3 pounds skinless
chicken legs or drumsticks
5 carrots - 2 cut into large chunks, 3 thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 celery ribs - 1 cut into large chunks, 1 thinly sliced on the
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf (optional)
6 cups water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large saucepan, combine the chicken legs with the large chunks of
carrot and celery, half of the chopped onions and the water. Simmer over
moderate heat until the chicken legs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a plate. Let cool slightly, then remove the meat
from the bones and let cool. Strain the chicken broth and discard the
vegetables. Chill broth and defat by skimming congealed fat from top.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour with 1 cup of the chicken broth; stir
to form a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board
and knead until smooth. Wrap the dumpling dough in plastic wrap and let
rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into quarters. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out
the dough a scant 1/4 inch thick on a very lightly floured work surface.
Cut the dough into 3-inch-wide strips and transfer to a sheet of wax paper.
Working on the paper, cut each strip crosswise into 1-inch-thick dumplings
and transfer the paper to a baking sheet; do not separate the dumplings.
Repeat with the remaining dough, stacking each layer on the baking sheet.
Freeze the dumplings until solid, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, combine the sliced carrots and
celery and the remaining chopped onion with 4 cups of the broth and bring
to a boil. Season well with salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables
are just tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and return to
Separate the frozen dumplings and add them to the simmering broth a few
at a time, submerging them in the broth. Bring the broth to a simmer and
cook until the dumplings are tender, about 15 minutes; tuck the dumplings
into the broth occasionally. Spoon the chicken and dumplings into bowls
Note: Broth and dumplings may be prepared the day before for an easy quick
meal the next day.