by Tammy Taylor
There’s not a much better comfort food than homemade Chicken & Dumplings. I always have homemade broth on hand so when I have leftover chicken it’s my kinda quick & easy southern comfort to whip up chicken & dumplings from scratch. It’s a very versatile recipe and you can add whatever seasonings float your boat, but I’ll share the basic recipe I use, although I’ll admit I throw in whatever sounds good at the time or whatever I have waiting to be used. I’ve used beef broth instead of chicken broth, carrots, no carrots, celery, no celery, etc. All came out deliciously.
Although I’ll be canning my chicken broth this winter so I can store it in the pantry, when I make broth during the heat & humidity of a typical Texas summer I freeze it instead – I just can’t stand the thought of adding even more heat & humidity to the house by canning when other options exist! This time I’m using frozen broth so the night before I simply take a container of chicken broth from the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw overnight.
The following day when I’m ready to start making my chicken & dumplings I’ll pour the broth into a deep pot & put it on the heat to simmer, usually tossing in a handful of whatever dehydrated veggies I want so they can rehydrate right there in the broth. Typical additions for me are chopped onion and celery and also a chopped carrot. If you don’t have dehydrated veggies tossing the fresh counterparts in at this point would be appropriate. I also chop about 2 cups of chicken and drop it into the broth once it starts simmering. You can use more or less chicken based on how much leftover chicken you have available or how meaty you want your chicken-n-dumplings to be.
While the broth is simmering and the veggies are rehydrating/cooking I whip up my homemade dumplings using a bit of flour, baking powder, milk, shortening and seasonings – my typical seasoning is simply salt, coarsely-cracked pepper and thyme. This makes a pretty stiff dough.
Now that my broth is simmering nicely I pinch off about a tablespoon of my dumpling dough, roll it into a small ball & press it gently between my palms to flatten it somewhat and drop it into my broth. I continue this procedure until all my dumplings are simmering in the broth. I give a very gentle stir and put the lid on the pot to allow it to simmer for 12-15 minutes (depending upon the size & thickness of your dumplings). It’s important not to stir the dumplings too much when they are in dough form as they will dissolve into your broth. (Ask me how I know. Eh hemmm….)
After the dumplings have cooked I remove the lid and stir again very gently. Oftentimes the broth of my chicken & dumplings is not quite as thick as I like it so I’ll take a jar and add about 1/4 cup of flour with enough water or broth to make a thin paste, stirring until the flour is completely incorporated and no lumps remain. Then I pour this thickening into my simmering broth stirring very slowly & gently and my broth always thickens up beautifully.
This chicken & dumpling recipe fed RancherMan & me a hearty supper and I still had enough leftovers for a couple of lunches for each of us – gotta love it!
Chicken & dumplings
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
- 2 Tablespoons minced dehydrated or fresh onions
- 1 Tablespoon dehydrated or fresh celery
- Dumplings (recipe below)
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon minced dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt (or salted chicken seasoning)
- 1 teaspoon coarsely-cracked black pepper
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup milk
Combine flour, baking powder, thyme, salt & pepper. Cut in shortening, add milk and knead until all ingredients are combined to make a stiff dough.
Chicken & Dumplings Directions:
Make dumplings & set aside. Boil chicken broth and add veggies. When broth is simmering add chopped chicken & start dropping in dumplings by pinching off 1-Tablespoon dumpling dough, rolling into a small ball and pressing the dough ball between palms to flatten slightly. Drop dumplings into simmering broth. When all dumplings are in the broth stir gently, cover pot and simmer for 12-15 minutes, depending upon the size and thickness of your dumplings.
If broth is not thick enough after the dumplings are cooked, mix up about 1/4 cup of flour with enough water or broth to make a thin paste & stir until no flour lumps remain – pour into simmering broth and stir very gently just to incorporate thickening and keep dumplings from sticking to the pan.
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