Spring Vegetable Game Hen and Dumplings

Spring Vegetable Game Hen and Dumplings

Growing up with a Bohemian grandmother – that’s big “B” Bohemian, as in small eastern European country, not small “b” bohemian like Birkenstocks and VW vans – I know something about dumplings. They’re the most uber-satisfying, slide-down-the-gullet comfort food of all time. But, whether they’re made from potatoes or from flour, they definitely aren’t lean cuisine. Dumplings hearken back to a time when food options were few, so making a filling meal out of a potato was a valuable culinary skill. We ate dumplings a lot when I was growing up (maybe that’s why we all looked like dumplings!) because that was our tradition. Here’s my downsized version of the chicken-and-dumpling classic, using Cornish game hen, tender baby dumplings, and lots and lots of veggies. You get all the satisfaction of tender poultry, young spring vegetables, and light clouds of chive dumplettes without the massive carb and calorie intake. It’s the perfect Sunday dinner, if you’re feeling big ‘B’ Bohemian – or just really, really hungry.


Serves: 4 

Prep time: one hour to prepare, 2-3 hours for broth to simmer

For the chicken broth: 


  • 10 cups water
  • 1 chicken carcass from a roasted chicken
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 parsnips, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Cornish game hens, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 green onions, cleaned and cut to 5 inch lengths
  • 4 carrots, peeled and kept whole
  • 1 leek, clean, peeled and kept whole
  • 2 cups peas

For the chive dumplings: 

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 egg yolks, well beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped



  1. Bring all ingredients for the chicken broth to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 hours. Remove carcass and vegetables from the broth, straining through a mesh strainer, and set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook pieces of game hen until browned, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add chicken and green onions, leek, peas, and carrots to broth and allow to simmer for fifteen minutes for hens and remaining vegetables to finish cooking through.
  4. To make the dumplings: 
    While broth is simmering, sift flour, salt, and pepper together. Combine egg yolks, butter and milk. Mix wet and dry ingredients and add chives. Mix together and let dough stand for 15 minutes.
  5. Set aside one quart of broth and bring to a boil.  Drop dough by tablespoons into boiling broth, lower heat and cook until dumplings are soft – about 15 minutes.
  6. Add dumplings to chicken, vegetable mixture and serve very hot in large soup bowls.

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  1. Annette Bernacke

    My aunt was married to a bohemiam and made dumplings with bread do have a recipe for those they were delicious.

    • America's Table

      Do I! I LOVE bread dumplings, and they’re very easy to put together. Here’s a recipe for bread dumplings:
      4 cups flour
      1 teaspoon salt
      2 egg yolks
      1 1/2 cups milk
      4 cups stale white bread

      Sift flour into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat salt, eggs and milk, and add mixture to the flour. Knead the dough until it no longer sticks to the bowl, cover and allow to rise for an hour. Work in the bread, rubbing it into dough using all your strength to pulverize the bread into the dough. Divide dough into 4 rectangular hunks. Bring a gallon and a half of water to boil, then put in the dumplings to cook. Don’t let them stick to the bottom of the pan or they will burn. Cook each side for at least ten minutes, flipping and allowing other side of dumpling to cook for another ten minutes. Keep heat at medium high under pot. Use a skimmer to remove dumplings from pot and slice into 1-inch slices with a sharp knife. Serve with breaded caraway pork and sauerkraut, tomato gravy, or any rich chicken or beef gravy. Heaven!

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