Cooks Illustrated recently had a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings. They weren't anything like my mother's chicken and dumplings. What was I thinking?? Of course they weren't. Cooks Illustrated is out of Vermont, and I grew up in Delaware, where the dumplings are made from dough that you roll out very thin and flat, cut into squares and then gently lower into the simmering broth so they don't stick together. That's the Delmarva method of cooking chicken and dumplings, and they're called "slicks."
Everywhere else in the country, they put scoops of biscuit dough on top of the broth, cover with a lid, and then steam them. And when I finished making them, that's exactly what they tasted like--dough balls simmered in chicken broth and steamed. The stew itself was excellent, rich and full of flavor, so once I removed the offending dough balls, we enjoyed a delicious chicken stew.
I even went searching on the web for Delmarva-style "chicken and slicks." To my horror, I found that some people have posted recipes claiming to be that style, but topping the chicken stew with Bisquick biscuits or even canned biscuits. They missed the point completely!
I found mentions of restaurants in Delmarva that serve chicken and slicks (and sell out of them quickly), grange hall and Veterans association dinners and church suppers, but perhaps they either think that everyone knows how to make them and therefore don't post a recipe anywhere, or their recipe is a closely-guarded secret.
So today, after I finish the painting on my remodel project (click here to see what that's all about), I will call my mother and have her walk me through her fabulous chicken and slicks "recipe" that's been in her head all these years. I didn't really learn it because I left home when I was 18 and haven't lived in Delaware since.
If it's not a secret recipe and she gives me permission, I'll post the recipe here. Stay tuned for Delaware Chicken and Slicks.