Perfect Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey and Dumplings

Happy Tuesday, guys! How was your weekend? I had a nice, long holiday weekend.

It was an excellent opportunity to plan for the zombie apocalypse.

Yes, I’m talking zombies again today. I promise I won’t talk about them again for a while.

I promise.

I can’t help it, though. It’s become a tad bit of an obsession.

It’s not my fault…it’s The Walking Dead.

That show has me preparing for the worst.

I mean, seriously, what am I supposed to do? Just wait until the next time I have to have an extended, unconscious stay in the hospital, and then hope for the best that when I wake, the zombies won’t be shuffling about, killing the ones I love??

I think not.

Preparation is key, and Mad Eye Moody had it right when he said, “Constant vigilance!”

Therefore, my preparations for the zombie takeover are falling into place.

Unfortunately, when I sat down with my sister, and explained the situation to her over lunch, she didn’t see things quite the same way.

I was simply informing her that the construction of my underground bunker was underway, and that she and her family were invited to join my family when the dead began walking the earth, but that they were going to have to pull their weight.

I mean, I can’t stock the bunker for both of our families to live in for an undetermined amount of time until the cure is found, and provide all of the gun power and ammunition, plus the skills needed to use such equipment all by myself.

Sure, I’ve got the hubster, too, but I told my sister that she and her children (I’m not worried about her huns…he’s military already) were going to have to be trained in zombie preparedness and combat.

She told me she was worried about me, and thought that maybe now was the time to cut myself off from The Walking Dead.

I briefly considered that she might be right, before coming to my senses.

I’ve decided to forgive her and that she and her family are still invited to live in my family’s zombie apocalypse bunker.

I’m a good person like that.

Besides, in addition to the zombies rushing them for their brains, they like my turkey and dumplings too much to resist my offer.

She’ll see reason when the smell of my soup comes wafting by…and the zombies are bearing down.

This was my very, very favorite food when I was a little girl. Even now, it’s in my top five. It’s just so wonderful. It’s easy, simple, delicious home cooking; stick to your bones, hearty goodness that is so comforting. Soft, yummy dumpling noodles in thick, flavorful broth with tasty veggies and leftover, cooked-with-love turkey… What’s not to love??

Of course, this can be made with chicken, too. In fact, that’s typically how I make it, but it’s perfect for that leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Or, you can skip the meat altogether and use your favorite vegan substitute…pretty awesome. Plus, all of the flour in this recipe can be replaced with gluten free flour, making this recipe safe for everyone to eat. Yay!!

The dumplings are so easy, you’ll wonder why you don’t make them all the time (I’ve known how easy they are for years now, and I still wonder why I don’t make them all the time). You just need all-purpose flour, shortening, baking soda, a little salt, and ice water. You can even replace the ice water with cold chicken broth, but once these are in the soup, you won’t taste any difference between dumplings made with water, and those made with broth.

When you add the water, the dough will get a shaggy look, and it’ll seem like you need more water, but you usually don’t. Sometimes, you might have to add a sprinkling more, but you want to be very reserved with it, because the dough will get too sticky and soft otherwise. When the dough reaches this shaggy look, flour your hands and knead the dough by hand until it’s smooth.

The finished dough should look like this and shouldn’t be sticky.

Flatten the dough into a small disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours, or freeze for 30 minutes. To chill the dough even faster, divide it into two equal pieces, then wrap and cill it for half the time.

Once it’s chilled, roll the dough out on a floured surface to the desired thickness. This puffs slightly as it’s cooking, so I roll relatively thin. Plus, the thicker the dough, the longer the noodles take to cook properly.

Sometimes I cut out fun shapes with mini cookie cutters, just for the heck of it. 🙂

Usually, though, I go for simple square or rectangular shapes. I just cut them in strips, like this, then I cut them again, crosswise. There’s no right or wrong way to slice your dumplings, but keep in mind that it’s annoying to try to eat a dumpling that is too big. It’s never fun trying to slice stuff in a bowl of soup with a spoon. Generally, I make my dumpling about a half inch wide by an inch to two inches long.

Once all of the dumpling are cut, set them aside in a bowl or on top of the plastic wrap you chilled them in. If they seem a little sticky, toss them in a small amount of flour before setting them aside, to prevent them from sticking to each other.

Now for the soup…yum. Start by melting a stick (113 grams) of unsalted butter, or margarine, if you’re going for lower cholesterol. This can also be made dairy free, (and even vegan if you use tofu, or skip the meat altogether) by using margarine. Toss in a finely minced onion (the finer, the more likely your Picky Eaters will eat this), and some sliced carrots and celery. Just like I make my onions very fine for the Picky Eaters, I tend to make my carrots and celery chunkier for them. I’ve found that when they can see it and they know what it is, they’re less likely to stare at the spoon before every bite, trying to identify every sliver of celery.

I love cooking carrots and celery and onions together in hot butter. It’s one of the most beautiful, delicious smelling things you can do in a kitchen.

Once the veggies are fork tender (usually after seven minutes or so), you’ll stir in some herbs, a little garlic, and some flour.

