Macheesmo

Cooking with Confidence
The cure.
Chicken, Main Dishes, Soups

Chicken and Dumplings

by Nick

I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but I think I’ve found the cure for the flu… including the swine variety.

Betsy was sick a few weeks ago, and maybe she didn’t have the swine flu, but she was definitely sick and I decided to make a dish that my mom used to make for me: chicken and dumplings. When I told Betsy I was going to cure all her illnesses with chicken and dumplings she replied, to my shock, “I’ve never had that.”

I was stunned by that, but it made me even happier to make it for her.

I kind of feel like I don’t need a flu shot now.

The thing about this recipe is that there are a lot of shortcuts to take if you want, but I do recommend the full process. Sure, it takes some time, but it’s a great recipe to make on a lazy Sunday, it makes A LOT, and the quality difference is noticeable. IF you wanted to take some shortcuts though, you could use canned stock and maybe buy a roasted chicken or something for the chicken meat.

Another shortcut is to use Bisquick for the dumplings, but I think it’s worth it to pick up some cake flour and mix them up from scratch. It makes them incredibly fluffy and delicious.

Yield
Serves 6.
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients

  • 5-6 pounds of chicken. I used one full chicken (4 pounds) plus about a pound of chicken thighs.
  • Stock:
  • 2 Carrots
  • 3 celery stocks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 15-20 peppercorns
  • 1 garlic bulb, horizontally sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Carcass from full chicken
  • 6-7 Cups water (until it covers everything)
  • Gravy for final dish:
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, or fat reserved from chicken stock
  • 6 Tablespoons flour
  • 6 Cups stock
  • Dumplings:
  • 2 Cups cake flour (you can sub all-purpose flour, but seriously. Try cake flour.)
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 Cup milk
  • Finishing Veggies:
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 Cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 1/4 Cup parsley

Directions

1) Cut apart a whole chicken.

2) Throw all the carcass/bone pieces along with the wings in a large pot with a few tablespoons of oil. Let these brown really well for a few minutes over the highest heat. Then add the veggies and peppercorns and bay leaves for the stock. Let this all brown up for probably 5 minutes.

3) Add water. Scrap up all the brown bits on the pan and the water should change color really quickly to a nice brown/tan color.

4) Bring to a boil and add all of the chicken pieces (take the skin off or else the final stock will have too much fat). Just kind of tuck them in there. Add a bit more water if necessary to cover everything.

5) Cover this and let it simmer on medium-low for about 45 minutes.

6) After 45 minutes take the chicken pieces out and strain the stock. You should end up with 5 or 6 cups of pretty dark stock.

7) Let the chicken cool for 15-20 minutes and then pull it all apart into chunks. Feel free to move on with the recipe while you’re waiting for it to cool.

8) Chop the finishing veggies. Mix dry dumpling ingredients together, then add milk, and then stir in melted butter. Stir that all together.

9) Using the same pot that you used to make the stock (no need to wash it!), and melt the butter. Then stir in flour a few tablespoons at a time and took that over medium heat. Let this simmer for a few minutes to cook out the flour flavor.

10) Slowly add the stock that you made earlier. Add it slowly and whisk the entire time.

11) Add leeks and carrots to the gravy mixture and stir that together well for a minute or two.

12) Add dumplings using a tablespoon. Just toss them into the mix!

13) Cover this let it steam and cook for 15 minutes. Check the dumplings with a toothpick after that and if the toothpick doesn’t come out clean, cook them for another 5 minutes.

14) Stir the pulled chicken back into the dish and add the peas! Stir everything together and let it simmer for just a few more minutes. Serve it up like a stew.

Adapted from Simply Recipes, and Smitten Kitchen.


Making the Stock

In my opinion, this is not a recipe that you should try to make quickly. Spend the time to do it right. It’s makes a ton of food and the substitutions will really affect the final dish. So step one is making the stock.

The first leap you’ll have to take if you want to do this right is to cut apart a whole chicken. If this is just too much for you, you can probably get your butcher to cut it up for you or use your favorite mix of white and dark meat, but to make a good stock, you need some bones and fat so if you are using shortcuts pick up some chicken wings to at least get your stock started. If you don’t know how to cut up a whole chicken, this video is about as good as I’ve seen.

