Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

Apparently chicken and dumplings is a classic comfort food dish… or so says my boyfriend. Neither I nor anyone else I know has ever tried it, but I must say I've been missing out. It was probably the messiest dish I have ever made (it didn't help that I had scoured my kitchen just that morning), but the end result made for some delicious, stick to your ribs, goodness.

We had some friends over for a post-Hurricane Sandy dinner and movie night. I asked my boyfriend a few days prior what he wanted for dinner and he immediately blurted out chicken and dumplings. I was puzzled that that is the first thing he came up with and that I had never really heard of that. But since he was so adamant on that being served, I had no choice. How hard could it be, right?

I immediately Googled the recipe and found Paula Dean’s version … obvious choice for a comfort food dish. The recipe looked pretty simple, so I gave it a shot. My one friend and I decided to tag-team dinner while the men sat on the couch and watched the Notre Dame game. It started out easy, cooking a whole chicken for 40 minutes and adding the standard veggies. But then came the dumplings… they were huge and took forever to cook through. Then the gravy wasn't getting thick.  Then I realized I put one too many packets of bouillon in the mix so it was really salty. Then there was the endless banter from my boyfriend asking how it was going in there as I am covered in flour. But finally the hard work paid off. The crowd of hungry guests enjoyed it and I felt good for accomplishing one of my hardest recipes to-date.

This is a great meal to store for those cold winter nights when you don’t feel like cooking. There were about 2 servings left over that I was able to store away in the freezer. I would definitely recommend making this when you have a lot of time on your hands and don’t have to worry about hungry men breathing down your neck!

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 8

4 lb chicken
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 bay leaves
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tsp. salt, black pepper, garlic powder combined
2 cans condensed cream of celery or cream of chicken soup

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Ice water
  1. Place the chicken, celery, onion, bay leaves, bouillon and House Seasoning in a large pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover the chicken fully.
  3. Simmer the chicken until it is tender and the thigh juices run clear, about 40 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and, when it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and separate the meat from the bones. Return the chicken meat to the pot. Keep warm over low heat.
  5. To prepare the dumplings: Mix the flour with the salt and mound together in a mixing bowl.
  6. Beginning at the center of the mound, drizzle a small amount of ice water over the flour. Using your fingers, and moving from the center to the sides of the bowl, gradually incorporate about 3/4 cup of ice water. 
  7. Knead the dough and form it into ball.
  8. Dust a good amount of flour onto a clean work surface. Roll out the dough (it will be firm), working from center to 1/8-inch thick.
  9. Let the dough relax for several minutes.
  10. Add the cream of celery soup to the pot with the chicken and simmer gently over medium-low heat.
  11. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces. Pull a piece in half, roll into balls and drop into the simmering soup. Repeat.
  12. Do not stir the chicken once the dumplings have been added. Gently move the pot in a circular motion so the dumplings become submerged and cook evenly.
  13. Cook until the dumplings float and are no longer doughy, 3 to 4 minutes. I recommend testing one to make sure they are cooked thoroughly.
  14. To serve, ladle chicken, gravy, and dumplings into warm bowls.

Note: If the chicken stew is too thin it can be thickened before the dumplings are added. Simply mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water then whisk the mixture into the stew.


  1. Definitely a comfort food and one of our favorites. Thanks for your version. And thanks for the dumpling recipe, so many recipes I read they just use refrigerator biscuits as the dumplings.

  2. Thanks for visiting the blog and commenting! The biscuits were so easy to make, I don't know why people would take the easy route and do refrigerated biscuits. Let me know how yours turns out! Happy Thanksgiving!