November 3, 2014

Nanny’s Chicken and Dumplings

When the folks at Harvestland contacted me about developing a recipe using their products I got really excited about it. I’m pretty picky about who I do this for… I look at you guys as part of the family and my deciding factor for determining who I do sponsored posts for it pretty simple: if I wouldn't tell my mama she ought to try it, I’m not going to tell you to.

So once I did a little research about them and tried their products for myself, I was totally on board. You can read all about what makes their products taste better here but aside from the better quality meat, the thing that really spoke to me about Harvestland is their “eat like your ancestors” campaign.

Y’all know how much my county upbringing and old family recipes mean to me so working with a company who has devoted so much to getting back to your roots really appealed to me.

I decided to make chicken and dumplings like Nanny used to. I used a whole chicken, cooked it down low and slow to make a rich, flavorful stock and hand-cut homemade dumplings to go in it. It takes a little time to make something like this from scratch but I enjoyed every minute of it. There’s something so therapeutic and calming about loving on a dish all day. And the reward of serving it to the people you love makes it worth every minute.

Nanny didn't make doughy dumplings. She made more of a pastry (some folks even call this preparation ‘chicken and pastry’ instead of ‘chicken and dumplings’). You can use this recipe to make your dumplings the way you like them best. You can roll them thicker if that’s what you like. You can add them to the pot immediately after cutting them if you like them doughier (the longer they ‘air out’ the less doughy they will be).

Nanny’s Chicken and Dumplings... scratch-made dumplings (with variations for thin pastry-like noodles or thicker doughy dumplings) with a slow cooked chicken stock with easy-to-follow instructions. Just like Nanny made!

Nanny’s Chicken and Dumplings... scratch-made dumplings (with variations for thin pastry-like noodles or thicker doughy dumplings) with a slow cooked chicken stock with easy-to-follow instructions. Just like Nanny made!

Nanny’s Chicken & Dumplings
Chicken & Stock:
1 large whole Harvestland chicken
5 cups water
2 stalks celery, quartered
1 onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups self-rising flour, plus more
4 tablespoons shortening or lard
1/3 cup ice-cold water (approximately)

Make the Dumplings:
For pastry-style dumplings (more like a large, thick noodle), make the dumplings now so that they can dry out for two hours before starting the chicken. For doughy dumplings, proceed to cooking the chicken then make the dumplings after you've cooked the chicken.

Cut shortening into flour in a medium bowl using a pastry cutter or paddle attachment of a stand mixer until shortening is pea-sized. Slowly mix water into flour just until dough pulls away from the bowl and starts to form a ball.

Turn dough out onto liberally floured surface and knead 2-3 times. Roll dough out to desired thickness (I rolled mine out pretty dang thin – about 1/8 of an inch). Sprinkle dough with more flour (about 1/4 cup - the extra flour will help to thicken the broth). Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 1”x2” strips.

Cook the chicken and make the stock:
Add chicken, water, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme to a large pot or Dutch oven then bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Turn off heat and let pot rest on the burner, covered, for 1 more hour.

Remove chicken and vegetables from stock using a slotted spoon. Discard vegetables. Remove skin and bones from chicken then chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Set chicken aside.

Bring it all together:
Bring chicken stock to a low boil over medium-high heat. One-by-one, add the dumplings to the boiling stock. Reduce heat to medium-low and let the dumplings cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the chopped chicken to the pot and carefully stir. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking 5 more minutes.

Cover pot, turn off heat then let the pot rest for 15 minutes or until broth is thickened. Serve and enjoy!

Oh, I almost forgot! We usually add 3-4 sliced boiled eggs too! I didn't this time because I was slap out of eggs! This is, of course, optional but I like it best with the eggs!

This blog post and recipe are sponsored by HARVESTLAND®. As always, all opinions are my own.



  1. This is the true chicken and dumpling recipe! This recipe sounds so good..pinned for later. Thanks!

  2. We call it pot pie. And we usually made it with left over Thanksgiving turkey. I can remember my grandmother making the dough and rolling it on the counter and cutting the long strips of dough and putting it in the broth with the turkey. So, so good.

    1. We call it pot pie, too! My grandma always made it with the broth from cooking a pot roast. My mom remembers it with chicken as well. We use regular flour. So good!!!

  3. I was raised in S. GA and my Nanny made chicken and dumplings just like that! Haven't made them in a while, but this sure makes me want them! Thanks for sharing. Pinned;)

  4. I was raised in Va and my family made chicken and dumplings all the time. It is something I have never been
    able to make to taste like what I remember of theirs. Since all my family is gone and there is no one to get
    the recipe from I am anxious to try yours. It sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I'm originally from North Carolina and that's what we called it...chicken and pastry. My Mema would cook the food Sunday morning before we went to church and we'd have this wonderful meal when we went to her house afterwards. Now that I'm a "senior" and realize how much time she spent cooking these meals from scratch, it amazes me how much she got done without any of the modern conveniences we now have. It makes me appreciate my ancestors and what a sturdy bunch of ladies they were. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. I make them this way also but sometimes add a can of cream of chicken soup.It thickens up the stock and adds flavor.

  7. YUM!! I made these last weekend and they were delicious! I recently have bought and moved into my own home so I am learning how to REALLY cook. I don't have any family recipes so its great getting to use yours and I hope to start a cooking tradition in my family now. This and the Chicken, Broccoli, & Rice casserole are my two favorites so far!

  8. Just so you know there are frozen dumpling available in your grocery store freezer section. One is called Mrs. B's and the other is Annies. I've used both to great success. You'd never know they weren't homemade. It saves a butt load of time. Love your site.

    1. I love the dumplings in the freezer section! They are delicious and you are right....they do save a lot of time!

  9. Maybe I missed something, I did not see how many servings for this recipe.I await anxiously for a response.


  10. i am from kentucky and we have traditionally two types of dumplings. dropped or rolled. this dough is great when dropped off of the end of a spoon into the boiling chicken broth (or gruel as we called it). doesn't get much better than this. thanks for sharing.

  11. We call this Pot Pie but my mom and Aunt would add potatoes (cut up in chunks) to it. Soooo good!!!!

  12. Love your site and this sounds delish! Here's my tip: when I make chicken soup/stew etc I wrap the chicken in cheesecloth,tie it up and put it in the pot to cook. When done I just take the whole cheesecloth wrap out,open,debone chicken and toss the rest. That way I don't get any stray bones in the soup! :) Spicequeen

    1. That is a fabulous idea!! Thank you for sharing!

    2. You're very welcome! I just make the soup like normal by adding all the veggies & spices etc with the chicken/cheesecloth in the pot. Then when I take out the chicken I dunk the cheesecloth in the pot a few times to "rinse" off the veggies they stay in the pot then place in a big bowl untie & debone. ;) This also works for a pot of beans or split pea soup when you use a big ol meaty ham bone! Spicequeen

  13. How do you keep dumplings from getting gummy? Are they cooked to long or not long enough?

  14. I'd think maybe not cooked hot enough, or cooked too long.

  15. I can't wait to try your jailhouse rice. I'm salivating just looking at it. Just the recipe I was looking for.


Hi there! While I'm not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven't been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments. And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y'all! - Mandy