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Chicken Pastry Recipe, made from scratch.

Follow these easy, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions for making Chicken Pastry from scratch.  There’s just something about a big bowl of Chicken Pastry that soothes the soul, anytime of the year.  Whether you know it as Chicken Pastry, or as Chicken Dumplings, I think you’ll find it’s much easier to make from scratch than you might have thought.  We’ve also got a printable recipe to make it even easier.

Chicken Pastry, made from scratch.

Southern Chicken Pastry, made from scratch recipe.

Chicken Pastry, or Chicken Dumplings?  It may not make much difference which name you know it by, it’s just good old southern comfort food at it’s very best.  However, at my house, what you see in the picture above was always called Chicken Pastry.  Chicken Dumplings were made of thick patties of cornmeal instead of thin strips of flour dough.  Mama made both, but Chicken Pastry was my favorite.

As a very young child, I have some strange memories of mama going outside and grabbing one of the chickens walking around the yard.  Chickens pretty much roamed free throughout the day.  She’d grab one of the older hen’s and head for that big stump of a tree that already had an axe laying up along side of it.  Yes, I spent a few years “down on the farm” before we moved to the city.  Its a scary thing as a child to see a chicken running all around, flapping its wings… minus a – well, you get the picture.  Let’s move on.  It wasn’t pretty but… it was a way of life.

I can still see her spreading flour across our kitchen table and rolling out her dough into one big sheet that seemed to almost cover the entire table.  Then, she’d take a knife and make quick work of slicing it up into big squares while the chicken stock, along with that old hen, boiled away on the electric stove right behind her.

Mama moved on to buying chickens at the grocery store a few years later, once we landed in the city.  Still, she continued to make really big pots of Chicken Pastry a couple of times a month.  Sunday dinners around the big oval table, surrounded with family, were just that much better when mama sat that big bowl of Chicken Pastry in the middle.  We usually had the preacher and his family over after church and it was always a favorite with all of them.

I must also admit that in her later years, Mama would give in and buy the frozen dough strips as opposed to making her own.   Anne’s Dumplings and those flat pastry strips became a part of our family, and like Colonel Saunders, they showed up more and more at our yearly family reunion dinners.  Anne’s makes a great pastry, we used it in the restaurants.  Still, nothing takes me back like seeing that big sheet of dough, sliced up and waiting for the big pot.  I think you’ll agree once you give our recipe a try.  Are you up for it?  Alright then… Let’s Get Cooking!

Chicken Pastry, ingredients.

Chicken Pastry Recipe:  You’ll need these ingredients plus some chicken broth.  You don’t need the butter, it just wanted to get in the picture and I said it would be OK… this time.

Chicken Pastry, cooked chicken.

You’ll need some cooked chicken.  You could certainly use some from a can, but we’re making this from scratch… remember?

Chicken Pastry, open the chicken package.

Begin by opening your package of chicken.  Look inside the chicken and remove the neck bone and giblet pieces that are tucked up in there.  Set those aside for now but we’ll add them into the pot once we start cooking the chicken.

Chicken Pastry, rinse under cold running water.

Rinse the chicken, inside and out, under cold running water.

Chicken Pastry, cutup the chicken.

You’ll need to cutup the chicken.  I’ll have to save that process for another post.  Just use a sharp knife and… Be Careful.

Chicken Pastry, cover with water.

Place the chicken in a good sized stock pot and cover it with about 4 inches of water.  Don’t forget to toss in those giblet pieces.  Place it on your stove top over Medium heat.

Chicken Pastry, cover the pot.

Cover the pot with a lid.

Chicken Pastry, cook until done.

Let the chicken cook on a slow boil until it’s done.  This will take about 45-55 minutes or so.

Chicken Pastry, add water as needed.

Check the chicken periodically as it cooks.  Add more water as needed if the fluid starts getting low.  Keep the chicken covered in liquid as it boils.

Chicken Pastry, remove when done.

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the water when it is done and spread it out in a pan to cool a little.  You can turn the burner off under the stock pot while the chicken cools, this will help any fat in the pot to rise to the top.

When it’s cooled enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones.  I’m only going to use half the meat in the Chicken Pastry, I’m saving the other half for another recipe.

Chicken Pastry, skim fat from stock.

Now that the pot has cooled a bit, use a spoon and skim as much fat as you can from the stock that is left in the pot.  Just discard the fat.

RESERVE 3/4 cup of the broth by removing it from the pot and setting it aside.  We need it to make the dough.

Chicken Pastry, place bones back in pot.

Place all the bones and scrap pieces back in the pot with the liquid.  Add more water if needed, to cover the bone pieces with about 2 inches of water. Place the lid back on the pot and bring this up to a low boil, letting it simmer while you make the pastry dough.  Adding the skin and bone pieces back to the pot just adds more flavor.  We’ll remove them before we add the pastry strips.

