I love chicken and dumplings. I adore it. I crave it on a cold, wintry day. I desire it even in the middle of a hot summer. Chicken and dumplings makes me happy. So when Dan the Man said that my latest version was the best I had ever made, I knew it was far from the crapsmanship I usually do.
I used this recipe from Real Simple as my starter: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/classic-chicken-dumplings, but I made a few revisions. The original recipe calls for browned chicken thighs. I’m definitely a crapsman at browning any meat — I’m too impatient to wait for it to brown well and I’m worried about burning it. In addition, Dan the Man likes chicken thigh meat, but I prefer the breast. So the natural substitution was a rotisserie chicken. Easy, tasty, and affordable. The original recipe was good, but my tweaks made it better. Instead of water, I used chicken bouillon, and I added a few more spices to add a punch of flavor.
I started with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. I added 4 stalks of chopped celery, 4 chopped carrots, 4 chopped onions, 2 tsp. dried thyme, and 2 tsp. dried parsley. I cooked the veggies until they began to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
While the veggies were cooking, I deboned the chicken and set it aside.
After the veggies were soft, I added the chicken to the pot, plus two bay leaves, 10 cups of water, and 3 Tbsp. Better Than Bouillon (see below). (America’s Test Kitchen calls this product a “Best Buy” because it’s just as good and way cheaper than boxed chicken stock.)
I simmered this mixture for 25-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. I tasted the broth and added some pepper and a little bit of salt. (The Better Than Bouillon is quite salty, so be light-handed with adding more.) I then discarded the bay leaves and scooped up about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid into a small bowl. I added 3 Tbsp. cornstarch to this hot mixture to make a slurry and then added it back into the broth. I simmered this slightly until it was thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
While the broth was simmering on the stovetop, I stirred up the dumpling mixture. I first whisked together 2 cups AP flour, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda. 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl. I whisked in 6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and 2 tsp. dried parsley. Now for the magic!
I used a small scoop to drop the dumpling mixture spoonful by spoonful into the broth. I then covered the pot and let it all simmer until the dumplings were firm, about 10-15 minutes.
The smell and taste were heavenly! This recipe is a keeper!!!
Here’s a link to the printable recipe: https://www.dropbox.com/s/pcrz1d58iir91bz/Classic%20Chicken%20and%20Dumplings.docx?dl=0