I remember chicken and dumplings as a kid. My mother used to make it all the time. Let me tell you now, I regard my next statement with much shame. I hated anything minutely resembling chicken and dumplings (Hush Child!). I still remember hoping with fingers crossed not to find any dumplings in my soup when the bowls were divvied out. It's one of those strong sensory memories. And yes, I checked, there are no records of my residing in a mental hospital at any time during my childhood. My mother must have kept my dark secret secure, praying I would someday grow out of those unstable tendencies.
So, with that delusional memory firmly in place, I was skeptical when I spied this little recipe in ReadyMade Magazine this past winter. The only reason I gave it a try may have had something to do with a ticking clock, desperation, and the combo of ingredients I had in my house. That said, I now regard my childhood memory of chicken and dumplings as a small lapse of insanity and confess it fully to you now.
When the mister returned home in June, this was the first meal I made for him. That says a lot. It is comforting, homey, and full of love. Some foods actually keep a significant amount of love bundled inside them (rather similar to homemade cinnamon rolls, I have discovered). So, here is my version of that delightful recipe. Mine is slightly altered, due to my husbands stink-eye for onions of any sort and my love of herby soups. I like to make this recipe for company since it only dirties one pot, and usually double the recipe. Love it!
Chicken and Dumpling Deliciousness
- Serves a family of four
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 6 c chicken stock
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme (I really like thyme)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- For the dumplings:
- 1½ c flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 T butter at room temperature, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ¾ c milk
1 In a large, heavy-bottom stock pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to pot. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, then turn down heat and cover pot to finish cooking, about 7 to 9 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside to cool.
2 Add garlic, carrots, and celery to the pot. (I have used other veggies such as potatoes, corn and peas in this recipe. You can add the small potatoes here and the corn or peas at step five) Stir well, then cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until veggies soften.
3 Meanwhile, cut reserved chicken breasts into ½-inch pieces. After veggies have softened, return chicken to the pot along with chicken stock, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a medium simmer and let cook for 15 minutes. While soup cooks, prepare the dumplings.
4 Dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Use your hands to incorporate the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk and mix well with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
5 Add parsley to soup, then salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil. Using a large spoon, carefully drop dumplings into boiling stew—they will float and remain on the surface of the soup. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes (see picture below) and then reduce heat to medium-low and cover, cooking for an additional 10 minutes. (Heads up: Dumplings will expand during cooking.) Remove bay leaf and thyme stems.
6 To serve, carefully scoop dumplings into serving bowls first, and then ladle soup around dumplings.