My mother was quite famous in West Carroll Parish for her dumplings. She said that her trick was to use warm chicken broth to make the dumplings, and always, ALWAYS use Martha White plain flour. We (her kids) would always kid her and say the real trick to making good dumplings depended on how much flour you got on the floor. She sure made a mess in the kitchen when making her dumplings, but they were worth it. On the holidays, I make these dumplings and put them in her "dumpling" crockpot. It makes me think that Mama is there to help celebrate the holidays.
Combine the chicken, bouillon cubes, 2 teaspoons salt, and enough water to cover the chicken in a large pot. Simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. Do not boil. Remove the chicken from the broth. Put the chicken and the broth in the refrigerator to cool.
When cool, remove skin from the chicken and debone it. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Put broth in a medium to large pot. Bring to a boil. Remove 2 cups of the warm broth for the dumplings and set aside. To remainder of broth, add the soups and chicken pieces. Bring to simmer on low for about 30 minutes. Then bring to a boil before adding the dumplings.
Dumplings: Sift flour, salt, soda, and sugar into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.
Beat the egg and temper with a little of the warm broth so that it does not curdle. Combine with 1 cup of the warm broth and shortening. Melt the shortening in the warm broth first. Pour this mixture into the well. Mix ingredients well with a fork until a soft dough forms. Let it rest.
Flour a surface. Flip dough while handling. Roll out with the rolling pin. Roll very thin. Cut into small squares. Let the squares dry for 45 minutes.
Drop several dough strips one at a time into the boiling broth. When they float to the top, they are done (about 3 minutes or so or until they are no longer doughy).
Do not stir after dumplings are added; just move pot in a circular motion to move dumplings around. At this time, I put the dumplings into a warm crockpot set on low.
Combine 1 can milk, black pepper, and melted butter in a small saucepan until just barely warm. Pour over dumplings. If broth level gets too low, add more chicken broth.