Chicken and Dumplings represents comfort in a bowl much like the healing quality of chicken noodle soup when you are sick. However, the dumplings have such a rich buttery flavor that you will want this meal when you are well. On a cold wintry night, this dish will warm you and your family from the inside out. Indulging in a satisfying, steamy bowl of Chicken and Dumplings by a crackling fire will make you forget all about the chilly, gray weather of a long winter.
Chicken and Dumplings can be a time-consuming, complicated dish to make but I have come up with a recipe that anyone can whip together and enjoy just as much as the complex recipe. Traditionally, a whole chicken cooked in a large pot with broth and vegetables. Once the chicken is cooked, it is disassembled sometimes leaving large pieces of chicken with the bone intact or removing the chicken from the bone before returning it to the broth. Both ways are delicious and if making whole chickens is your thing then by all means go for it. As a home cook for usually just my husband and myself, I prefer using skinless, boneless chicken breast. This method is simpler and allows me to avoid dealing with an entire chicken.
My mom never took the shortcut of skipping the whole chicken but the shortcut she did use was taking some help from the grocery for the dumplings. Instead of making her own dough for the dumplings, my mom would buy canned biscuits and cut them into pieces making for the tastiest little dumplings. My recipe uses both shortcuts, which I find to be a hassle-free method to a traditional comfort food.
Lizzy M.'s Chicken and Dumplings
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup yellow onions, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 cup carrots, largely chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 tbsp flour
3 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup milk
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast (1 breast serves two; 2 breasts serve 3-5)
3 Grand's biscuits, pull each biscuit a part into 5-6 pieces (I like Grand's biscuits, but any brand will work fine.)
In a large pot add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over medium to high heat. Once the oil is heated, add onions, celery, paprika, thyme, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Let the onions and celery sweat out (the moisture from the vegetables releases) for about 5 minutes in the covered pot. Next add the carrots and garlic, stir well to distribute the grated garlic. Cook in the covered pot for 5 minutes. Add one tablespoon of flour to the vegetables and stir well. Let the flour cook for a about 3 minutes to get rid of the floury taste. Next add the chicken stock and milk. Stir thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover and cook for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Next place the chicken breast in the pot. Cover and cook on low to medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the dish sit for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, the chicken will be steamed all the way through. With tongs, transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Letting the chicken rest will allow for juices to redistribute, so the chicken will not be dry. Slice the chicken into small pieces and return to the pot. Bring the broth and vegetables to a slight boil and add the biscuits. Cover and cook for 7 minutes stirring the dumplings occasionally.
Serve this dish hot and steamy in large, shallow bowls topped with chopped green onions for you and your family after a long day out in the elements. A classic dinner like this one does not have to be a great endeavor to prepare. Set yourself up for success by tweaking recipes to make them work for you without sacrificing flavor. In cooking (not baking), recipes are a guideline, not the law, so adapt recipes that you aspire to make to suit your style.