Chicken Pastry (Chicken and Dumplings)

1 whole chicken, about 3½ pounds

Water, to cover

1 (1½ pound) box frozen flat dumplings*

Salt and pepper, to taste

Place chicken in a large stock pot. Fill with enough water to cover the chicken completely. Heat over medium-high heat until water is boiling. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover, and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through and the meat is falling off the bones. Remove from heat and let cool until chicken is cool enough to touch. Remove chicken from the chicken stock. Pull meat from the bones and put in a bowl until ready to use. Discard chicken bones and skin. Pour chicken stock through a sieve into a large stock pot. Discard whatever’s left in the sieve. Heat chicken stock over medium-high heat until it’s boiling. (Use all of the chicken stock. You will need 10 or 11 cups. If you don’t have enough chicken stock, add canned chicken broth.) Follow dumpling package directions about thawing. Add 6 to 8 dumpling strips to the boiling stock and cook until the stock begins to boil again. Add 6 to 8 more dumplings. When stock begins to boil again, add 6 to 8 more dumplings. Continue until all of the dumplings have been added to the pot. Cook through until dumplings are tender. Gently fold in cooked chicken and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 8.  *(I like Anne’s Old Fashioned Flat Dumplings. They’re made in Ayden, NC and are the closest to homemade that I’ve ever eaten. Publix on Lady’s Island has them in the frozen food section. Red box/yellow label.)