Chicken Pastry, measure out the salt and flour.

Measure out the flour into a sifter.  Add the salt.

Chicken Pastry, sift ingredients together.

Sift the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Chicken Pastry, make a well in the flour.

Use your fingers and make a well in the middle of the flour.

Chicken Pastry, pour in some of the chicken broth.

Pour in the reserved chicken broth you removed from the pot earlier.

Chicken Pastry, stir it together into a ball.

Using your fingertips, start make a small circular motion in the middle of the liquid.  Keep going around and around in circles, incorporating a little more of the flour from the edges of the bowl as you go.  Continue doing this until you’ve worked the flour into the dough ball that is forming.  Lift the dough and flip it over, turning it until you can form the dough into a ball.  Don’t over work it, just get it to the point to where it sticks together.

Chicken Pastry, flour your counter and place the dough ball on top.

Sprinkle some flour over the top of your counter or cutting board.  Cover a large area with it as we’ll be rolling the dough out over this space.  Place the ball of dough right in the middle.

Chicken Pastry, place some flour on your rolling pin.

Rub some flour on your rolling pin.

Chicken Pastry, roll out the dough.

Gently roll the dough out, working it first in one direction….

Chicken Pastry, roll out in opposite direction

then in the other direction.  Continue to roll it out in this pattern until you’ve stretched the dough out to at least 1/4″ thick or a little thinner.


It’s not necessary to roll it out in a perfect circle.  Just work it out as evenly as possible.

Chicken Pastry, cut into strips.

Use a knife, or even a pizza cutter, and slice the dough into strips about 1 inch wide.  Mama always made hers larger though.

Chicken Pastry, cut across the strips again.

Cut across the strips, making pieces about 2 inches long.

Chicken Pastry, let the dough rest.

Once it’s all cut, just let the dough rest where its at and lets work on getting that chicken stock fixed.

Chicken Pastry, remove bones and make stock.

Use a slotted spoon and scoop out all of the bones, skin and other pieces from the pot.  Make sure you get ALL the bone pieces as it’s not any fun to bite down onto a bone when eating Chicken Pastry.  Next, use your chicken granules and start adding a little of the base into the stock you’ve already got.  Chances are, the stock will not have enough flavor as it is to make a good pastry.  I’m adding some granules and will keep taste testing it as I go to get the desired taste.  You could also add ready made chicken broth, like from a carton, if you happen to have that.  Just add it slowly and taste it often to get a good taste.  It will be a bit salty so be careful.  If you should add too much, add in a little warm water to bring the salt taste back down to where you’d like it to be.

Chicken Pastry, add the pastry strips to the pot.

Mama would always pick up several pieces of the pastry dough and drape it across her hand as she moved it from the table to the pot.  As I mentioned, her pieces were much larger than what I’ve got here.  It was just the way she made hers.  Once you’ve got the stock to tasting like you want it too, start dropping the strips of dough into the pot.  DO NOT STIR.

Chicken Pastry, add all the strips to the pot.

Make sure you don’t stir the strips while you’re adding them.  Keep them separated as you drop them in so they can cook just a little on their own.  This will prevent them from sticking together so much.  As you add more into the pot, look for openings that you can drop the next piece into.  The dough strips will sink to the bottom at first but then they pop right back up.

Chicken Pastry, add the chicken pieces to the pot.

Let the pastry strips cook for a few minutes after you get it all in the pot.  Then, add in the pieces of chicken that you’ve pulled from the bones.  Don’t forget, even though I started with a whole chicken, I’m only using half of that in my Chicken Pastry.  I’m going to make some homemade Chicken Salad with the rest.

You can gently stir the chicken pieces into the stock and pastry now.  Just get the chicken submerged into the liquid enough to keep most of it under the liquid.  Do not cover the pot.  Let it continue to simmer on Medium-Low heat for about 10-15 more minutes.  You can test a piece of the pastry itself to be sure its done.  Some folks like it a bit tough and others like it very tender.  It’s like pasta, cook it to the degree that you prefer it at.

Chicken Pastry, add some corn starch to thicken if needed.

If your stock isn’t as thick and creamy as you’d prefer, thicken it up with a little mixture of flour and water, or cornstarch and water.  Just take about two Tablespoons of flour or cornstarch and mix enough water into it to make a slurry.  Slowly add a little of this into your pastry, stirring gently, until you have the liquid in the pastry to the way you like it.  It will of course thicken some on its own so be very careful if you add anything else to thicken it up.  Add a little black pepper to taste and you’re good to go.  You could even add some of that butter that sneaked in the picture up top if you’d like to do so.

Chicken Pastry, serve warm and enjoy.

Place the Chicken and Pastry in a big old bowl and call the family.  Serve it warm and ENJOY!

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