Southern Chicken & Dumplin’s

Southern Chicken & Dumplings

Having just moved from the farm to the suburbs, we’re only allowed a half-dozen chickens, which means…we have a few in the freezer now.

Circle of life, baby.

This is my favorite recipe for using a yard-bird that is a bit past her prime, and one that was handed down from my grandmother, who kept her own small flock for the family’s eggs and an occasional pot of soup.

This is classic Southern comfort food at it’s best. If you’re not wild about dumplings, you can leave them out, and ladle this soup over fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits, as well.

Grandma’s Chicken & Dumplin’s

  • 1 large broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sage
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs grapeseed oil
  • 2 teaspoons chicken base
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • hot water
  • Southern style dumplings (recipe below)


In a heavy-bottom pot, melt the butter with oil over medium heat, and brown the chicken pieces (including back) with salt & pepper. Remove chicken and set aside.

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Add celery, carrots, onion (Mire Poix), parsley, sage, and garlic to the pot, and saute until just softened, scraping up any browned bits left from the chicken.

Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Add chicken back into the pot, along with chicken broth and base; add enough hot water to cover chicken.

Home Chef Note: Unless specified, you always want to add heated liquid to a hot dish, otherwise the drop in temperature and adversely effect the cooking time and texture of the recipe.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until chicken is done.

Remove chicken and let stand until cool enough to handle, then remove skin from chicken and tear meat away from bones. Return meat to soup; discard skin and bones.

Taste for seasonings, and add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

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Southern Style Dumplings Recipe

Drop dumplings into simmering soup. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.


Serves 6

Southern Style Dumplings Recipe

Southern Style Dumplings

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk milk
  • 3/4 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons oil

Combine all; mix well to form a stiff batter.

Drop by tablespoonfuls into simmering soup.

Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Home Chef Note: Traditionally, the dumplings start out as round, ping-pong size balls. If you prefer something a little less dense, try making them about half that size, and flattening into 1/2 inch thick coins, before adding to the soup. This will result in more dumplings, that are less of a mouthful each.



Dad Perkins’ Southern Fried Chicken

Classic Southern Fried Chicken Recipe

This is a taste of my childhood, as it was a taste of my father’s childhood.

Nonna Perkins fried up chickens that wandered her own land, as I do now, and it really makes a difference. If you can’t get farm-fresh organic free-range chicken (what are Grandma’s just called “chicken”…), a good organic bird at the grocery store (preferably whole, and cut up just before brining) and it will still be pretty darn awesome.

It’s so good, and I love it so much, that I pulled my poor old dad out of a well-earned retirement to cook up a huge batch for our wedding rehearsal dinner.

It was, of course, a smashing success (she still said “yes” the next day…)

This one goes out to my Facebook pal, long-time dear friend, and fellow foodie Carol, who asked for it.


Dad Perkins’ Southern Fried Chicken
Serves: 10


1/2 gallon cold water
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup fine sea-salt
1/4 cup brown sugar, or dark molasses
2 bay leaves, crushed

Combine spices and sugar in a 4-cup microwave safe bowl. Add 2 cups of hot water. Microwave 2-3 minutes until VERY hot. Whisk to combine.

brining fried chicken

Pour 1/2 gallon of cold water into your brining container, add the spiced hot water, and stir well. Add cut up chicken (and more cold water to cover, if needed), cover, and refrigerate 24 hours.

4 hours before cooking, remove the chicken from the brine, pat each piece dry, and set on a plate (single level) and refrigerate 2 hours, uncovered. This allows the skin to dry back out a bit, so it gets good and crunchy.

2 hours before cooking, move the chicken to the counter to take the chill off.


Lard for Fried Chicken2 whole chickens, cut and brined
2 cups cake flour
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup seasoned salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons black pepper
4 cups lard (you can use shortening, or veggie oil, but I promise…it won’t be as good!)

Melt the lard in large cast iron skillet over medium heat

Place flour and all spices in a paper grocery bag and shake well to mix.

Flouring chicken before frying

Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, to bag and shake well to coat evenly, let sit 5 minutes, then shake again. Set aside.

Cast Iron Fried Chicken

Fry chicken, turning to brown evenly 12-15 minutes. Be sure to leave some space between the pieces, or the resulting steam will keep the skin soggy.

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That’s a chicken liver, frying to perfection, in the middle of the skillet. If God made anything better than THAT, He kept it for himself.

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Chef Tip: You should be cooking this much chicken in batches, so start with the breasts, so they have the most time to finish in the oven.

Southern frid chicken on a rack

Place chicken on a wire rack in a baking dish, as they come out of the oil. Place in oven, pre-heated on lowest heat to stay warm. I crack the door just a bit so it won’t hold in the moisture and soften the skin.

Classic Southern Fried Chicken Recipe
My favorite junior sous chef, the fourth generation, learning to make Nonna’s favorite!

Serving Ideas: Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, and my favorite corn dish: Southern Maque Choux.

Oh, and if you want to save this recipe, without all the pesky pictures, click here, for the print-friendly version!


~Chef Perry

PS – If you like chicken livers (and any southerner worth their grits LOVES chicken livers) this is probably the best version of them I’ve ever had. Personally, I feel that the Good Lord skimped a bit, only giving up one liver per bird, so I always buy extras so I have a little somethin’ somethin’ to snack on while finishing dinner.

I married a dern yankee, so I don’t even have to share!

PPS – Don’t throw away all of that lovely chicken-laden lard either! It’s perfect for frying up a batch of hush-puppies, or making some lovely chicken gravy for those mashed taters!

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