My family loves comfort food! I can’t think of a dish more synonymous with comfort food than Chicken and Dumplings. I have tried several recipes over the years. Some include veggies, some don’t. I prefer veggies in mine. I landed on this recipe on the internet a couple of years ago, and think it’s one of the best.
Chicken and Dumplings
1 5 lb. chicken, cut up into 2 legs, 2 thighs, and two breasts, skinned; the rest of the chicken is cut up into 2 to 3 inch chunks with the skin on for stock (back, neck and wings).
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
2 bay leaves
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 boiling onions, peeled and quartered
6 Tbs. unsalted butter or chicken fat from the cooked chicken
6 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. dried Thyme
1/4 cup dry sherry or marsala
1 Tbs. heavy cream
3/4 C frozen peas
1/4 C fresh parsley leaves
2 C cake flour (you can use regular flour, but the cake flour makes the dumplings lighter)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs. butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup minced fresh herbs…I used parsley, chives and tarragon
Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cut up chicken pieces (not the skinless) and the onion wedges. Saute’ until the onions become soft and the chicken pieces lose their pink, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for an additional 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a kettle. Increase the back to medium-high and add the boiling water.
Add the rest of the chicken, 2 bay leaves, salt (as needed) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat; continue to simmer, partially covered for another 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken parts from the pan and set aside. Place a strainer over a bowl and pour the broth through it, straining out the solids. Skim the fat off the broth to use for the roux, and remove the meat from the chicken bones when the meat is cool enough to handle. Reserve 5 cups of broth. If it’s little shy, you can add some water or canned chicken broth.
While the chicken is cooking, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the herbs if you like. Add melted butter and milk to the dry ingredients. Gently mix with a fork until the mixture just comes together…don’t over-do it! Set aside. You can also cut your veggies up during this time and place in a bowl to add later.
Now, back to the skillet…add the chicken fat that you saved plus butter (if necessary) to make 6 Tbs of fat in the skillet, over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and thyme. Cook, whisking constantly, until flour turns golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the sherry or marsala and slowly add the stock. Simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the veggies and simmer for another 5 minutes. Now, add your chicken into the stew, as well as your cream and frozen peas. Return to a strong simmer. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Drop the dumplings batter into the simmer stew by heaping tablespoons, over the entire surface of the stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. They must steam, not boil, so you need to keep the lid on.
Sprinkle the top with fresh parsley. Ladle portions of meat, sauce, veggies and dumplings into soup bowls and serve immediately.