Posted By: jglass 
May 22  # 1 of 13
My mother used to get a stewing hen and simmer it on the stove til it fell off the bone. Then she made dumplings out of self rising flour and buttermilk. Chicken got pulled from the bones and it was heaven on a plate. I remember the broth was golden color almost from the fat that cooked off the chicken lol. Now we know that much fat is not good for us.

Anyone have a chicken and dumplings recipe for me that is a tad less fat based than my mothers?
 Posted By: KYHeirloomer 
May 22  # 2 of 13
I'm sorry, Janie. But, IMO, there are some dishes that just can't be made healthy and be the same. Chicken & dumplings is one of them. But, if you must, there are two approaches you can try:

1. Break down the chicken. Remove the skin and as much fat as possible. Proceed as normal.

2. Starting the day before, prepare the chicken as normal. Remove it from the pot and put the pot in the fridge (or, given the crazy weather we've been having, just cover and put outside). The fat will harden on the surface. Skim it. Reheat the broth. Return the chicken to it. Make the dumplings as normal.

Personally, I would go with door #2, to retain as much of the flavor as possible.

Of course, one problem is that today's chickens aren't like the old ones. They're pumped full of growth hormones and other chemicals to make them put on pounds as quickly as possible. This has resulted in more fat but, in a seeming contradiction, less flavor.

The other problem is actually finding a hen. I see them around the holidays, but any other time they seem to disappear.
 Posted By: Mama Mangia 
May 22  # 3 of 13
one 2 1/2 to 3 lb chicken
one medium onion peeled and quartered
3 or 4 ribs of celery, cut in 3 inch pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut in 3 inch pieces, optional
one bay leaf
10 to 12 sprigs of parsley
one sprig of fresh thyme, optional
12 peppercorns

1. Clean the chicken and place in a 12 quart stockpot.

2. Add the remaining ingredients. If you wish, you may place the bay leaf, the parsley, the thyme and the peppercorns in cheesecloth.

3. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken. Slowly bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim the broth as needed. Simmer about 45 minutes or until the chicken is done.

4. Remove the chicken to cool and continue to simmer the remaining ingredients. SPECIAL NOTE: If you are concerned about fat, allow the stock to cool overnight and skim off the hardened fat the next day. You can also cool the stock quickly by adding ice cubes and sitting the pot in a sink of cold water. Your refrigerator will thank you.

5. Skin and the debone the chicken. Cut in the desired size pieces.

6. Continue to simmer the stock to develop the flavor approximately another hour.
7. Strain the stock and adjust the seasoning. Do this by adding as many bullion cubes as needed or by reduction (simmer to reduce the amount of stock and concentrate flavor). You will need about four quarts of well seasoned stock.

8. Make the dumplings by mixing two cups of all-purpose flour with enough cold water (1/2 to 2/3 cup) to form a dough. Do not overmix. The more you mix the tougher the dough. Note: The easy way and also the best way to make the dumplings is to mix one cup of commercial biscuit mix and one cup of flour and enough water, about 1/2 to 2/3 cup and mix just long enough to form a dough.

9. Flour a large cutting board or the table surface and roll out the dough as thin as possible, about 1/16 inch. Cut into 2 inch squares. After cutting all the dumplings drop them into the boiling chicken stock. Stir often to keep the dumplings from sticking together while bringing the stock back to a boil. Cook the dumplings approximately 15 minutes or until done.

10. Add the chicken and stir.

Try to get a chcken from the nearest chicken farmer - years ago we were able to buy Holly Farms chickens which had great flavor and not all that fat! But of course, Perdue had to buy them out - and Perdue chickens are loaded with fat and have no flavor.
For added flavor you can add chicken bouillon - just a thought.
 Posted By: Mama Mangia 
May 22  # 4 of 13
this one is a bit simpler:

(2-1/2- to 3-pound) broiler/fryer
2 Quarts water
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Cups All-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Shortening
3/4 Cup Buttermilk

Place chicken in a Dutch oven or large kettle; add water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Remove chicken; let it cool slightly. Bone chicken, cutting meat into bite-size pieces; set aside. Bring broth to a boil; add pepper. Combine flour, soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead lightly 4 or 5 times. For drop dumplings, pat dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Pinch off dough in 1 1/2-inch pieces, and drop into boiling broth. To make rolled dumplings, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut dough into 4- x 1/2-inch pieces. Drop dough, one piece at a time, into boiling broth, carefully stirring after each addition. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 8 to 10 minutes or to desired thickness, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken.
Serves 4 to 6.

A friend of mine always uses 2 - 3 chickens for making soups and broths, etc. to get decent flavor. She uses the extra chicken meat in casseroles, salads, dishes, etc.
 Posted By: Mama Mangia 
May 22  # 5 of 13
Chicken and Dumplings Like Cracker Barrel's

1 (3-6 lb) frying chicken (any whole chicken will do)
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (I use coarse ground and double it)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening (I use Crisco sticks)
3/4 cup buttermilk (I add 1 tbsp. vinegar to 1 cup milk let sit 5 minutes, then measure 3/4 cup)

Place chicken in a Dutch oven. Add water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour or until tender (should almost fall off bone).
Remove the chicken from the broth and cool. Bone the chicken and cut meat into bite-sized pieces.
Bring the broth to a boil and add pepper.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening. Add the buttermilk, stirring with a fork until moistened.
Knead the dough 4 to 5 times (never done), and pat to 1/2-inch pieces and drop into boiling broth (I do not pat it out, just pinch off pieces). Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the chicken and serve.