Thursday, August 09, 2012

Tim McGraw's Chicken and Dumplings

Those close to me know me as a pretty huge Tim McGraw fanatic. I have followed Tim and his career faithfully for a couple of decades now. While working in a music office in Nashville, Tennessee at age nineteen, one of Tim's first hits - "Don't Take The Girl" - hit country radio. I would call in almost everyday to the radio station to request this particular song be played. Then, I'd sit there at my desk balling like a baby because the lyrics were just so touching and because I just adored his voice. {Truth be told, he isn't too bad on the eyes either.} Thus began my love affair with Mr. McGraw.

Throughout the years, my husband has lovingly endured my obsession with collecting Tim memorabilia, listening to just-released albums incessantly and hunting down the perfect concert tickets online.

Following his career lead me to watch he and Faith years ago on an Oprah show appearance. They prepared this recipe. The story goes that Tim made this for Faith in the early stages of dating.

I can't tell you how many times I've made this over the years since. It has definitely become a family favorite.

From my photos, it is obvious that the dumplings in this recipe are not your typical fluffy variety. They are rolled out and cut into squares. They have just three simple ingredients - flour, shortening and buttermilk. They remind me a bit of my homemade egg noodles, but these are made into larger squares instead of skinny noodles. This really is a simple, unpretentious recipe. But, it does require a bit of time {mostly hands-off} since the recipe calls for making the broth from scratch.

It's a recipe, however, totally worth making. It is one that is quite economical and one that epitomizes the meaning of comfort food.

Serves 4 - 6.


1 small chicken {or several pieces of bone-in chicken}
Cold water
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups all-purpose flour {plus more for dusting counter}
3 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk


Boil chicken in a large soup pot or Dutch oven - starting with enough cold water to cover chicken - just until chicken is cooked through. Carefully remove chicken from liquid. Add bouillon cubes to water to dissolve. {If a good deal of water has evaporated, add hot water until there are about six cups of simmering broth.} Pull chicken from the bone and return meat to the pot.

While chicken is cooking, combine flour and shortening in a medium bowl using a fork or pastry cutter. Stir in buttermilk to form a doughy consistency {similar to how you would make biscuits}. Sprinkle flour onto a clean counter. Place dough onto floured surface. Roll into a thin sheet and cut into squares.

Drop one square at a time into simmering liquid - stirring consistently - until all dough is incorporated.

Cook about 1 hour over low heat until broth is thickened and is a creamy consistency. {If necessary, pot can be lidded during part of cooking to avoid over-evaporation of broth.} Stir occasionally during cooking. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Turn off heat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Author's Notes:

  • If you feel the liquid needs more flavor after adding initial bouillon cubes, more can be added. It is recommended to do so one at time.

  • Fresh or dried herbs can be added while cooking chicken to fortify broth if desired. {I like chopped thyme and rosemary.}

  • Don't have buttermilk on hand?  Adding a splash of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to whole milk, then allowing it to sit for a few minutes makes for a quick buttermilk substitute. 

1/29/18:  Updated photos and made clarifications to post/recipe.


  1. Thank you so much. This recipe is old. My Mother made dumplings like this but most of the women of her time rolled that pastry out so thin that it was almost like paper. I have been looking for the ingredients and you made it possible for me to make the dough.

  2. Did you serve this over mashed potatoes? It looks delicious.