There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a dish of Chicken and dumplings. The dumplings can be used with leftover roasted chicken and vegetables to make a second delightful, hearty, satisfying dinner. This is also perfect for stretching a small amount of meat and vegetables without resorting to a more traditional stew or the ubiquitous soup. If you raise your own hens, simmering is the perfect way to serve the meat, leaving it tender and letting all the flavor have a chance to develop. If you want to get the truest flavor from the simmer, let it cool to rom temperature after cooking.
Time saving option that doesn’t sacrifice flavor: Put the vegetables and chicken in a crock pot on low for 6-8 hours (high for 4-6). Debone the chicken and set everything from the crock pot in the stock pot that you will use to finish the recipe on the stovetop. Place stockpot in the refrigerator if making this step the day before. I like to measure and mix the dry ingredients for the dumplings ahead of time and then all that left is to whip up the dumplings while the chicken comes up to temperature.
Cook Chicken & Prepare Stock:
|Chicken & Stock:|
1 whole chicken
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf (optional)
1/3 cup butter
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 medium onion, diced
1/3 cup flour
1 1/8 cups milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Cook Chicken & Prepare Stock:
- Add chicken, broth, water, salt, pepper, garlic powder and bay leaf to a wide stock pot or dutch oven. Cover then bring to a slow simmer over medium heat. Once broth is bubbling, reduce heat to low then cook, covered, for 2-3 hours, or until legs and thighs are pulling apart from the body and the chicken is very tender. See notes.
- Remove chicken from broth; set aside. Strain broth into a large bowl or pitcher, discarding bay leaf and loose bones or skin; set broth aside.
- Melt butter in the (now empty) pot then cook celery, carrots and onion over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add flour, stir well, then continue cooking for 5 minutes.
- Slowly stir reserved broth in with vegetables. Continue stirring until completely smooth. Reduce heat to low and cover.
- Remove skin and bones from chicken then shred or cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Prepare dumplings.
- Heat pot with broth over medium-high heat until it starts to boil. Add chicken. Gently drop dumplings, one at a time, into gently boiling broth. Take care to drop dumplings away from other freshly dropped dumplings as they will stick to each other before they have a chance to cook.
- Once all of the dumplings are in the pot, sprinkle with additional pepper then cover pot. Reduce heat to medium-low then allow to cook for 10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.
- Serve immediately.
- Prepare the Dumplings:
- Place milk (1/8 cup is 2 tablespoons) in a wide, shallow bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes to chill.
- Melt the butter then set aside.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and thyme in a mixing bowl then whisk to combine; set aside.
- Slowly drizzle melted butter into chilled milk, stirring with a fork until combined. The mixture should look like curdled milk or cottage cheese.
- Add milk mixture to flour mixture then stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined.
- If making Drop Dumplings: scoop portions of dough with two teaspoons or use a cookie scoop (I used a 1” cookie scoop in the ones pictured here) then drop into gently boiling broth.
- If making Rolled Dumplings: Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface then sprinkle with more flour. Roll into desired thickness (anticipate they will double in thickness when cooked). Cut into squares or rectangles (however your nana did it) then drop into gently boiling broth.
- You can absolutely cook the chicken faster than the directions but the secret to tender, flavorful chicken and delicious stock is to slowly bring everything to temperature and to never allow it to reach a full, rolling boil.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or thighs can be substituted but I don’t recommend boneless, skinless chicken. If you simply must use them anyway, omit the water and broth then use chicken stock instead and add a stick of butter. Or consider adding 6 chicken legs or wings to flavor the stock.
- Drizzling melted butter into ice-cold milk will separate the butter into little fat globs. This accomplishes the same thing as cutting the butter into the flour as if making biscuit dough. We want the dumplings to be as tender and delicious as homemade biscuits.
- The dumplings will continue to soak up the broth the longer they sit. If you plan on making this ahead of when you will be serving it, consider preparing with 8 cups of chicken broth (rather than 4 cups broth and 2 cups water).
- If you don’t love the idea of the finely chopped vegetables, feel free to just rough-chop a few carrots, stalks of celery and an onion then throw them in the pot when the chicken cooks. If you decide to do it this way, still cook the butter and flour for 5 minutes over medium heat. This just makes a little roux to thicken the stock a bit. You’ll see a lot of recipes that call for a can of Cream of Something soup – this is the homemade equivalent to that.
- For an especially Southern spin on Chicken & Dumplings, add several sliced boiled eggs after adding the dumplings.