“Cooking certain dishes, like Chicken & Dumplins, reminds me of my mother!”
During my childhood years up through high school, I can remember how excited I was to come home from school or work to find that Momma was making Chicken & Dumplins. I’d always try to sneak a few raw dumplings off the countertop, put them in my mouth hanging down over my chin and chase my sister, Nancy, through the house pretending to be some kind of monster. In my adult years, both young and older, it was a special treat to visit home to find that Momma had made my favorite dish.
Not too long after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I brought Momma home from the assisted living facility so she could teach me her recipe and method of making her Chicken & Dumplins. After only a few minutes her lip began to tremble and her eyes teared up and she told me she couldn’t remember her recipe. She had never written this recipe down because it was so natural and easy for her. Momma died in late 2013 and I had already begun trying to duplicate her recipe but with no success. Now, after seven years and at least that many attempts, I have finally arrived at a recipe that is as close to hers as I will ever come.
Some notes – Mom was big on salt & pepper and I am not for health reasons so I will leave it to you to season your dish over and above what I’ve already used in the recipe. I used a dash of powdered onion where she always had several thin slices of onion (even though I dislike onion). She always used only shortening but I changed it to half shortening and half bacon grease to add a little flavor. A bay leaf might not be a bad idea but I failed to use one this time.
This is NOT an easy recipe by today’s standards and after making it, I realized how hard my mother worked, so many times, to please me with my favorite dish! I so miss her! R.I.P. Marie Smithen Taylor 1930 – 2013.
From a store-bought rotisserie chicken or a whole boiled chicken, pick the white meat from the bones and shred it. Set aside and don't add to gravy until just before serving.
Add the bacon grease and shortening to the dry ingredients and blend it well with your thumb and fingers until there are no lumps.
Now create a well in the middle of the ingredients and pour in the milk while mixing it with a large fork until a dough is formed. Flour your hands and use them to form the dough into a ball. Additional milk and/or flour may be necessary.
Knead the ball of dough on a floured surface until it is smooth.