Lila’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings

When it came time to plan the Steinhoff Christmas Dinner, the consensus was that we had hit the turkey saturation point after Thanksgiving. Wife Lila said she’d make her Grandma Hoffman’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings for a change. I did a video of the tailend of the project (nap magnet, you know) and talked her into sharing how she made them. (They’ve been rebranded Lila’s C & Ds since Grandma Hoffman is no longer with us.)

Grandma Hoffman’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings

In Lila’s words:

I learned to make chicken and dumplings when I was about 12 years old by watching my grandmother, Christine Hoffman. I stood next to her while she cooked and remembered what she did. Luckily she and I were on the same cooking wavelength, so what she did translated well. I understood ‘a handful’ of this or ‘about that much’ of something else.

The recipe that follows is transcribed from my memory. I never had specific measurements and the recipe was never written it down.

Chicken and dumpling ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 1 clove finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley (if using dry, use 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 carton of chicken broth
  • all-purpose flour
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Chicken preparation

I do the chicken in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes to speed up the process. Cook chicken with about 2 inches of water and add sliced carrots, sliced celery, sliced onion, chopped garlic and parsley. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few twists of fresh ground pepper.

(Or if you have the time and patience, you can put it all into a stew pot, cover it with water and simmer it for 2 or 3 hours.)

Once the chicken is done, remove the meat and vegetables with a slotted spoon, so that you have only broth in the pan. Add a carton of low sodium, fat free chicken broth to that in the pot to make about 6 cups of broth and heat to a simmering boil.

Making dumplings video

In a deep bowl, whisk an egg and one cup of cooled chicken broth. Add flour in small amounts and whisk until mixture becomes too thick to whisk. Use a spoon to stir in more flour until the mixture is a soft dough.

Put a generous amount of flour on a pastry cloth. Place a 3-inch in diameter ball of dough on the cloth and cover it with more flour. Pat the dough flat and flip it several times until it looks rectangular. Flour a rolling pin and very lightly roll the dough thin, about 1/8-inch thick.

Cut with pizza wheel

Use a pizza wheel to cut the thin dough into dumpling sized squares. Drop the cut dumplings, one at a time, into chicken broth brought to a rolling boil.

While the first batch of dumplings is cooking, place another 3″ ball of dough on the floured pastry cloth and repeat the process.

When the next dumplings have been cut, use a slotted spoon to remove the first batch of dumplings from the broth into the container with the chicken. Repeat the process until all the dough has been used.

The broth will be thick by the time the last batch of dumplings is cooked. Empty that last batch of dumplings and the remaining broth into the container with the rest of the dumplings, chicken and vegetables.

Stir to mix with a wooden spoon. (A metal utensil will cause the dumplings to tear.)

This amount serves 4 to 6.

Other Lila cooking tips

Wife Lila has helped my former food editor coworker Jan Norris with some other cooking projects:

17 Replies to “Lila’s Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings”

  1. Non-traditional Christmas Dinners have become a tradition with our family. This year it was lasagna, watergate salad, and a mixed green salad. Of course we did have pumpkin pie.

  2. What a nice gift to your readers Ken! I miss my sons Grandmas dumplings so now maybe Ill try Lila’s Grandma Hoffman’s recipes as it looks very similar. Tell your better half 🙂 Thanks for doing this video and thank you for sharing.

  3. Your making me hungry with all these good recipes especially the chicken and dumplings!Im saving this one to try some of them!! Thanks!My saved mail is running over with alot of good articles that you put out and I enjoy and look forward to getting everyone of them. Regards Virginia

    1. There’s a downside to her good cooking. When we got married, I think I weighed about 128 pounds and had a 28 or 30-inch waist.

      I guess I could look on the positive side and say that I’m twice the man I was when I was 22.

  4. Wow! Just like Granny Brune used to make them. We just use tortillas for the dumplings. No mess, quick, and almost as good. The only way to go if you’re making a huge pot for the Super Bowl or the playoffs.

  5. Lila, thanks for the recipe. My grandma also made the best chicken ‘n dumplings – always with the rolled dumplings. I can’t eat it any other way so here in the West I go to Cracker Barrel for a chicken ‘n dumplings fix.

  6. What warm, fond memories your brought back of my own sweet Granny’s cooking, right down to the never washed bread cloth! Loved the instructional video – thanks to the Steinhoff’s and blessings for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year, 2011.

  7. Grandma H. really knew how to cook! That is how I make my dumplings also except I use the frozen Mrs. B’s dumplings from Walmart, which are just as good as homemade with none of the mess! Grandma H. also taught me her secret to homemade bread, which I have used for over 40 yrs of marriage to her grandson! Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Ken and Lila!

  8. Mary, please share Grandma’s bread secret. She always had fresh bread, but I can’t ever remember seeing her make it. Seemed like we always arrived when she was taking it out of the oven.

    Of course, the best part was having her hand us all a slice with butter. Yum!!!

  9. Sounds like something that is not done any more and that is homemade cooking. Thank goodness for Grandparents that pass down to the next generation.

  10. I sure do miss Grandma Hoffman. Things that I remember were: her koi pond in the back yard and extensive garden and her fresh baked bread with honey. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. My Grandmother Grebing and mother made home made dumplings. My sister and I now make them and they are requsted often. Mother created her own shotcut that my sister and I use. Make the dumplings ahead. Place on waxed paper in a single layer on a cookie sheet and keep adding layers of paper and dumplings. Place in freezer until frozen and then scoop into a plastic bag and return to freezer. Take out and use when the dinner is being prepared. Thus, the mess is over before the meal preparations are taking place. That was also out Christmas dinner this year! Thanks for sharing – again. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    1. I like the preparation in advance. Both parts can be made separately and packaged for single or double meals and frozen. A real boon for empty nests.

  12. thank you for this article..i decided to try i saved the recipe and as i was thinking through it i went back to se how much flour was needed..LOL all it sated was “add some flour”…i thought ok..this sounds like one of my mom’s i dug around in the cabinets found my mom’s rolling iwas adding the “flour” it made me think of the first time i had made this with my mom’s supervision..i was amking the dumplings because i made a commet to her about some about her dumplings i didn’t like..with hannah? that wasn’t the brightest thing to i found myself making the suprized her and myself that the dumplings turned out well and we didn’t have a big pot of gunk..lesson learned an i treasure that moment with my mom.
    i had been using frozen dumplings..i think i stayed away from using flour from fear of PTSD from making all those relief maps of south american countries when i attended franklin school! LOL
    ken i love this site and it is the first thing i read in the morning before i head out to work.keep up the good work

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