It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s gray outside and all I want to do is cuddle up under a big warm blanket with the remote and a warm bowl of comfort food. So who’s going to make that happen for me? The husband? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Nice thought, but totally a daydream. Nope, I’ve got to take matters into my own hands on this one because A – Craig isn’t going to make it and B - even living in the land of good food (Los Angeles) I have yet to find a place where I can get a good bowl of my favorite comfort food: chicken and dumplings. This one takes a little time to make, but trust me when I tell you that it’s totally worth it. The harder decision is if you’re willing to share it.
I fell in love with chicken and dumplings when I lived in Cleveland. While it would be sweet to say it happened while I was standing at my grandmother’s side stirring the pot of soup while she added the dumplings to her mother’s chicken and dumplings recipe and that recipe would have been handed down for God only knows how many generations. Sadly, I can not truthfully say this (but it sounds all homey and sweet doesn’t it). No, I fell in love with Bob Evans’ chicken and dumplings. For those of you not familiar with the Midwest restaurant chain, it’s kind of like Cracker Barrel only 10,000 times better. Don’t even get me started on their buttermilk biscuits <drool>.
The thing I liked most about their bowl of chicken and dumplings was how rich tasting the broth was. Not a creamy richness, but a delicious chicken-y richness. It wasn’t thin and watery. And then there seemed to be about a half chicken’s worth of meat in each bowl. Needless to say, your belly was good and full after a bowl of this.
If you’re looking for chicken recipes for dinner, this is definitely one of those one pot wonders. Sure, you could add a salad to round it out a bit more, but you’re definitely going to be full and satisfied after eating this bowl of soup.
I usually start this off by making my own stock. I keep bags of chicken bones in my freezer for just such occasions. No, I’m not some kind of voodoo priestess keeping my sacrifices in my freezer. I just feel really guilty about throwing away the leftover bones from when I make those chicken dog treats for my spoiled pooch. Besides, making your own stock is easy, delicious and one of those cold weather recipes that just makes your house smell so good while it’s cooking that it’s practically mandatory to make it.
So if you can, I recommend making your own stock. If you can’t, you can use the boxed or canned (low sodium) chicken stock. The secret to making that super rich chicken-y flavored stock is to stir in a tablespoon of powdered chicken bouillon to the stock. Just make your normal chicken stock recipe and add in the bouillon.
What makes this one of those heavily requested chicken recipes for dinner, is the dumplings. There’s lots of recipes for dumplings out there, but most of them taste like blobs of wallpaper paste. Yes, I know what that tastes like and no, I’m not going to go into that here. Let’s just say it was an unfortunate re-decorating project.
The recipe I use for my chicken and dumplings, dumplings, is something I’ve slightly adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Joy of Cooking. The combination of milk and butter in these dumplings helps to give even more richness to the dish. And isn’t richness one of the things that make cold weather recipes so comforting?
So throw on your comfy clothes, warmest slippers and break out the stock pot. This chicken and dumplings recipe is begging you to make it and it promises to make you feel all warm and cozy inside.
- For Chicken Soup
- 2 Quarts Chicken Stock (If using homemade stock, make sure to add 1 tablespoon of powdered chicken bouillon to your stock before making the actual dish of chicken and dumplings.)
- 1 Tablespoon Powdered Chicken Bouillon
- 3 Carrots (trimmed and diced)
- 2 Celery Stalks (trimmed and diced)
- 1 Large Onion (thinly sliced)
- 5-6 Skinless Chicken Thighs
- For Dumplings
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- For Chicken Soup
- Pour the stock into a large pot and stir in chicken bouillon.
- Add in the carrots, celery and onions.
- Heat over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once it starts boiling, add in the chicken thighs and reduce to a simmer
- Continue to simmer until meat comes off the bones easily (about 45 minutes).
- Remove chicken from the soup and let cool slightly in a bowl.
- Shred the meat and add it back to the soup.
- For Dumplings
- While the soup is cooking you can make up the dumpling batter.
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a medium size bowl and mix with a fork for 2 minutes (this makes sure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed).
- Add the butter and milk to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat.
- Once the mixture is simmering, remove from heat and pour into the flour mixture.
- Stir with a fork or wooden spoon until everything just comes together.
- Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roughly roll it into a ball.
- Set all the raw dumplings on a plate.
- Once you have added the shredded chicken back to the soup, it's time to add the dumplings.
- Drop them into the soup and cover the pot with a lid.
- Simmer for 10 - 15 minutes.
- When you remove the lid, the dumplings will be nice and puffy.
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