My son Justin requested I make my chicken and dumplings for dinner. He and 2 of his kids were coming over for dinner while wife Karyn and their other two kids were out of town for a few days. I pulled some chicken thighs out of the freezer a couple days earlier and was ready to cook.. Chicken and dumplings sounded like a great dish for a cozy family dinner.
Making a stovetop version is usually my favorite way to make chicken and dumplings. I’ve posted a crockpot chicken and dumplings recipe and a curried chicken and dumplings version. I actually prefer to roast the chicken in the oven then strip the bones down and throw them all in a pot to make some broth. Roasting the chicken whole or in pieces in a 425°F oven brings out the best flavor in the chicken. Golden brown, roasted goodness.
After letting the chicken cool a bit, I strip the meat off and set it aside. The rest of the bones, skin and squiggly bits go into a soup pot with some water and I let it bubble away for an hour or so. We’re getting every bit of chicken flavor out of the carcass then straining it out to have a nice chicken broth. It could be strained through cheesecloth until the broth is clear but I feel that’s removing more than necessary.
Before I return the stock back to the soup pot I drizzle a little oil onto the bottom and sauté a diced onion until translucent. As I slice the carrots and celery I add them to the pot as well. I like to give the vegetables a little head start before I add the broth back to the pot.
Broth added, I season with a little minced garlic, some sage, a little turmeric for color and some salt and pepper. Not much salt, I’ll be taste testing later for salt and pepper. After the pot comes to a boil I turn it down to medium low and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
While it’s simmering I peeled and diced potatoes. I don’t usually see potatoes in the recipes around the internet but we like a little potato in our bowl as well as the dumplings. The potatoes usually fall apart nicely and thicken the dish up. I dice the potatoes fairly small and put them in the last 30 minutes.
Once the carrots are fork tender I added the potatoes and again let the pot come to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. I mixed of the dumplings quick while I was waiting.
To make the dumplings that are going in the pot next I measure out the flour, baking powder and salt then cut in the cold butter. I added the milk slowly as I stirred, just until it came together. I doubled the recipe since there would be 5 of us for dinner. The pictures are going to look different if you make the recipe because it is for a regular, single batch of dumplings. Mine ended up a bit thicker than usual since the double batch was a bit.. unwieldy.
I rolled out the dough with a good amount of flour and cut it into squares. I added them to the pot one at a time, stirring occasionally so they didn’t stick together or to the bottom. When they were all added I set the timer for 10 minutes.
I added the chicken back into the pot to let it heat through and let the dumplings cook another 10 minutes for a total of 20, and they were perfectly cooked. I tasted for seasonings and added more pepper. The salt level was fine. They stuck to the bottom so I caution you to stir often, down to the bottom. As a last addition I added 2 cups of heavy cream, stirred well and dinner was ready.
I served the chicken and dumplings in large soup bowls. It tasted so good we were all moaning. Well we were all saying “mmmm” a lot. The broth was super creamy and had a nice strong chicken flavor. The chicken was still chunky (I am always cautious not to boil it so it falls apart too much). The adults all had two bowls and were very full afterwards. The kids were mixed; one loved it, one not so much. Kids’ palates wander from day to day so we’re never sure what they’re going to like.
Stovetop Chicken and Dumplings
8-10 chicken thighs (I used 6 thighs and 3 large cooked breasts I cut into pieces)
4 chicken breasts
2 quarts of water
1 large onion; diced
4 ribs celery; sliced
4 long carrots; sliced
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 quarts chicken broth
4 medium potatoes; peeled and diced fairly fine
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter; cut into small pieces
3/4 cup milk
flour for rolling
Roast the chicken in the oven on a sheet pan covered with foil until done, about an hour. Let sit until the pieces have cooled enough to handle. Remove meat and place the bones and rest into a small soup pot and cover with 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium and let cook for an hour. Add water as necessary to maintain 2 quart level.
Strain broth through a fine strainer and set aside. Saute onions, celery and carrots with a drizzle of oil in the soup pot until onions are translucent. Add broth and seasonings and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Add potatoes and let pot return to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Add meat and let pot come to a boil again.
In the meantime measure the flour, baking powder and salt into a boil. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or fork until it has the consistency of sand. This could also be done by pulsing in a blender.
Mix in just enough milk until the dough comes together in a ball. Place on floured surface and roll 1/2″ thin. Cut into squares or desired shapes and drop one at a time into boiling soup. Stir occasionally to keep them from sticking together. When all dumplings are added to pot let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until dumplings are cooked through.
Taste for seasoning, adding salt or pepper as desired. Add vinegar, stir and serve hot.