I’m about to utter a phrase that, as a child, I never thought would pass my lips: I LOVE CHICKEN ‘N DUMPLINGS.
There. I said it. I’m pretty sure I gave my mom fits whenever she cooked up chicken ‘n dumplings when I was a kid. I just didn’t get it! Cooked chicken and doughy things… what gives?? I also had issues with brownies. And tootsie rolls. And obviously I love those things now so let’s just chalk it up to youthful stupidity.
So, you may not know this, but one of the downsides of not being on speaking terms with your mother is that you can’t just call her up and be like “Remember the such and such that you used to make? Can you send me that recipe??” As a result, my quest to find chicken ‘n dumplings like my mom used to make was quite the job. So many recipes involve packaged biscuits! Which is fine, if you like that kind of thing. Which I don’t. Sorry, y’all!
I was very excited when I came across this recipe in the winter of 2011. It looked like what my mom used to make! But would it pass the taste test? I found that it did. Hooray!
Now, my Texas friends who are sweltering in 80+ degree days already are probably wondering why the heck I’m posting what is mostly considered a quintessential cold weather recipe. Well, y’all, it didn’t get over 60 degrees in the Pacific Northwest today. I’m cold. Therefore, we shall have chicken ‘n dumplings. As far as I’m concerned, it’s early March around these parts.
I’ve made this recipe many many many times. Therefore, I’ve made some adjustments. In an effort to tell you exactly how *I* make it, I’m going to post my version at the end. For the original, use the link above (which is actually adapted from somewhere else in the blogosphere… of course!).
First things first: chicken! Can’t have chicken ‘n dumplings without some chicken. Chunk up a large onion, a few carrots and a few stalks of celery. Use the celery leaves if you have them… adds some flavor oomph that you will appreciate. Toss those in the pot.
|So bright, so lovely.|
Then, gut your 5-lb whole chicken, give her a nice rinse, and plop her on top of your veggies.
Cover the whole mess with water, and add some salt and pepper. Don’t overdo it with the salt and pepper at this point, you can adjust everything at the end.
Put the pot on the stove and bring her to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. It will take around an hour for her to cook through to a nice edible 165 degrees. Use your thermometer to check. We can’t have people dropping dead from salmonella poisoning. That’s bad for business.
While your chicken is cooking away and filling your home with all the yummiest smells imaginable, you should make your dumplings! You’ll need a few ingredients.
|Don’t forget to put your dough blade in your food processor. It didn’t make it into the picture but I promise I used it!|
Can I just say that I have never in my life used cake flour until I needed it for dumplings? Maybe I should use it to make a cake sometime and see if it changes my world. It could happen. Also? Please do not judge me for my huge vat of Crisco. It costs less per ounce and I realized with all the dumpling and biscuit making during winter months, I needed the big one!
Now,the original recipe is all “use your fingers to work the Crisco into the flour mixture” blah blah blah. You all know how I feel about food processors so let’s just do this the easy way, shall we?
You’re going to take that lovely ball of dough you just created with very little effort and dump it out on your floured pastry mat (don’t waste cake flour on this, just use all-purpose), and gently roll it out. I like my dumplings kind of thick, so don’t over do it with the rolling unless you’re into skinny dumplings. No judgement here.
|If you want to be super precise, use a pastry mat with measure markings!
But seriously, it so doesn’t matter. My measure markings are just for show. 😉
I’m pretty fancy because I’ve got 10 years as a Pampered Chef consultant under my belt, so I’ve got my pastry cutter for jobs like this. But you know what works just as well? Backside of a butter knife. Go for it.
|Kinda sorta 1″ by 3″. I’m into estimating.|
This is where the planning ahead to make this dish is imperative. You need to let your dumplings have some time to dry. Thirty minutes is BARE MINIMUM. I like an hour or more so they’ll hold their shape when they get cooked in the broth.
|Dry, my pretties, dry!|
When your chickety China is all done cooking, remove the bird from the pot and put it on a cutting board. One with wells around the edge is ideal, because it will be juicy. Let it chill there while you strain your broth.
|Do you like my FORKS?! I’m kidding. Those are meat lifters. Highly helpful in getting scalding hot chicken out of pot without hurting oneself. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking some up. They also come in handy at Thanksgiving.|
I use a stainless steel colander inside of a stainless steel bowl with measure markings. I have found through making this recipe many many many times that 10 cups of broth is ideal. The original recipe says 6. I say, don’t listen to her. I’m sure she’s a sweet girl, but 6 cups ain’t gonna cut it.
|See? Simple. No need for cheesecloth or other fancy things.|
|My birdie approves this straining of broth.|
|Approximately 10 cups.|
If you have any leftover broth, strain it into a container and throw it into the freezer for another day! Homemade broth is the awesomenest and it’s always good to have some on hand.
|Broth to freeze! Hooray! This is 32 oz for another day.|
Once you have your 10 cups of broth separated, put it back into your pot. (You’ve discarded your veggies, right? You should do that first.) Bring that broth to a simmer.
|Isn’t it pretty? Is it weird that I think homemade broth is pretty??|
Drop your dumplings into the simmering broth and let it go for about 10 minutes while you shred your chicken.
|Two forks is all you need.|
|Just get in there. Like Julia Child said: NO FEAR!|
|And there you have it. Poor little chicken didn’t know what hit her.|
Reduce your heat to low, and add that shredded chicken into the pot. Continue to cook it until everything gets nice and thick and yummy looking, about 30 minutes.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. And if it’s too warm where you are to enjoy this right now, file it away for fall. It will still be delicious then, I promise.