After the veggies are all coated with the flour, slowly begin adding chicken broth. I add the first two or three cups very, very slowly over higher heat, stirring constantly. This allows the first bits of broth to form a thick paste with the flour, which will give the finished soup a thicker broth.

After you have all of the veggies coated in a yummy, floury paste, add the remaining broth, stirring constantly. Toss in some salt and pepper, and a couple of bay leaves, and simmer for ten minutes.

While that’s simmering, cut or shred your leftover turkey. I usually use one and a half to two pounds of turkey or chicken. If the meat is very dry, add a small dash of hot water to moisten it a bit.

Add the meat to the soup and continue cooking, bringing the soup to a soft boil.

The meat doesn’t need to be pre-cooked. Just dice the raw chicken or turkey breasts into bite sized pieces, and cook in the soup for ten minutes before adding the dumplings.

Once your soup has started boiling, stir in the dumplings…all of them. This is like a big ole pot of heaven on earth.

Depending on the thickness of your dumplings, cook the soup on medium heat for 10 to 20 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked through.

I love this soup. I love it with all of my heart and every fiber of me being. It’s simple, easy, and incredibly scrumptious. It’s been my favorite since I was a little girl, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. You can dress this up with the addition of any vegetables, spices, or other ingredients that you like, or you can serve it as-is, in all it’s uncluttered, home-cookin’ glory. Also, have a fresh salad and soft bread with it. Trust me on this. Enjoy!

Turkey (or Chicken) and Dumpling Soup [Printable Version]
Makes 6 to 8 servings


1 1/2 cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour (GF flour can be used…yay!)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (125 ml) ice water (or cold broth)

1/2 cup (1 stick or 113 grams) unsalted butter, or margarine
1/2 of a medium onion, finely diced or minced
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 large celery stalks, cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced (or 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder)
1/2 cup (64 grams) all-purpose flour (GF flour can be used)
8 cups (2 quarts or 1 Liter) chicken broth (veggie broth, for vegan)
2 whole bay leaves
1 1/2 to 2 pounds chicken or turkey breast (double check all of your poultry to be sure it’s gluten free), cut into bite sized pieces (or vegan chicken/turkey substitute)

To make the dumplings: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using a fork, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until combined. Add the ice water and stir until a shaggy dough forms.

Knead the dough by hand until a smooth balls forms. Flatten the ball into a small disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for two hours in the refrigerator (or 30 minutes in the freezer).

Once chilled, remove the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. The dough shouldn’t be thicker than 1/4-inch. Cut the dough into dumplings that are about a 1/2-inch wide by 2-inches long; set aside.

To make the soup: In a large stock pot set over medium high heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onion and veggies. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the veggies, stirring occasionally, until fork tender, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the thyme and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the flour and stir to coat all of the veggies.

Increase the heat to medium high and slowly add one cup of chicken broth, stirring to form a paste with the flour. Repeat this step with a second cup of broth. Add the remaining broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add the bay leaves, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the chicken or turkey. If using raw meat, cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Otherwise, bring the soup to a boil. Drop handfuls of the dumplings into the soup, stirring to prevent them from sticking to each other. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the dumplings. The soup is ready when the dumplings are no longer gummy inside.

Recipe by Darla

Leave a comment


  1. says

    wow that soup sounds amazing… very similar to my mom’s chicken & dumplings but she leaves the vegetable pieces larger & makes the big dumplings. mmmm one of my favorite meals ever!

    i’m soooooooo with you on the walking dead & zombie apocalypse. we are totally addicted to that show! and this season has been crrraaazy but super good. make sure you leave room for me in your zombie bunker 🙂

  2. says

    First, I’m so with you on Zombies!
    You can never be too prepared.

    I warned folks about the apocalypse in my post.
    But, no one left feedback.
    Perhaps they were just too busy filing their underground shelters with canned goods and wine.

    Love this recipe. I’ve been meaning to try rolled dumplings for some time now. This looks like a good recipe to use. I usually make drop dumplings.I should re-post that recipe…for some reason it’s not pulling up when I search for it. It’s a really tasty chicken and dumpling soup – using flour, eggs and nutmeg for the dumplings.

  3. Jenny says

    I am seriously impressed you got a Harry Potter reference in with a Walking Dead one, lol.

    I will definitely be making a meat free version of this very soon, it looks delicious!

  4. Kristen says

    Hey Darla!
    I made your soup tonight! SO super yummy!! I knew I needed to use up the rest of the turkey and couldn’t think of exactly what I wanted. This turned out perfect! Thanks!!

  5. says

    You know, I never actually had chicken and dumplings growing up. Somehow through all my years of childhood I’d never even heard of it. And even now as an adult I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever had it once. This needs to change, and soon. Your recipe looks like just the delicious remedy for this strange strange problem of mine.

  6. Jaime says

    I made this last night and it was EXCELLENT!!! It was my first time ever having chicken and dumplings, let alone making them from scratch, and it was so easy. It will definitely be added to my weeknight dinner rotation! Perfect for getting rid of leftover grilled chicken! 🙂