As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it

Stewed chicken with dumplings

The weather in San Diego has been less than desirable and downright crappy. Yesterday it was sprinkling all day and today more of the same. With 12 more days to go, I’m looking at the weather very closely in case my beach wedding turns into something else like an indoor house party which happens to be on the beach.

With the weather as chilly as it’s been, I pulled out a recipe handed down from Paul’s mom for stewed chicken with dumplings. Paul waxes poetic about this dish. I think it reminds him of Michigan or Nevada. I really don’t know because I didn’t grow up with gravy.

When we first attempted this recipe we substituted the stewed hen in the recipe with chicken breast. Bad idea. There wasn’t enough chicken fat for gravy. On the second attempt we used a whole chicken, bones and all and it was perfect. The recipe for dumplings can be substituted with Bisquick or even spaetzel. Stew may require additional salt to taste.

Stewed Chicken with Dumplings
3 lbs. or more chicken , cut up
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
5 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 carrot

flour for gravy

Barely cover the chicken with water. Add all the seasonings, including the celery and carrot. Heat to simmering, cover and simmer gently until meat is tender, about 3-4 hours.

Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Skim the fat from the top and reserve for later.

Take the meat from the broth and remove all skin and bones. Discard. Strain the broth and thicken for gravy.

Blend 1 teaspoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of fat for each cup of broth. Blend into broth. Return the chicken to the hot gravy and drop in dumplings (recipe follows).

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon butter
3/4 cup milk

Shift together the flower, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add milk gradually. Drop by spoonfuls on top of meat and inch apart and cover tightly. Steam for 12-15 minutes.

8 thoughts on “As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it

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  1. Sadly, my attempt was a disaster. First I accidentally spilled a TON of salt in the broth, and then I didn't rest the dumplings on top and let them steam. Instead I mixed the dumplings in with the gravy. Dumplings turned out very hard. Sigh. Bad cooking karma today.Too bad because I've always wanted to make this dish. I'll try again when the memory of this attempt fades.

  2. How do you do it with a wedding coming up?! I am so excited for you. I want to have my wedding day all over again it was so wonderful. I am sure you hate advice, but just remember to enjoy it! Every minute of it. It is all about you and it is so fun. Here I am 4 years later with my first child crying when he should be sleeping. It is no longer about me! Live it up and congrats! It does get better than your wedding day if you can imagine! When you get some free time (could be a while) I was wondering if there was anyway you could add me to your blog list. I would be so flattered to be on such a great blog. Please let me know how you are doing!kasha

  3. My family's menu was also 'take it, or leave it'. Thanks for reminding me of this. I have two kids and have become a short-order cook. The kids need to eat what we eat. You get what you get and you don't throw a fit! Good luck on your wedding day. I live in San Diego too. If it is drizzly the morning of your wedding, don't fret. It usually clears up.

  4. Yum! I love chicken and dumplings! My comfort food while growing up. Mom's is still the best I've ever had but this sure looks worth a whirl! 🙂

  5. ha haI’m not sure about what the other commenters think but be sure you have some valid points there. For example, I totally agree with what you’re saying in the third paragraph. Keep it up!

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