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What I'm cooking: Chicken and dumplings
Getty Images/LauriPatterson

What I'm cooking: Chicken and dumplings

I’m beginning to think that meal trains are the bedrock of women’s communities. Maybe that’s just my inner Nonna speaking again. Good grandmas get it, though: cooking is a charism. And whether someone has just undergone surgery, had a baby or a miscarriage, lost their mother or their house, nothing warms the heart and solidifies the bonds of friendship like feeding the hungry. I wrote about remembrance in my most recent post. This, I believe, is what remembering one another looks like in practice.

Taste, nutrition, efficiency, warmth. These are good principles to abide by when determining what to make for any of the previously mentioned situations. As a creature of habit, I return frequently to the following recipe, which ticks every box. It’s especially good for postpartum women because of the protein quantity — especially the grass-fed beef gelatin I add to the broth, which helps repair damaged tissue of the uterus and elsewhere. I also find that warm, soupy meals help with afterbirth cramps, one of the many old Chinese traditions that mysteriously, unscientifically, works wonders.

Chicken and Dumplings


  • 8 cups of chicken broth (gelatinous broth is the best, which can best be achieved by making it homemade, but bone broth or ever regular chicken stock works just fine.)
  • ⅛ cup powdered grass-fed beef gelatin
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 onion, chopped (optional)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (optional, but love raw cream)
  • 1 bay leaf or a pinch of poultry seasoning optional
  • 1 whole chicken, shredded (Sometimes I’ll use an old roast, or boil and shred 8 breasts, or just buy the pre shredded pack from Costco. We are a big protein family (husband eats probably 200g per day), so when I’m making this for myself, I often double the normal amount of chicken.)
  • A regular package of regular-sized tortillas, cut into strips (can also use a cup or two of rice)


  1. Let the gelatin “bloom” while you bring broth to a boil. If using rice instead of dumplings, add rice now.
  2. Add gelatin, butter, and onion, and take down to medium heat.
  3. Add chicken and seasoning to taste.
  4. If using dumplings, add them now. Stir gently to combine.
  5. Add heavy cream if desired.
  6. Serve with parsley or chopped green onions as a garnish.

This recipe pairs great with red wine and a hearty, root-y salad: kale, brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, like this one. If making this for a postpartum mom, make sure to ask about dairy — lots of little babies have skin flares and reflux when their breastfeeding moms consume dairy.

Happy helping!

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