Friday, August 5, 2011

Chicken & Dumplin's

 One of my favorite southern dishes is definitely Chicken and Dumplings.  I grew up in South Carolina going to Cracker Barrell always, always, always getting Chicken and Dumplings with a double side of fried okra and biscuits.  When I moved away from the South I had to learn to make this dish myself so I didn't long for it for the rest of my life!  This recipe is incredible!  I absolutely love it.  It is really a super easy dish to make.  I always put the extra effort in to make the chicken stock from scratch but if you opt to use pre-made chicken stock instead you can whip up this dish in no time.  One of my little tricks to make my chicken stock extra rich and delicious is I throw in a chicken bullion cube in there with the water.  I love the results.  I actually add diced carrots to mine, though that isn't classically how it is made, I like the taste.  You can't see any carrots in the picture though as my entire family was begging to eat so I didn't have more than a minute or two to actually take a picture before everyone started eating all of the chicken and dumplings.  I tell you, this is one of those you gotta try it recipes!  You won't be disappointed.  I could eat this probably everyday for the rest of my life and die a happy happy woman.  
Note - This recipe does call for buttermilk in the dumplings, which as I've mentioned in my "Almost Buttermilk Biscuits" recipe, I don't have access to in Japan.  So, I've used 3/4 c. milk and 1/3 c. plain whole milk yogurt combined to substitute for buttermilk. 
Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken Stock:
1 (3 to 31/2 pound) whole chicken
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
small handful of black peppercorns
1 head garlic, split through the equator
2 tablespoons salt
3 rough chopped whole carrots
2 rough chopped stalks celery
1 chicken bullion cube
8 c. Water  (roughly) 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
2 carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish

For the stock:

Place the chicken and all stock ingredients in a large Dutch oven or large stock pot and cover with water. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour until the chicken is tender. Skim the surface of fat and scum as it cooks. When done remove the chicken to a cutting board. Strain the stock and shred the meat into big pieces - the stock will be used for the sauce and the chicken will be folded into it.
To prepare sauce: In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add the butter and oil. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, and bay leaves and saute until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Continue to stir and cook for 2 minutes to coat the flour and remove the starchy taste. Slowly pour in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition to prevent lumps.  Let sauce simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream.  (If your sauce isn't thick enough at this point you can always cheat a bit and add a bit of cream to some corn starch to thicken your sauce.)
For the dumplings:
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, using a whisk, lightly beat the eggs, and buttermilk together; pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold. Mix just until the dough comes together; the batter should be thick and cake-like.
Fold the reserved shredded chicken into the sauce and bring up to a simmer. Using 2 spoons, carefully drop heaping teaspoons of the dumpling batter into the hot mixture. The dumplings should cover the top of the sauce, but try not to completely crowd them. Let the dumplings poach for about 6 minutes then gently flip em' until they are firm and puffy. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season with freshly cracked black pepper.


  1. Great recipe. Sometimes I get caught up in trying the new trends I forget to include a down home dish.

    WONDERFUL post with so many details

  2. Yep this is good comfort food indeed. Thanks for sharing at my newbie party.