Chicken and Dumplings
1 3-pound chicken
4 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Place the chicken in a Dutch oven or other large pot, and add the water, broth, carrot, onion, celery and salt. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer for 60 to 70 minutes, or until tender and chicken is done. Remove chicken and allow it to cool enough to handle.
Bone the chicken, discarding all skin, bones and cartilage, and tear meat into bite-size pieces. Set aside. (You can do this part the day before, if you like. Just refrigerate the boned chicken -- well covered so it doesnt dry out -- and broth.)
Dumplings
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1 cup buttermilk
For the dumplings, combine the flour, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is consistency of coarse meal. Add the buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times -- no more.
If you have prepared the chicken in advance and refrigerated it, return it and the broth to your big pot and bring it to a boil. Then, with a very large slotted spoon or ladle, dip the boned chicken out of the broth, cover it and keep it warm. With the chicken broth at a low rolling boil, drop in the dumplings, one or two at a time, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir from time to time to make sure dumplings do not stick together. Cook dumplings 10 minutes. The flour in the dumplings will thicken the broth, and it is absolutely not necessary to thicken it further.
Return the boned chicken to the mixture and simmer until heated through. Add the freshly ground black pepper and remove from heat.

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