Edna Lewis’ Chicken & Brown Sugar Dumplings

A classic for all times of year.

A bowl of Edna Lewis' chicken and dumplings soup with a gold spoon and checkered napkin.
1/2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted butter
1 Large 4-lb chicken, broken down
3-4 Chicken wings
1 Onion, finely grated
Chicken stock or water, to cover
2 Stalks of celery with leaves
6 Black peppercorns
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups Sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 rounded teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon Brown sugar
2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
2/3 cup Whole milk

Heat a large Dutch oven with butter.

When it starts to sizzle, add the pieces of chicken and the extra wings. Sprinkle in the grated onion and begin to stir the mixture, being careful not to let it stick or brown.

When each piece is seared, pour in enough stock or water just to cover the pieces of chicken in the pot. The extra chicken wings will add thickness to the broth

Next, add the celery stalks and peppercorns. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer slowly for about 2 hours until the chicken is done, which will depend upon the chicken you've chosen (test a wing to see if it is tender).

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and begin to work the dough with your hands.

Add the milk and mix well. Spoon the dough onto a floured surface and roll it out evenly ¼-inch in diameter. Cut into 1-inch rounds or diamond shapes.

When chicken is cooked, remove the pieces and keep warm. Strain the stock, discarding the peppercorns, celery stalks, and bits of onion.

Return the broth to the pot. Season with salt to taste and a good grating of freshly ground black pepper.

Add in the dumplings. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Pour the broth and the dumplings over the warm chicken and serve.


We're taking it back to "The Taste of Country Cooking." Nothing says "home cooking" like Edna Lewis' chicken and dumplings! The savory broth mixed with the supple dumplings makes for a great treat with a cup of hot tea. With extra chicken wings for thickening, easy to drop dumplings, and enough servings for everyone at the table, this family favorite is perfect.

From "The Taste of Country Cooking" by Edna Lewis. Copyright © 1976 by Edna Lewis. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.