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Rinse chicken and place in large soup pot with celery, carrot, onion, and bay leaves. Add water to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered until the chicken falls apart (approx. 45 min.). Remove chicken - set aside to cool. Pour broth and vegetables through a sieve - discard vegetables. Debone chicken and shred or chop meat. Return broth to soup pot and skim some of the fat off of the top.
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until thoroughly incorporated. In measuring cup, combine milk and vinegar - let sit for a few minutes (this will actually sour the milk). Stir milk/vinegar into flour mixture, stirring only until blended. Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30-60 minutes.
Roll dough out onto a floured board until about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into bite-sized pieces. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and lay the dumplings out in single layers, then refrigerate until ready to cook.
Add chicken meat to broth and bring to a rolling boil. Drop dumplings into chicken broth and boil until dumplings rise to the top (approx. 15 minutes). The longer you cook, the thicker the broth will be - but if you overcook, you will have a pot of mush. Salt and pepper to taste.
This can be scaled up for larger groups. If you're making a lot, it's good to lay the dumplings out on layers of wax paper to keep them separated until you cook them. You can also freeze these in a single layer until firm, then put in a freezer bag. Add frozen dumplings to broth as you would fresh, allowing a little extra time to cook.
This recipe came from my grandmother, Lizzie Buske Young, but the person who made it the most in my family was my mother, Xanna Jackson Young. It's one of my dad's favorite meals!
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