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Draggingtree

Chicken and Dumplings

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Serves 4 to 6

Chicken

1 whole small chicken
3 carrots, cut into chunks
3 celery ribs, cut into chunks
1 large onion,  quartered
1 small head of garlic, ends trimmed
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
salt to taste
flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Dumplings

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1/4 cup whole milk

Place chicken, vegetables, pepper, and salt in a tall, deep stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a boil (skim off any foam that rises), then reduce heat and simmer for about an hour till chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from the pot and allow to cool. Pour the broth through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth (discard vegetables). Reserve about 6 cups. Shred the chicken into chunks and discard bones and skin. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Add milk and stir just until the dough begins to form. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead 4 times. Roll out dough to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Cut dough into rectangles or squares. Let firm up a bit while you heat the broth.

Return broth to a simmer. Add dumplings a few at a time, so they don’t clump together. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes; occasionally give the dumplings a gentle stir to keep them from sticking together. When they are fluffy and tender, return chicken to the pot and allow the meat to warm and the broth to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley.    

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