Chicken and Dumplings is comfort food in a bowl with flavorful homemade chicken soup and large, plump dumplings.
OLD FASHIONED CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
Chicken and Dumplings are a perfectly balanced homemade meal made with tender chicken, vegetables, and hearty dumplings. It also has a hint of heat from the cayenne pepper (which you can always increase for even more heat). Everything from the chicken stock to the dumplings is made from scratch. This is the way Grandma did it… with the big dumplings resting beautifully on top of the soup after they steam through. The beauty of grandma’s recipe is that they are never gummy, or rubbery, which was something that turned me off from making dumplings for so many years. When I finally got my hands on her recipe I knew it was going to be perfect, and it absolutely is.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS RECIPE
There are three parts to this recipe–the chicken, the stock, and the dumplings. Put all together, they make a savory and filling dish. I opted to do this as from-scratch as possible, just like grandma did! When you use as many real, whole ingredients as possible, it adds something amazing to your dishes. I also added some thyme to the dumplings… this is an old-fashioned trick that helps to add subtle flavor and charm!
PREPARING THE CHICKEN
To start, place the chicken in an 8-quart Dutch oven. Or, you could use a large, heavy-duty pot that has a lid. Add the water, carrot, celery, onion, thyme, and bay leaf to the chicken. Bring to a boil, uncovered. After the mixture has come to a boil, cover the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for an hour.
After the hour, remove the chicken from the Dutch oven and transfer it to a large bowl or cutting board to cool as you prepare the soup.
As the chicken is cooling, increase the heat and bring the stock to a simmer. Skim off as much chicken fat as you can and reserve the fat in a bowl. Make a paste with the fat by mixing flour with 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved fat. Add this to the chicken stock and reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.
At this point, the chicken should be cool enough to remove the skin and shred. To shred the chicken, use two forks and pull the chicken apart in the opposite direction until you have the desired consistency. I prefer bite-sized pieces, but you can leave the chicken pieces as larger or as small as you want. Add the shredded chicken to the stock, along with the salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (add more for more heat), and chicken bouillon. Remove the bay leaf, and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes as you prepare the dumplings.
Be sure to make homemade Chicken Stock from the leftover bones!
HOW TO MAKE DUMPLINGS
This chicken soup is full of flavor and tender chicken on its own, but the added dumplings just add more substance to the dish! (full recipe card below)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, thyme leaves, and eggs. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this flour mixture to the sour cream mixture and stir until just incorporated. Be sure to not overmix.
- Use a 1/4-cup scoop (I like larger dumplings, but you could make them the size you prefer) and place on top of the simmering chicken stock. Increase to medium-high heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. The dumplings should be light and fluffy. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the dumplings; it should come out clean.
- Serve immediately, garnished with optional extra thyme sprigs.
- 1 whole chicken, 3 1/2-4 pounds
- 10 cups water
- 2-3 large carrots, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
- 1-2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more for spice
- 1 cube chicken bouillon, crushed (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped, plus extra sprigs for garnish (optional)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Place the chicken in an 8-quart Dutch oven, or a large, heavy-duty pot with a cover.
Add the water, carrot, celery, onion, thyme, and bay leaf to the chicken. Bring to a boil (uncovered).
After the mixture has come to a boil, cover the Dutch oven, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 1 hour.
Remove the chicken from the Dutch oven and transfer to a large bowl. Set the chicken aside to cool.
Increase the heat and bring the stock to a simmer.
Skim off, and reserve in a bowl, as much chicken fat as you can that is at the top of the stock.
In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons flour with 2-3 tablespoons of the reserved chicken fat to make a paste. (Add more flour if needed.)
Add the fat and flour paste to the stock. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, remove the skin from the chicken and shred it with forks. Add the shredded chicken to the stock.
Add salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and chicken bouillon. Remove the bay leaf, and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes as you prepare the dumplings.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, thyme leaves, and eggs. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the sour cream mixture. Stir until just incorporated; do not overmix.
Using a 1/4-cup scoop, scoop large dollops of the dumpling mixture on top of the simmering chicken stock.
Increase to medium-high heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or the dumplings are light and fluffy. (To check for doneness, an inserted toothpick should come out clean.)
Serve immediately, garnished with extra thyme sprigs (optional).