (horizontally), then cut vertically with the size you’d prefer.
  • Bring broth back to a boil.
  • Remove the meat from the chicken breasts and thighs.
  • Add the shredded/chunked chicken meat back into the broth.
  • Drop in the dumplings (carefully) and cook for approx 10 minutes.
  • Remove a dumpling- they should be shiny and taste good, not be tacky or gummy.
  • Place in bowls and devour!