It wasn’t until I really started cooking in earnest that I learned there are two kinds of dumplings: dropped dumplings and rolled dumplings. I had always assumed the big, fluffy dropped dumplings were “real” dumplings, until I noticed quite a few Southern cookbooks calling for dumplings that consisted of dough rolled out and cut like pasta. I’ve since decided I’m a fan of both styles, especially since the rolled kind are a boon for those too afraid or impatient to make proper pasta. Rolled too thick? Didn’t knead enough? Cut unevenly? Not a problem! They’re supposed to be rustic! This happens to be my favorite recipe for the rolled kind. It’s quick enough to make on a weeknight (especially a rainy, gloomy Portland weeknight), and just as homey and comforting as the dropped kind, in its own way.
Recipe adapted from the Lee Brothers’ “Simple Fresh Southern.” As below it makes 2 servings.
• 1 lb. chicken thighs or breasts: $1.69
• 1 onion, chopped: 25 cents
• 2 T butter: 12 cents
• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour: 5 cents
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper: 1 cent
• 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest: 10 cents
• 1 egg (garden), beaten: $0
• 3 cups good-quality chicken stock (frozen, left over from fried chicken & Andouille gumbo): $0
• Parsley, for garnish: 10 cents
• Salt: 1 cent
TOTAL: $2.33/2 = $1.17/serving
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the chicken stock and the chicken thighs or breasts—they can even be frozen, if necessary. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until chicken is cooked through (time will vary).
Meanwhile, make the dumplings: In a medium bowl, mix the flour with about 1 tsp salt, the lemon zest, and the pepper. Add in the beaten egg and mix with a fork until a cohesive dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until it forms a ball. Of course, you could take this all the way and knead it for a long time and let it rest like pasta, but that would defeat the purpose of this being a weeknight recipe, and the dumplings are just as good thick.
Roll it out with a rolling pin as thin as you possibly can, and cut into strips. As you can see, some of mine are too thick and/or misshapen, but this had no bearing on our enjoyment of the finished product.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the soup, chop it, and set it aside.
Bring the soup to a boil and add the dumplings. Reduce heat and cook at a strong simmer until dumplings are tender; time will vary depending on how thick—I mean, “rustic”—your dumpling strips are, but it will usually be in the area of 5-10 minutes.
Return the chicken to the soup, serve in bowls garnished with plenty of parsley.