This is the perfect meal for a day or two after you've eaten a roasted chicken. Save the carcass and keep it in the fridge till you're ready for it (no more than four days or so though!).
If you don't have a chicken carcass, just skip the stock-making step and use six or so cups of chicken broth.
To make the Stock:
1 leftover chicken carcass
8 cups water
1 carrot, cut in 1-inch chunks (peeling not necessary, just scrub it well)
2 ribs celery, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 small onion, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
5 - 7 whole black peppercorns
Pick as much meat off the carcass as you can, and set it aside (you'll add it back in later). Break the carcass up into chunks (you'll want it fairly flat in the pan), and put it in a large pot. Add the remaining ingredients, and pour the water over the top (if it's not enough to cover, just keep adding more water till it is). Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for two hours.
After two hours, strain it into a bowl using a fine-mesh strainer to catch all the little herb bits (don't worry if some remain, it doesn't have to be completely clean, just make sure you at least get all the peppercorns out!). If there is a lot of fat, skim it off the top (you can use the fat in place of the butter in the dumplings). Pour it back into the pan and return it to the heat.
To make the soup:
2 carrots, sliced (peeled if desired)
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (use what you pulled off the carcass)
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 can evaporated milk, divided (I use evaporated skim milk)
salt and pepper to taste
Add the vegetables and poultry seasoning to the stock. Cover and let simmer 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, make a roux: in a small skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour, stirring constantly. Cook for two minutes. Open the evaporated milk and measure out one cup. Set this aside (you'll need it for the dumplings). Add the remaining milk to the butter and flour mixture, stirring until the mixture thickens.
When the vegetables are done, stir in the chicken, peas, and roux. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is dissolved. The mixture will thicken slightly, but will remain fairly soupy (if you like a thicker base, just make more roux). Cover and let simmer while you make the...
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 cup evaporated milk
3 tablespoons butter
In a medium-size bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley. Melt the butter and stir in the milk (this is the milk you reserved earlier). You can do this in the microwave or on the stovetop, doesn't matter. You just want the mixture to be warm, not hot. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture all at once, stir just to combine.
Drop by spoonfuls onto the soup. Cover and cook over low heat for 17 minutes, or until dumplings feel firm when you press on them. Don't take off the lid while they cook! They rely on the steam to cook the tops.