Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings might be one of the most quintessential comfort foods ever. It's like a warm blanket of thick rich chicken stew with a pillow of dumpling in every bowl. What could be more comforting than a blanket and a pillow? 

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Most people think of chicken and dumplings as a comfort food from the southern United States, but I grew up in Canada with chicken and dumplings made by my British mother. What I was eating in my childhood was probably different, however, to what is commonly enjoyed in the South and that difference probably comes down to the type of dumplings. Chicken and dumplings in the South usually has a rolled dumpling that is similar to a flat noodle.

My mother’s dumplings, on the other hand, were big tender dollops of dough dropped on top of the rich stew and then steamed. Because I grew up on chicken with dropped dumplings, of course that is what I gravitate towards when I make chicken and dumplings as an adult (although I won’t turn down a bowl of the rolled dumpling variety!).

Dumpling batter in a glass bowl with a green spatula - part of chicken and dumplings.

As with any food that is enjoyed by so many, there are just as many ways to make this delicious meal as there are cooks who make it. Some start from scratch with a whole raw chicken, making the broth using that chicken and then pulling the meat from the bones to add to the stew. This version takes a little shortcut and calls for a rotisserie chicken (or roast chicken).

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A cast iron pot with chicken and dumplings in it.

This not only saves you time, but gives you chicken pieces that are full of flavor, rather than chicken that has given all its flavor to the broth it is sitting in. Of course, you do have to accompany this great chicken with equally great chicken stock, so make your own chicken stock or bone broth or use a brand that you believe in, that has a nice dark color and great flavor.

There are also shortcuts that you can take when you make the dumplings. Bisquick is a commonly used mix for dumplings and produces quite satisfying results. However, it’s really so easy to make the dumplings from scratch with flour, baking powder and salt, so why not make them on your own? You can also flavor your dumplings by adding fresh herbs. This recipe uses chives, but any fresh herb that you like would be delicious. I sometimes throw a little lemon zest into the mix as well, which really brightens the flavor of the dumplings and might just brighten the cold winter day too.

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A white bowl with chicken and dumplings in it, along with a spoon and a blue napkin.

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Basic Chicken and Dumplings

  • Prep Time: 25 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h
  • Total Time: 1 h 20 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 1 rotisserie chicken torn into bite-sized pieces**
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 quart really good quality chicken stock
  • ¼ chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
Dumplings
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Instructions

  1. **If you don’t have a rotisserie chicken, you can use about 2½ to3 pounds of chicken thighs and breasts and sear them in the pot before following with the directions below. Once you’ve seared the chicken pieces, finish cooking the chicken in the oven on a baking sheet, or poach them in the chicken stock that is called for in the recipe. Once cooked, tear or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat a Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onion, celery and carrots until they are tender – about 8 to 10 minutes – stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and dried spices and stir around for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and stir well. The flour will absorb the fat in the pan and might start to brown a little on the bottom but don’t let it burn.
  4. Add the white wine or vermouth and stir, scraping up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and reserved chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. While the stew is simmering, make your dumplings. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter in with two knives or by pinching it with your fingers. (You can also use a food processor for this.) Stir in the milk and fresh chives until a wet dough comes together.
  6. Add the parsley to the stew and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  7. Drop the dumplings by the large spoonful onto the surface of the stew. Let the dumplings cook on top of the stew uncovered for about 10 minutes. Then, cover the stew and dumplings and let them cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve it up!
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Comments (16)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Mary. Chances are you might have had the simmer a little higher than what I had, or perhaps your lid wasn’t tight (pour spouts?). Either would cause more evaporation and consequently fewer juices at the end. Just add more stock as the remedy.

  1. My dumpling dough wasn’t really wet, actually it was a bit shaggy. It’s cooking now, so we’ll see how bad I messed it up. The stew part looks great though!

    1. I would suggest just making it a vegetarian stew and omitting the chicken. You can use vegetable stock and add some butternut squash or any other vegetables you like.
      ML

    1. Hi Mark. You could make your dumpling batter using a baking mix (Bisquick) by following the directions on the package and cook them as stated in the recipe.

  2. Hi Meredith, I am from Annapolis, Maryland and my mama was also from Maryland for generations – and both sides originally, generations ago from England and this is how we ate dumplings – light and fluffy dumplings. I love them and you are so right – a real comfort food. My husband is from western Pennsylvania and they fix them like big noodles. We have been married for 60 years and he really enjoys the dumplings we make and the potpies with the crispy edges hanging off our iron skillet – as do we all. Thank you for introducing so many to good ole chicken and dumplings. I do start fixing our chicken and dumplings or potpie with a whole chicken and season and boil it and remove the bones and then it starts getting really good as I fix it and add to it the way Mama did – yum.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! To use up the turkey from Christmas Dinner I picked the meat off the bones and made the broth in the Instant Pot from them with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and salt. We had 4 adults and 2 kids eating so I added a few cups more broth. Everyone loved it!

  4. 4 stars
    The stew was delish, almost as good as preparing it from scratch; ie: simmering a whole chicken for 2 hours. However my dumplings never rose, and stayed raw on top. I had to turn them over after 12 minutes and closed the heat as I was losing liquid. I was using a large oval Dutch oven, and there was enough steam. They taste a bit doughy & heavy but still edible. Meredith I looked at my other dumpling recipes which don’t call for butter and they called for larger amounts of baking powder. I would love to use your dumpling recipe though. Perhaps a short video on how and why these might not come out for Dumpling Dummies?

    1. Hi Althea. You have to leave the stew on a simmer to get the steam needed to cook the dumplings through, and you need to keep a tight fitting lid on your pot. The lid should help prevent the stew from reducing too much (although you can always add a little broth if it does). The broth will get a little thicker from the dumpling dough, but it should still have enough liquid to create steam. It sounds like you just needed to give your dumpling more time, completely covered. These dumplings are a little dense but shouldn’t be doughy in the middle. The other thing you might do is to check your baking powder to make sure it is still active. Baking powder does deteriorate and lose power over time. Pour a little boiling water on it and it should bubble rapidly. You can learn more about that here: https://bluejeanchef.com/cooking-school/baking-soda-vs-baking-powder/ I use butter in the dumplings for flavor.

  5. 5 stars
    Chicken and dumplings absolutely amazing recipe my family enjoys it so much Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe

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