Cousin K’s Chicken and Dumplings

Warm up your home with a large bowl of chicken and dumplings. This dish is pure comfort food. It is the food equivalent of a warm hug!

Photo by Allison of Culinary Cupcake

Chicken and dumplings is a popular comfort food from the American South. It is a soup in which chicken is cooked in water and the chicken broth created is then boiled to cook dumplings. The dumplings is typically made from flour, shortening, and liquid (water, milk, cream, buttermilk). The dumplings are either rolled dumplings where the ingredients are rolled out and look almost like noodles, or they are dropped dumplings in which the dumplings form a ball. When the raw dough hits the boiled chicken broth, the dough will puff up and expand. The broth will continue to cook the dumplings. Many versions of dumplings include herbs like thyme and parsley.

Chicken and dumplings has always been near and dear to my heart. I have always found the dish so warm and comforting. My first time eating chicken and dumplings was on a beach trip with my friend when I was around 14 years old. We were heading home on our way back from the beach and her mom and aunt wanted to have lunch at Cracker Barrel. After we had passed by all the adorable toys and kitchenware in the gift shop we were escorted to our table. I read the menu and was curious about the chicken and dumplings dish, so I ordered it. The plate put in front of me had chicken, flat noodle like dumplings, and was prepared almost like a stew. I took my first bite and I thought it was fantastic. It was soup was rich and creamy. The chicken was succulent and the dumplings were flavorful.

Now that I have tried many versions of this classic dish I can honestly admit that I love both dropped and rolled dumplings. If chicken and dumplings is on a restaurant menu I usually order them, but they are best homemade. For years I have been experimenting with chicken and dumpling recipes and one of the most successful has been from my cousin-in-law, Cousin K. She had a catering business and a baking business, so any recipe she shares is always very tasty. One day I had a craving for chicken and dumplings and I pulled out Cousin K’s recipe. Of course, it was deliciously successful. I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

Cousin K’s Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Yields 8 servings

Specialty Tool: Dutch Oven with a lid

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Wine Pairing Suggestion: Sauvignon Blanc

Beer Pairing Suggestion: Pale Ale

Ingredients

Soup:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 large carrots, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 cups water

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup sour cream

2 bay leaves

leaves from 1 sprig of fresh thyme

2 shoots fresh parsley, minced

More salt and pepper to taste

1 cup frozen peas

Dumplings:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/3 cup whole milk

chicken drippings

Directions

In the Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to medium-high heat.

Add the chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pot and set aside.

Drain the chicken drippings into a separate large bowl. You will use this later for the dumplings.

Heat the Dutch oven to medium heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add in the onion and carrot.

Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and stir for another minute, until fragrant.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the butter and flour. Whisk constantly for 2 minutes to create a roux.

Toss the cooked chicken in with the roux and the vegetables for a minute.

Add the water, chicken broth, milk, bay leaves, and thyme leaves. Whisk to incorporate.

Bring the pot to a simmer.

Once the soup is simmering, add the frozen peas, cover with the lid, and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering make the dumplings.

In the large bowl with the chicken drippings in it, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and milk. Stir with a large wooden spoon.

Stir the mixture until it becomes a single mass of dough.

Open the lid of Dutch oven. Stir in the fresh parsley into the soup.

Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon form the dough into 2 inch to 2.5 inch round balls.

Place the dough balls into the simmering soup. Make sure the dumplings do not touch.

Cover the lid.

Let the soup simmer for another 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked all the way through.

Serve warm.

This dish goes great with fried okra or fried green tomatoes.

Feel free to add more in season vegetables to this soup. Celery and golden corn go well in this dish. Try to buy whatever is local and in season to you!

If you want this dish to be extra decadent, replace the milk with heavy cream.

If fresh herbs are not available to you replace with 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme and 1 tablespoon dried parsley.

DID YOU MAKE THIS DISH?

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