Chicken Soup with Southern Dumplings

When we were in the thick of our remodel, I had my eye out for magazines that would help me narrow down the paint choices since we were having the whole interior repainted.  O At Home caught my eye while I was standing in line at the grocery store because The Color Issue was emblazoned across its cover and promises of 21 frsh, can't fail palettes lured me to throw it in my basket. 

Along with the good advice I came across that did inevitably help me choose my colors, tucked in the back was an article on One-Pot Meals with gorgeous photos of food I wanted to make right then and there.  Of the four recipes featured, I tried Alice Waters's Winter Minestrone first with average results.  I could take the blame for this because I used scarlet runner beans instead of cannellinis, and potatoes instead of turnips, but neither of those changes would have turned this soup into something less than good if it had been a decent tasting recipe to begin with.  I love minestrone, and this recipe just didn't cut the mustard.

The second recipe I tried was Art Smith's "Chicken and Dumplings."  It caught my eye because I grew up eating very different dumplings than the flat, egg noodles looking strips nestled in the clear broth and vegetables I was staring at.  I had to try it since my life long idea of a dumpling was a dollop of wet dough that was dropped onto the hot contents of a pot of chicken soup or stew and covered for a time to steam and puff up before being uncovered to finish off the cooking.


Besides, it was going to be tough to ignore a piece of chewy dough.  Sad but true.  Unfortunately, again, something was amiss….

Chicken Soup with Southern Dumplings

For the soup…
1-1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, skinless & boneless
1 onion, chopped
1 c. chopped celery
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 c. sugar snap peas, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 red pepper, seeded and diced
8 c. chicken broth
1 pinch herbs de provence
salt & pepper to taste

For the dumplings…(please see notes)
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 T veggie oil
1 c. water
2 T parsley for garnish

Let all ingredients for the soup cook for about 45 minutes.

Cut chicken thighs into chunks and add to a Dutch oven along with the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and snap peas.  Pour in the chicken broth, stir and taste.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and spoon off any foam from the surface. 

Turn heat to a simmer and allow to cook gently until chicken is done, about 45 minutes.

Only add as much water as it takes to make a stiff dough.
Roll dumplings 1/4" thick and cut pieces about 1" x 3"

To make the dumplings, pour flour, salt and oil in a medium bowl.  Add only as much water as necessary to make a stiff dough, and then turn out onto a floured surface to knead a few times.  The dough should not be sticky.

Roll the dough to about 1/4" thickness and using a bench scraper or large knife, cut into strips about 1" wide by pressing through the dough.  Cut the strips into pieces about 2-3" long and place on a plate near the soup.

Drop dumplings in one at a time and avoid crowding.

Drop the dumplings into the simmering soup a few at a time making sure they have space between them.  Add the herbs de provence to the pot, stir to blend in,  and return the lid to the pan and cook for about 10 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley if desired.

Cook for an additional 10 minutes.


  • Okay, I'm sold on the Southern style dumplings, but I have no plans to give up the puffy dumplings I grew up eating.  They're completely different.  The southern variety reminds me of spaetzle or homemade egg noodles and that's a very good thing.
  • This soup was nice and easy to make.  I added the peas, garlic and pepper because I wanted more color and flavor.  The result was very pleasant without being filling.
  • About the dumpling recipe:  I had to make this twice.  The first time, I used the quantities called for and the dumplings were a pasty mess.  There was nothing "stiff" about the dough.  So I started to add more flour to compensate and realized it was silly and just began again.
  • I didn't measure how much water I ended up using, but an estimate would be about half of what's called for in the recipe.  And I had dough left over after I cut my dumplings — about a large cup's worth.  No, I didn't save it.  After messing around with two batches, I was over the dough.
  • Although this was a tasty, and healthy meal, I'm annoyed that something so simple could end up so wrong.  I guess that in a decorating magazine, no one expects a person to cook the recipes.
  • Now, on to learn more about southern-style dumplings and think about trying the third recipe:  Susan Spicer's Red Beans and Rice with Pork Shoulder and Andouille Sausage.  I had all the ingredients and ended up making Jambalaya, then last night used the pork shoulder for an interesting recipe.  We'll see what happens…

Serve with a nice salad.