On a November day like this:
What you want is a steaming bowl of this:
I am not a born Southerner, and I just don't know how I came to live in the South for eleven years before I ever thought to attempt cooking this ambrosial substance. The first time I made it, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning, and for lunch!
Start with a good home-made chicken stock, something glorious and flavorful. If your stock is a bit on the blah side, add a little chicken bouillon granules to give it a bit more "oomph". You'll need a lot of stock, 3 to 4 quarts. Chill it overnight after you make it, skim the fat and save it for the dumplings.
You will also need some cut up chicken, 2-4 cups. I never cut it, actually; Ijust tear it up. Put it aside.
Now for the dumplings. I am not fond of the biscuit-dough variety. I like the fat noodle type. For this you will need:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
seasonings (optional--I like sage and onion powder)
4 Tblsp chicken fat
about a cup of warm stock.
Start heating your stock. It needs to come to a boil by the time you've finished the dumplings. Place the flour and salt and seasonings in a large bowl and mix together. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg until frothy, mix in the cup of stock and the chicken fat. Make well in the center of the flour and pour in the broth/egg/fat mixture. Mix until stiff and add a bit of flour at a time until you have a workable dough.
Turn out onto a well-floured board and give it a few kneads. Then let it rest for 5 minutes, which will make rolling it out easier.
Roll out the dough. I have a huge board, so I roll the whole thing out, but if you have a smaller workspace you may want to do half at a time. Roll it as thin as you can--1/8 to 1/16 of an inch (I wish I had a pasta-maker for this step, although the dough might be too soft). Cut it into 1" strips and then into squares (I'm nuts, so I actually run my pizza-cutter along a steel ruler to get things all even and nice!). I then toss the squares in a bowl with a little flour to separate them.
Now gently drop them, a handful at a time, into the simmering broth. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the cut up chicken and allow it to heat through.
Add a handful of chopped fresh parsley or chives and serve piping hot!