I don’t know about you, but there are some dishes I’ll always compare to my granny’s. Chicken and dumplings is one of those. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to replicate that delicious cold weather food. I do think I’ve come up with a suitable substitute though. Usually I like big flavor, but this is a delicately flavored dish kind of like a lot of her food was. And, while the dumpling is the star here I personally love cooked carrots so I go a little heavier on the veggies than some other recipes.
Ingredients for soup base
- ½ C all purpose flour
- 4 large chicken thighs, skin on
- 3 T olive oil
- ¼ C white wine vinegar
- 5 T Italian seasoning
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 1 t garlic powder
- 1 t onion powder
- 6 C water
- 1 t salt
- 1 t pepper
- 5-6 small carrots
- 4-5 stalks of celery
- ¼ C heavy cream
Ingredients for the dumplings
- 1 1/3 C flour plus about 2 T for sprinkling
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t. salt
- 1/3 C water
- 1/3 heavy cream
- 5 T salted butter, melted
- Heat oil up in a large stock pot that has a lid, I use my Dutch oven
- Put flour, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl
- Rinse chicken thighs in running water, dredge in flour mixture and place into pot over the hot oil. This step will ensure your broth is thicker than if you skipped it. I choose thighs over other cuts because the dark meat is more flavorful and we’re making our own broth so we need to fattier pieces to give us more flavor.
- Brown chicken on both sides – about 3 minutes per side
- While chicken is browning chop carrots and celery into quarter inch slices, you can either cut them straight down or on a bias (which is what I like to do)
- When both sides of your chicken is browned add the chopped veggies, white wine vinegar (do not skip this ingredient as it gives the broth dimension), Italian seasoning, bay leaves, garlic and onion power then cover all ingredients with water.
- Stir to evenly distribute seasonings and simmer covered on medium for about 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked. You can test this by sticking a knife in near the bone, if the juices run clear it’s done.
- Remove bay leave and chicken from pot and set aside until cool enough for shredding
If you like more broth you may add 1 – 2 C more water at this point. If you choose to add water you will need to be careful as this step will dilute the flavor and thickness. If you add more water, bring back to a simmer while you’re shredding the chicken. If no extra broth, reduce heat to avoid evaporation.
Once you’ve got your base going you can make the dumplings
- In a small mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt
- Add milk and water to dry mixture along with melted butter
- Stir just until mixture is wet, do not over mix
- Take two spoons and divide into 12 equal balls, place onto wax paper and sprinkle with additional flour
- Set aside until ready to cook
- Once the chicken is cool enough, remove skin and use two forks to rough shred the chicken.
- Return to pot and bring broth back to simmer (medium heat is sufficient)
- When the soup begins to simmer add the dumplings one at a time. When all dumplings have been added give a light stir to make sure none are stuck together.
- Cover pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Avoid uncovering the pot during this time as the steam helps cook the dumplings
- Uncover pot after 15 minutes and test dumplings with a tooth pick. This will come out clean when they are fully cooked. If you need additional cooking time cook uncovered and check dumplings for doneness every two minutes.
- If you’re satisfied they’re fully cooked add heavy cream and stir lightly
Serve and add salt and pepper to taste