Tis the season of comfort food! And though it not be the healthiest option, chicken and dumplings is one of our go-to meals this time of year. This is also one of my mom's recipes that I first learned to cook once we got married. It's a tad more time consuming than just using canned biscuits for your dumplings, but it is eons better!
Ingredients for Chicken-broth Mixture-
2 Tbsp butter
2 stalks of celery
1 sliced onion
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp salt
3 chicken bouillon cubes
3 cups of water
4 cut up carrots
3 Tbsp of flour
Fluffy Dumpling Ingredients-
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp minced parsley
2/3 cup of milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
One of my obstacles in making this recipe is dealing with raw chicken. Ugh, I HATE it. I have learned some little tricks from those that are more experienced. So, I start by boiling the chicken. The recipe calls for a 2-3 lbs fryer. For Josh and I, I typically use 2-3 chicken breasts (so we can have leftovers) or 4 ish chicken tenders. Boil the chicken until it is all the way cooked through. You can start with frozen chicken or you can thaw it in your microwave beforehand.
Once your chicken is cooked you can set it aside to let it cool. Once cool, shred the chicken and then brown with your 2 Tbsps of butter.
While your chicken is browning you can prepare the dumplings. Start by mixing your dry ingredients- 1.5 cups of flower, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of minced parsley. I never have added the nutmeg.
Next add in one slightly beaten egg, 2/3 cup of milk, and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Mix until you've formed a sticky doughball. Now you need to finish your chicken mixture.
Once your shredded chicken is browned, add celery, onion, bay leaf, salt and pepper, 3 cups of water, and 3 bouillon cubes. Now, I have never followed the recipe so closely, I have always skipped the celery and bay leaf and substitute the onion with this-
I like the flavoring of onion, but not the actual onion, so this does well for me. as far as a specific amount, I just kind of eyeball it. maybe 2-3 tablespoons?
Bring this mixture to boil. If you added real onion, celery, and bay leaf, you would let it simmer for 20 minutes to tenderize the vegetables. Since I do not use those, it does not need to simmer that long. While this is boiling/simmering, you can cut up your carrots. The recipe calls for 4 carrots, I use about a handful of baby carrots cut up into small cubes. Josh does not care for the carrots so much, so I try to get them as small as I can since they don't sell minced carrots in a spice jar like they do onions (gotta please everyone!).
Add your carrots to the mixture and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the carrots become tender. While waiting, add 3 tablespoons of flour to 1/2 cup of cold water. Dissolve the flour in the water by whisking the mixture. By adding this to your chicken broth, the broth will thicken to be more gravy-like.
Bring this to a boil and retrieve your dumpling dough. I use a wide pan for this because it is easier for me to space out the dumplings. Because it is shallow, I have learned to add another cup of water and another bouillon cube at this point. Otherwise, while you are waiting for the dumplings to cook, they soak up all of the juice and then the chicken burns (which I have done SEVERAL times). So basically, add one cup of water per bouillon cube as needed to make the mixture soupier.
Scoop in spoonfuls of the dough one at a time and drop it into the broth. Once you have scooped in all of the dough you can gently stir around them. If you stir too much, your dumplings will break apart, which is still delicious, just not so dumpling-y.
You can see when the dumplings have began to cook on the sides and gently turn them over.
The cooking time of the dumplings is between 10-15 minutes, but basically just watch them to see when they are finished.
We pair this meal of starchy goodness with Pioneer Woman's mashed potato recipe, a can of green beans, and sweet tea. It is delish!! This recipe serves 4ish people. Josh and I usually have enough for both of us to have seconds and then once again as leftovers.
Side note- You could use this same recipe for chicken and noodles. Just make the noodles from this recipe instead of the dumplings and add them at the step that you would add the dumplings at.
Maybe I CAN be good at this cooking thing?! What is your favorite comfort food recipe of the holidays?