Place chicken in a Dutch oven or heavy pot; add water and 2 tsps. salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for one hour or until chicken is tender. Remove from broth and cool, reserving broth in pot.
Debone chicken and cut meat into bite-sized pieces; set aside. Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil and add pepper.
Combine flour, soda and 1/2 tsp. salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead lightly 4 or 5 times. Pat dough into 1/2-inch thickness; pinch off dough in 1 1/2-inch pieces and drop into boiling broth. (You may want to do this just like you did the dough for the chicken pie: roll it out and cut with a knife or pizza cutter into small pieces instead of the big dumplings.)
Reduce heat to medium low and cook about 8 to 10 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. stir in chicken. If you have plenty of broth, you may want to eat this the southern way—over rice. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
—Bob Ann Breland is editor and publisher of Fun with Food, a monthly food newsletter, featuring southern cooking. A sample was available in 1996 by sending $2 to Fun with Food, 53296 Highway 436, Angie LA 70426.
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