Chicken and Dumplings [RECIPE]

Chicken and Dumplings (Photo by Jathan Fink, Jadeworks Entertainment)

Chicken and dumplings are a Southern staple. They’re one of those dishes that is pure, classic comfort food and there are loads of different methods to make them out there. I think we even have a couple recipes for them on this site already.

Funnily enough, this isn’t a dish I grew up eating because my mom never made it once. (I called and checked!) But growing up in the South, there were plenty of other places to find it, including local restaurants and friends’ kitchens, so I get a hankering for it now and then.

When I put this one together last night, Heather and I both agreed that I’d achieved greatness. Or as one of our friends back in Ohio always says, I put my foot in it ! I hope your family loves it as much as we do. Happy eating, y’all!

PREP TIME: 35 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds), cut into pieces (Be sure to save the backbone in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer to use for stock later!)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced celery
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 10.5-ounce can cream of chicken soup

Dumplings

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
  • Kosher salt, as needed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on both sides. Be sure to include the neck and gizzards if you have them. (Somebody always seems to like to eat them, and they’ll add additional flavor to the pot!) Once browned, transfer chicken to a clean plate to rest.
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and melt butter in same pot. Add the diced carrots, celery and onions, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add thyme and turmeric, then pour in chicken broth and cream of chicken soup and stir to combine. Add browned chicken and cover the pot. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. NOTE: If you’re making this a day ahead, you can stop here and continue with the dumplings the following day. Just cover and put the whole pot in the fridge overnight. Remember, though, to reheat the liquid mixture until it’s hot and steamy before you continue with step three.
  3. Now it’s time for the dumplings! While the chicken simmers away, you’ll make up the dough. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Drizzle 1 1/2 cups of the half-and-half over the dry ingredient mixture, and stir to combine. Set aside.
  4. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a clean plate. Once the chicken is cool enough to touch, shred it with clean hands, making sure to discard the skin, bones and any tough connective tissue nobody wants to eat. You don’t have to chop the meat finely, because this is a rustic, homestyle meal! Tearing it with your fingers is good enough. Once the meat is all torn into chunks, return it to the pot.
  5. Whisk together remaining 1/2 cup of half-and-half and flour to create a slurry. Pour it into the pot and stir to combine. This will help thicken the soup.
  6. Using two spoons, drop tablespoons of the dumpling dough into the simmering pot. I like to scoop with one spoon and push the dough off into the liquid with the other one. Add minced parsley. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. DO NOT STIR! Stirring the pot at this point will just tear your dumplings to shreds, so just grab the handle with a potholder and gingerly shake the pot to move the ingredients around inside. Don’t do it hard enough to spill anything over though. Do this every five minutes until your 15 minutes are up. Check to see if the broth needs any additional seasoning and add salt if necessary. Remove from heat and allow pot to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

YIELD: 8 servings

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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