Chicken & Dumplings
adapted from Trisha Yearwood's Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen
1 5-pound hen (makes about 4 pounds cooked, after bones and skin are removed)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup each sliced carrots, chopped celery and chopped onion
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Put the hen, breast side down, in a very large (8-quart) stockpot and add water to cover the chicken completely. Add salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 2 hours. Allow the chicken and broth to cool slightly, then remove the chicken to a colander.
Strain the broth into a very large bowl. Cover the broth and place it in the refrigerator. When the fat solidifies (I usually refrigerate it overnight) at the top of the broth, remove and discard it. Separate the chicken from the bones and cut or shred the meat by hand into bite-sized pieces.
Heat the defatted broth in a clean pot. Add the carrots, celery, onion and fresh thyme and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
To make the dumplings, put the flour in a medium bowl. Dissolve the salt in the water and stir the mixture into the flour to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a heavily floured surface and knead until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide it into 4 parts. Heavily flour a rolling pin and roll one portion of the dough very thin. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 2 x 4-inch strips. Repeat with remaining dough.
Return broth to a boil and add the strips of dough, stirring gently after each addition. When all strips are added, reduce heat to simmer and add the shredded chicken. Taste and adjust seasoning. Simmer gently for 15 minutes or until noodles are done.