Today was another snow day for the boys and they’ve already canceled school through Wednesday due to the cold. (The high on Wednesday will be -20 degrees F!) So, it’ll be a bit of a tough work week for me! I need an empty house to really focus and reach my maximum level of productivity.
But, while we’re socked in with the snow and cold, I decided to make chicken & dumplings. I made them last week to use up a rotisserie chicken that was on its last day and many people asked for the recipe, so I thought I would share. I also wanted to show how easy it is. I think chicken & dumpings has the reputation for being complicated to make, but it’s pretty easy! At least, this version is.
When I made it last week, I started with a rotisserie chicken, so that sped things up right away. Today, I didn’t have one, so I cooked up two large chicken breasts. I cut them in half, so they are four thinner pieces that will cook faster. Chicken breasts are so huge these days that I almost always do that when I cook chicken.
I salt the chicken and cook them in the cast iron pot I’ll use for the soup. One of the keys to cooking chicken is to have the pan nice and hot before putting it in. Put it in place and leave it there. Don’t poke it or scoot it.
After about 5-7 minutes, turn it over with some tongs. Cook the other side until the chicken is no longer pink. (Usually another 5-7 minutes).
Remove the chicken and add the celery, onion, carrots, garlic, and 4T butter. Saute until soft.
Add 1/2 cup flour and stir until veggies are coated…
Add two 32 ounce boxes of chicken stock. I would suggest always using unsalted chicken stock for soups. Especially when the soup condenses on the stove, it can get too salty if the stock is salted already. I also don’t add salt to the soup until the end for that reason.
(I’m not endorsing this specific brand, but just showing what I used today.)
Add fresh (or dried thyme) and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon.
Bring to a boil and allow it to cook until broth is thickened.
While soup is coming to a boil, shred chicken with a fork or even just your fingers.
Make dumpling dough by mixing flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Stir in 4T of melted butter until flour has a crumbly texture…
Gently stir in 1 cup of whole milk until just combined.
Once soup is thickened, reduce heat to a simmer. Add chicken and 1 cup of whole milk.
Use a cookie dropper (or two spoons) to drop tablespoon-sized globs of dough into the soup.
They will sink at first, but then start floating up to the top.
Once you’ve dropped all of the dumplings, put the lid on the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
Take the lid off and admire your fluffy dumplings! You can make sure they are done by gently pulling one open with a fork. They should have a light, airy texture inside.
This is how the inside of the dumplings should look…
Salt and pepper it to taste and serve it up with some fresh parsley on top!
This makes a big batch that will serve a lot of people or give you a bunch of leftovers (that reheat nicely). You can halve the recipe if you want to make a smaller batch.
Of course, there are dozens of variations you can try to suit this to your taste, but this is how we like it. It’s hearty and a nice treat on a cold winter day. Since the dumplings are on the heavier side, I like to serve it with mixed greens dressed in some olive oil, lemon juice, and a little bit of salt.
Easy Chicken & Dumplings
- 4 peeled & chopped carrots
- 4 washed & chopped celery stalks
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 2 large chicken breasts (or a rotisserie chicken)
- salt & pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 32 ounce boxes of unsalted chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 1/2 cups flour divided
- 2 cups whole milk divided
- 8 Tbsp butter divided
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- fresh parsley
- Wash & salt two large chicken breasts. Preheat large cast iron stock pot over medium-high heat with 1T olive oil in the bottom. Add chicken when the pot is hot (or when olive oil is shimmering). Cook on one side for 5-7 minutes until brown and chicken lifts easily. Flip to cook second side for another 5-7 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Remove from pan. (You can also use a rotisserie chicken as a shortcut.)
- While chicken is cooking, peel and dice carrots and onion. Wash and chop celery. Add carrots, celery, onion, celery, garlic, and 4T of butter once chicken is removed from pot. Stir and saute until vegetables are soft.
- Add in 1/2 cup flour and stir until veggies are coated in flour. (For about 1 minute). Add chicken stock and wine. Stir and scrape bottom of pot with spoon to lift any stuck-on bits. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken.
- While soup is thickening, make dumpling dough. Put 2 cups of flour, 2t salt, and 2t baking powder into a clean mixing bowl. Melt 4T of butter and add to dry ingredients. Stir until dough is crumbly. Add 1 cup of whole milk. Stir until just combined. (It'll look lumpy.) Set aside.
- Once cooled, shred chicken with a fork or your fingers.
- Once soup has thickened, reduce heat to a simmer. Add chicken and 1 cup of whole milk. Stir.
- Drop dumpling dough into soup 1T at a time. A cookie dropper is perfect for this, but you can use two spoons as well. Each dumpling will sink and then rise. Keep adding dumplings until all the dough is used. Cover and cook for a remaining 15 minutes.
- Salt & Pepper to taste. Top with fresh parsley to serve.