Both Roxie and my mother made amazing chicken and dumplings. But my first experience with the dish was from my mom’s recipe, which had really fluffy dumplings. Roxie’s dumplings were more flat and dense. They were good, but they didn’t look right to me. I’ll never forget the look on her face when I told her she was making her dumplings wrong. Thinking back now, I’m lucky I ever had Sunday dinner at her house again. Though their recipes were different, they did share the same secret, which is to start the day before so that you can remove the fat. In the South? Remove the fat? Yes, it is heresy, but it is true. Chicken and dumplings is just a better dish without the fat.
In a large pot over high heat, place the chicken, onion, and water. Add more water to cover chicken if necessary. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the chicken meat falls off the bone. Strain the broth, reserving the chicken, and return the broth to the pan, and refrigerate overnight.
After the chicken cools, remove the meat from the bone. Discard the skin and bones. Cover the chicken and refrigerate until ready to use. When you're ready to prepare the dish (after at least 1 day), skim the solidified fat from the broth and discard. Bring the broth to a boil and add the garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, salt, and chicken meat to the boiling broth, and return it to a simmer.
For the dumplings, combine the flour and the rest of the pepper into 1 mound in a mixing bowl. Drizzle a small amount of water into the center of flour. Using your fingers, gradually incorporate the water into the flour. Knead the dough and form a ball. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch pieces. Let the strips of dough rest before cutting.
Cut the pieces of dough in half and drop them into the simmering soup until all have been added. Turn the broth in a circular motion so that dumplings submerge and cook. Do not stir after this. Cook until the dumplings float, 3-4 minutes. Ladle the chicken, gravy, and dumplings into warm bowls and serve.