Chicken and Dumplings is a comfort food classic of rich stock, delicate chicken, a trilogy of sweet vegetables, and tender homemade dumplings…
I absolutely cannot wait to share today’s homemade Best Chicken and Dumplings recipe. In fact, as I type this, I am thinking about how glad I am that I made enough for leftovers tonight.
And I get that it is springtime and chicken and dumplings may be that absolute last recipe anybody would find themselves thinking of putting together at the moment.
Thing is, we are still in quarantine here in Charleston, and I am cooking with what I have available to me in my pantry and garden, supplementing with what the grocery store has accessible.
What makes this homemade Best Chicken and Dumplings recipe so magnificent? I happen to think it is an ideal combination of cooking techniques and REAL ingredients.
Availability of many things has been a challenge. We are using a grocery delivery service, so I have had to come up with basic recipes that I can put together largely with what I already have, as the personal shoppers aren’t always able to find what I have on my order.
The Best Chicken and Dumplings recipe was born out of NOT wanting to use a can of cream of ‘X’ soup of any kind…
Using fresh thyme in the impeccably tender dumplings sends Best Chicken and Dumplings over the top…
So, I am learning how to use the grocery delivery services to my advantage. That has so far meant sometimes spending out more money to ensure that I get whatever the item is, regardless of brand.
For example, those 90-second rice pouches. Ultimately, I just need them. So, I have begun to order two of one brand, and two of another. I am lucky if I get one from either brand let alone all four.
Demand is high and I get it, so now is no time for brand loyalty in my kitchen. The caveat – I still want real ingredients as often as it is possible to get them. This chicken and dumplings recipe is just that.
Real food ingredients eclipse a can of cream of ‘X’ soup any day…
We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a couple of rotisserie chickens earlier this week. After an initial chicken dinner using part of one of the rotisseries, I had picked the bird clean and tossed the bones into a plastic bag for after we finish the other rotisserie.
I ALWAYS make homemade chicken stock from leftovers. The basis of this recipe uses that homemade stock. Use yours if you have it on hand. Otherwise, store-bought stock will do.
Recipes like homemade Best Chicken and Dumplings are made with love, and love takes time. The steps are not complicated, and the undertaking is very much worth the time.
Search your pantry for a can or two of evaporated milk. In all, you will need 10 to 12 ounces. Evaporated milk adds richness. If you do not have evaporated milk, you may substitute heavy cream.
A couple carrots, some celery, and a finely chopped onion – there is your Mirepoix, or the aromatic flavor base made by lightly cooking these three garden ingredients. Oh, and my previous rant about springtime not ‘feeling’ very chicken and dumpling-ish?
Springtime herbs such as thyme and fresh parsley are going to change that way of thinking. They absolutely elevate the lightness, brightness, and flavor of this dish. Your kitchen will smell Heavenly…
Best Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
For the Chicken Stew
- 7 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion
- 1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced celery
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 6 cloves rough chopped garlic
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 10 - 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 quart homemade chicken stock
- 4 cups chopped cooked chicken * leftover Rotisserie chicken works VERY well in this recipe
- 4 - 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 - 6 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, or to taste
Homemade Fluffy Dumplings
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
Prepare the Chicken Stew
- Using a 5 inch piece of kitchen twine, tie the fresh thyme and the fresh parsley together to make a boquet garni.
- In a medium dutch oven (4 quart), melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables being to wilt. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Mixture will be sticky. Add evaporated milk and chicken stock and quickly stir to combine, breaking up all lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Slowly bring to a boil and add chicken, boquet garni, black pepper and salt. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer. and add the peas. Peas, fresh or frozen, cook VERY QUICKLY, so only add them now during the last part of the cook. Let stew cook, uncovered, and begin the dumpling batter.
Prepare the Homemade Fluffy Dumpling Batter
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, pepper, salt and Herbes de Provence. Make a shallow well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the milk and the melted butter into the center.
- Using a fork, stir together until batter comes together similar to a dough ball. Batter will be very sticky and somewhat stiff.
- In the bowl, roughly cut the ball in half. From each half, portion three smaller portions of equal size. Round-off the six portions using a large spoon. Place one in the center of the stew, then place the five remaining around the pot, leaving a bit of room between each.
- Once all dumpling balls have been added, gently press them down so the stew juice runs over just the tops of them.
- Place the lid on your pot and lower the heat to a low simmer. You don’t want the bottom of the stew to burn but do want the stew to still be simmering in order to cook the dumplings through.
- Cook for 15 minutes. Occasionally gently stir/scrape the stew on the bottom of the pot to avoid sticking/burning. Do this as best you can around the dumplings, as the dumplings will have by now almost doubled in size. If you are unsure if the dumplings are cooked through, cut one dumpling in half to make sure. If necessary, cook an additional 2-3 minutes and check dumplings again.
- Once the dumplings are cooked through, serve hot. Be sure to remove the boquet garni and discard.