My mother was an amazing cook, and I have many of her recipes (which I make all of the time). One that I don't have is chicken and dumplings. So when I moved to the South, I was very excited to see it on menus. But people - you are doing it all wrong!! Here in the South, they think dumplings are basically big fat noodles. Tasty, but not chicken and dumplings.
So it was with a good deal of trepidation that I decided to try a new recipe. And...And....it's right!! It has those light, feathery biscuit like dumplings that float on top of the chicken stew and get all disintegrating at the edges. Mr. Double Up and I are both sporting burnt mouths because we simply could not wait for it to cool down before diving in.
I made this the "right" way - which involves stewing a chicken overnight to make my own chicken stock. But I am pretty sure this would be delicious using a store bought chicken and canned broth.
For the Chicken and Chicken Stock
1 3-5 pound chicken
8 cups water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Pinch of peppercorns
A few stalks of celery, a few carrots, a few onions… whatever you have laying about
Combine the chicken, water, vinegar, peppercorns, and vegetable bits together in a large pot.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and allow to very gently simmer for 8-12 hours.
Remove the chicken from the stock and let it cool.
Strain the stock to remove any stray bits of bone, skin, or vegetables.
For the Chicken Stew
4 tablespoons butter
4 large carrots, cut into 1/2″ slices
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 onion, minced
1/4 cup cognac (ewww - I did not use this)
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Meat from one chicken (from making stock, above), removed from the bone
Reserved chicken stock (from making stock, above), about 6 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Sea salt and pepper
1. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add in the carrot, celery, onion, and a pinch of salt – sauté until soft and tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Add in 1/2 c broth and flour and whisk to combine, taking care to scrape up any browned bits from the pan and to break up any small bits of flour.
3. Add in the chicken, chicken stock, thyme, a generous pinch of sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and allow the ingredients to mingle for 20-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Right before you’re ready to serve, prepare the dumplings.
For the Dumplings
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoons baking powder
1. Whisk the flour, milk, butter, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl with a fork until combined, smooth, and fluffy.
2. Drop the dumpling dough by the spoonful into the hot, simmering chicken stew. You should be able to fit about 12-15 dumplings into the pot. Cover the pot and allow the dumplings to cook thoroughly, about 15 more minutes.
This is where I got excited - because this is EXACTLY how it looks in my head (you know, from when I was like 8 years old). You probably cannot imagine how delicious this is....