Chicken And Dumplings

(Click thumbnails for full size photos. Use your
browser's "Back" button to return.)


You will need a 5 or 7 quart pot, preferably a cast iron Dutch oven. I suggest a Lodge 5 quart Dutch oven #8DO2 or 7 quart Dutch oven #10D02.

Camping tripod

I used a take-apart, portable tripod I made myself. Click here for construction details.

Cook these chicken and dumplings over a campfire or on your stove. Either way, they're delicious. These ain't lumpy, upstream, Yankee dumplings with dry, biscuit-like centers. These are downstream Mississippi Delta dumplings, the genuine article. They're the kind my momma made and Muddy Waters's momma probably made when company was a-coming. That was after she said, "Muddy/Junior, go out in the chicken yard and kill that ole red rooster. We got company coming ‘round the bend."

Now you know how Muddy Waters learned the blues—singing She'll be Coming 'Round The Mountain while watching a head-less chicken flopping on the ground.
Only thing is, Muddy's momma and my momma used rolled-out flour dough. I use flour tortillas because it's easy and cheap and tastes the same. Besides, I'm lazy. You can also use rolled-out canned biscuits, which my momma used after she could afford it. In the old days, Delta folks made chicken and dumplings because they were, and are, both delicious and cheap to make. They could take 1 chicken out of the chicken yard and 2 or 3 pounds of flour out of the flour bin and feed a dozen or more kinfolk.

The firewood for Muddy's momma's stove and the natural gas for my momma's stove was free and the chicken was free, so their only cost was maybe 10¢ for flour and maybe 1¢ for salt and pepper. My firewood was free, so this big pot of chicken and dumplings you're about to see cost me $4.85 for the chicken, $1.26 for the flour tortillas, $0.70 for the can of chicken soup, and maybe $0.02 for the salt and pepper. That's $6.93 total. It would have probably fed 6 or 8 people, but I ate the whole thing, y'all. Took me 3 days. Didn't offer a bite to a single soul.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 3 to 4 pounds of chicken I used chicken breasts because they're easy to debone.
  • 1 10¾ oz can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 10 oz package of flour tortillas, frozen or refrigerated
  • ½ gallon + 2 or 3 cups of water
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


  • Use the ½ gallon of water and boil the chicken for 1 hour.
Boiling The Meat
4 chicken breasts ready to boil

  • After 1 hour, remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool.

  • Add salt, pepper, and soup to pot.
Adding the soup
Adding the soup

  • One at a time, cut tortillas into ¾ x 1½ inch slices and add to pot.

  • After adding each tortilla, take spoon and gently mash down into liquid.   Do not stir.

  • After adding last tortilla, simmer for 30 minutes, stirring gently once or twice.

  • While you wait, debone the chicken.
Cutting up the tortillas
Cutting up the tortillas

Adding tortillas to the pot

Adding tortillas to the pot

  • After 30 minutes, add the deboned chicken.

  • Simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours.   Stir gently and occasionally.  Add water as needed.   I added 2 cups of water.

Adding The Meat
Adding the deboned chicken

It don't get no better than thisHere's what these chicken and dumplings looked like ready to eat. Actually this photo was taken the next day. When the pot finished simmering, I was too hungry to wait. I chased this delicious meal with a chunk of white onion, a glass of buttermilk, and a fresh-baked cathead biscuit. If only I had also had a salted-down tomato fresh from the garden and a bowl of purple-hull peas.

You can easily half or double this recipe and feed less or more folks. Try it. It will please the most finicky relative that ever comes ‘round your mountain or bend in the river.

Home     Back to the cooking section