Chicken and Dumplings
Traditionally, chicken and dumplings is like a thick, creamy chicken soup with a layer of doughy dumplings that steam right on top while the soup simmers. Some make the dumplings “slippery,” with just flour and water for a denser, chewier texture. But ours are layered with butter and leavened with baking powder, making them more like biscuits.
For the chicken gravy
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
7 cups chicken broth
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 large carrots, peeled and diced (1-1/2 cups)
5 ribs celery, diced (2-1/2 cups)
For the dumplings
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 scant tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
3 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup whole milk
5 cups leftover roast chicken chunks (from a 3-lb. chicken; remove the skin and pick the meat off the bones, keeping the meat in large chunks)
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Make the gravy
In a large (8- to 10-quart), heavy-bottomed saucepan or soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and mix well to make a roux. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles fine, wet sand, about 3 minutes.
Whisk the soup into the roux a little at a time, allowing the roux to absorb the liquid before adding more (this will help avoid lumps). Add the salt, pepper, carrots, and celery. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally and skim off and scum that rises to the surface.
Make the dumplings
Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and parsley together in a large bowl, then cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two knives, or a whisk until it's in small pieces. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor: Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to combine. Add the parsley and pulse once or twice to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in small pieces.)
Add the milk and stir or pulse to moisten the flour mixture. (Do not overmix or you will develop the gluten in the flour and the dumplings will be chewy.) Gather the dough into a ball.
Using a large spoon or your hands, scoop out 1/4-cup chunks of dough, lightly roll them between your palms to round them out, then drop into the simmering gravy (it's OK if they sink down), spacing them apart. Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are done (a knife inserted in the center should come out clean), about 20 minutes. (Avoid lifting the lid while the dumplings are cooking because it slows down the cooking process, and "if you're lookin' you're not cookin'!")
Gently stir the cooked chicken into the pot with the dumplings, return the liquid to a simmer, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes to heat the chicken through. Using a serving spoon or tongs, divide the chicken and dumplings among soup bowls. Ladle the gravy over the dumplings and chicken, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve.
Photo: Ellen Silverman
BEST Chicken and Dumplings I've ever made. Husband called them "decadent". The broth was thick and rich. Dumplings were dense and excellent! A few things I did differently than called for: I only used 5 cups of chicken broth, I added about 1 cup of corn and 1 cup of green beans, and I did not use the parsley because I did not have any on hand. Next time I will double the dumpling recipe. Dinner was fantastic!
It was wonderful for Sunday dinner. I halved the recipe for my husband and i with enough for another meal during the week. I added a little sweet onion to the gravy along with some sage, tarragon and basil. The dumplings were tasty, not heavy, and I didn't peak although I was tempted. My husband was in heaven. I served with steamed broccoli. I intend to make for company in a few weeks.
The dumplings were just perfect and the gravy was rich (that butter is wonderful). Next time I will add a little something (some garlic and basil?) to the gravy to give it a touch more flavor.