This meal is always popular at our house.
I've been making chicken and dumplings forever. And, each time I make them, they come out different. For that reason, I hesitated to post this recipe. But, cooking is trial and error, and you will not get better until you jump in and try it ... over and over.
I have never actually made real dumplings. I prefer biscuits. The best kind of biscuit is the cheap, smaller biscuit. Do not use the big giant ones that you love to eat for breakfast.
For years I just used chicken, salt/pepper and biscuits, but lately I've been using the recipe below. It gives it more pizzazz. It still comes out different every time I make it.
Loosely adapted from Paula Dean's recipe here.
1 whole chicken (boiled and deboned)
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 bay leaves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 or 2 teaspoons of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt (the bouillon cubes and soup add plenty of salt)
a dash of garlic powder
1 can of cream of celery or chicken soup
4 cans of biscuits
1 to 2 cups of flour
Place the whole chicken, celery, onion, bouillon and spices in large pot. Add 4 quarts of water and bring to a simmer. Boil chicken until meat easily starts falling off the bone. Remove chicken from water, set aside and let it cool.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard it. Then, remove meat from the bone by using a fork to pull it away from bone. Return the meat to the juices. Add the cream of celery soup to the pot and simmer gently over low to medium heat.
*Alternate step: Sometimes I dump all or half of the used chicken water out and replace it with fresh, canned chicken broth. This is personal preference.
Next, pour 1 to 2 cups of flour on to a plate. Cut biscuits into fourths. Roll in flour until covered and drop into hot liquid. Repeat until all four cans are done. (You may only need 3 cans depending on how much liquid is available.) The flour will thicken your broth.
Do not stir once the biscuits are included. Use a spoon to push them under the liquid and all the biscuits are covered. This is the tricky part. You never want to over-stir dumplings. But, they tend to stick to the bottom of the pot. The heat has to be hot enough to cook them quickly, but not too hot or the dumplings will stick to the bottom and burn. If they stick, try to run the spoon along the bottom of the pot to unstick them but don't stir. However, when in doubt, it's better to stir than to burn!
I always prefer having lots of juice. This requires less dumplings. Monitor your broth to dumpling ratio. Know it will thicken as it cooks. Feel free to add some more broth if you need it, but heat it first.