Chicken and Dumplings

I’ve definitely been more into cooking lately, and not just eating. I’d say the results have been fairly successful on the whole, which is what makes me want to try out more new dishes.
There’s one dish I’ve generally been able to make with a varying degree of success for the past decade or so: Chicken and Dumplings.

Oddly enough, though I can cook it, I don’t do it very often. I think the last time I made it was a few years ago. It always comes out just fine – it’s a solidly respectable dish. But it’s always been a bit ho-hum to me. I think it’s mainly the chicken – the star ingredient – the put me off of cooking it more often. The chickens from the supermarket (what I’d use) don’t have much flavor, so the end result would be a decent stew/soup, but with little real body to the soup. In a word, flat. Lackluster. Even when using broth or stock for the liquid. I’ve found a chicken brand/type that I find more flavorful, and I think it really helps the dish overall. I really enjoyed the latest incarnation of the Chicken and Dumplings I made recently.


Here’s a pile of chicken pieces that have been browned in the pan. I even butchered the chicken myself! I’m pretty proud of that one. Albany John had to leave the kitchen a few times while watching me hack through chicken joints with a cleaver, but I ended up with cleanly cut sections of individual breasts, backbone, wings, thighs, and drumsticks.


I love onions, so I slivered two large yellow onions and let them cook over low heat to caramelize slowly after browning and removing the chicken. My main problem with this was that I was using a large roasting pan to cook this in, so I had the pan over two burners. The result was some wildly uneven heating, but I didn’t end up scorching anything, so I didn’t screw up too badly there.

While the onions were caramelizing, I diced up some of the last carrots Albany John dug up from his garden. After I diced them, I added them to the hotter section of the pan to cook for a few minutes.

Once those were cooked, I made a roux in the pan out of flour and butter so it would thicken up a little more while cooking.

I added the chicken pieces back to the pan and covered it with some chicken stock/broth that was kicking around in the fridge and then about 2-3 times as much with water until all of the chicken was covered. Brought it up to a boil and then turned it down to a simmer to cook covered for about 30-40 minutes. The chicken stock was helpful in adding flavor since I wasn’t planning on cooking this for hours on end.

After the 30-40 minutes of cooking time, I removed the chicken from the pan and cut it into bite-sized pieces to return to the pan. This is partially because I didn’t want to cook the chicken into fall-off-the-bone tenderness/mush/slivers and wanted to eat it quickly, and partially because I wanted it to feed a lot of people. It was fully cooked at this point, so it was more for convenience and frugality than anything else. This was, admittedly, kind of a pain in the ass, but in the end it worked out well since it did serve a lot of people and it was easy to just ladle out of the pot.
While I was doing this, I turned up the heat on the burners beneath the pot and left the cover off of the pan so the Chicken and Dumplings broth could reduce more. I returned it to a simmer after re-adding the chicken bites.

After that I made the dumpling dough/batter and plopped them in by the spoonful. It’s like a really wet biscuit batter in terms of consistency. It’s easy to do by using two spoons – one to scoop out a bit of dough, and one to scrape it off of that spoon and into the broth.

After covering the freshly plopped dumplings and letting them steam for 15 minutes, it was dumpling time! I served these atop egg noodles (which you can see in the first picture).

Oh, regarding seasonings, I just did a little salt, sage, and paprika when I added my liquids. Add whatever you like.

Cost-wise, this was an affordable meat dish to feed people. It had a lot of leftovers. My chicken was a little over 4 pounds, and cost around $6. With the cost of all the ingredients used, I would say this meal cost $9-10, including the egg noodles and flour for dumplings (although next time I will see if AP flour is much of a difference). I think that’s pretty good for a meat dish that contained many servings, and used a chicken that seemed to have been raised in decent conditions.


Chicken and Dumplings
1 Whole Chicken
2 large onions, cut into thin slivers
3-4 cloves of garlic
chicken broth
water
Carrots, diced
Olive oil
Butter
Flour

Butcher chicken. I cut it into: breasts, drumsticks, thighs, wings, and the back.
Heat pan to medium heat. Add olive oil and lightly brown the skin of the chicken.
Remove.
Add more oil if necessary, and over low heat add onions. Cook 10-15 minutes until nicely caramelized.
Add carrots. Cook 5-10 more minutes until slightly softened.
Add 2-3 T butter to pan and melt it. Add flour to absorb the butter (around 1/3 a cup) to make a roux and cook lightly for 2-3 minutes.
Add chicken back to pan.
Pour in chicken stock/broth and water to cover chicken. (I did about 30% broth 70% water)
Add whatever seasonings you want.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook, covered ~30 minutes.
Remove chicken from stew and let the liquid cook down more.
While liquid is cooking down, cut chicken into bite sized pieces.
Return to liquid, and lower heat to a simmer.

Dumplings

2 C cake flour (AP is okay)
2 t baking powder
¾ t salt
2 T melted butter
¾ C milk

Mix all dry ingredients together well. Add liquid ingredients and mix lightly (don’t overwork it). It will look like a shaggy/wet dough.

Make dumplings by the spoonful and drop into pan. Cook covered 15 minutes.

6 thoughts on “Chicken and Dumplings”

  1. That looks terrific! It's finally gotten cold down here (though it's supposed to hit 90 again later this week) and I was craving chicken and dumplings all weekend long. I have most of a roasted chicken carcass in the freezer… might use that!

  2. Grace – indeed. Thanks!

    lili- RIGHT?!

    Albany John – Yes, manly, twee carrots. They still tasted great!

    phairhead – I've done that too. They're okay. But I never have bisquick or mixes anymore. So I just make it all from scratch.

    Bootsie! – that sounds great!

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