Assuming you have your chicken cut up, throw all the carcass/bone pieces along with the wings in a large pot with a few tablespoons of oil. Let these brown really well for a few minutes over the highest heat. Then add your veggies and peppercorns and bay leaves for the stock. Let this all brown up for probably 5 minutes.

Making a stock.

Making a stock.

After the chicken pieces are browned (it’s a good thing if there are a lot of brown bits on the pan), add your water. Scrap up all the brown bits on the pan and your water should change color really quickly to a nice brown/tan color.

That's lots of flavor.

That’s lots of flavor.

Cooking the chicken

It doesn’t really make sense to take shortcuts for this recipe because you have to bring a stock to boil anyway to poach your chicken, so you might as well make a good stock to do it in.

Anyway, once your stock is boiling, add all of your chicken pieces (take the skin off or else your final stock will have too much fat). Just kind of tuck them in there. Add a bit more water if necessary to cover everything. (I added a bit more water after I took this photo.)

Pretty simple really.

Pretty simple really.

Cover this and let it simmer on medium-low for about 45 minutes. Your house will begin smelling awesome at this point. After 45 minutes take your chicken pieces out and strain your stock. You should end up with 5 or 6 cups of pretty dark stock. Something like this.

Really Good.

Really Good.

Let your chicken cool for 15-20 minutes and then pull it all apart into chunks. Feel free to move on with the recipe while your waiting for it to cool.

No need to do this before it cools.

No need to do this before it cools.

Other veggies

You need some veggies for the final stew, and you can prepare these whenever. I chopped mine up while I was waiting for my chicken to cook actually. I chopped up a leek and some carrots. You could use a normal onion instead of a leek if you wanted and I think frozen peas are fine for this dish. No need to use fresh.

Get your veggies ready!

Get your veggies ready!

Making the dumplings

Believe it or not, I’ve actually had a number of chicken and dumplings recipes in my life and sometimes you get these really dense dumplings that are very rock-like. This is not that recipe. If you use cake flour and cook them like I do below, they will be like little clouds of deliciousness.

I really think cake flour makes a huge different, but if you use all purpose flour, reduce the total flour to 1 3/4 Cups flour.

Best. Dumplings. Ever.

Best. Dumplings. Ever.

Mix your dry dumpling ingredients together, then add your milk, and then stir in your melted butter. Stir that all together, but don’t over mix it. Keep the mixture light!

Should be like a thick pancake batter.

Should be like a thick pancake batter.

Making the gravy

I call this a gravy for lack of a better word, but if it’s a gravy it’s a pretty light one. Use the same pot that you used to make your stock (no need to wash it!), and melt your butter. Then stir in your flour a few tablespoons at a time and took that over medium heat. Let this simmer for a few minutes to cook out the flour flavor. It should start to turn a light tan color.

Then slowly add your stock that you made earlier. Add it slowly and whisk the entire time. If you add your stock too quickly, it will form lumps and that’s definitely not what you want. The bottom right photo below shows the final product.

Get it?

Get it?

Cooking the dumplings

Add your leeks and carrots to the gravy mixture and stir that together well for a minute or two.

Then add your dumplings using a tablespoon. Just toss them into the mix!

Cover it. Forget it.

Cover it. Forget it.

Cover this and whatever you do, don’t peek. Just let it steam and cook for 15 minutes. Check your dumplings with a toothpick after that and if the toothpick doesn’t come out clean, cook them for another 5 minutes.

Then stir your pulled chicken back into the dish and add your peas!

Your house will smell amazing.

Your house will smell amazing.

Stir everything together and let it simmer for just a few more minutes.

Then serve it up like a stew!

This will cure your ills.

This will cure your ills.

I’m not kidding when I say there is something magical about this dish. It takes a few hours to cook everything, no doubt, but the whole time everyone in the house will be smelling what’s cooking and anticipating the flavors.

Betsy and I ate this for a few days and whaddaya know – she was feeling better and I’ve yet to get sick this flu season!

Flu Shot. Schmlu Shot!