I love chicken and dumplings, especially on cold, wet winter nights. There’s something so down to earth and simple about a sitting down to a big pot of chicken with an incredible broth, chunks of vegetables and steamy dumplings. It warms the soul and conjures up a wave of fond childhood memories. I remember a crowded kitchen bathed in yellow glow and a family gathered around the table. I can see my parents now, making sure there was plenty of cold milk and warm food on the table. It was a simple time, with simple needs. This simple dish brings it all back so vividly for me. Now mind you, my parents broth wasn’t so well seasoned as the one I serve today, and the dumpling recipe they used came from the back of box of Bisquick, but the essence of the meal remains.
I am so glad that the cold weather has finally arrived! It means wonderful stews, big pots of homemade soups, warm breads and huge bowls of knock you on your butt chili. I love this time of the year, when the foods are hardy, filling and oh so comforting – all my childhood favorites come to visit me once more.
My guys love my Chicken and Herb Dumplings for two reasons – the savory, satisfying Sunday night dinner and the awesome chicken soup later in the week (a post for later). We’re lucky, it’s just the three of us, so there is always some chicken left for the soup.
The fact that the chicken, bones, skin and all, are simmered in a chicken stock base makes for an unbelievably intense finished broth. This broth infuses with the dumplings, bringing yet another layer of goodness to the wonderful herb dumpling. These are light, flavorful and so delicious – my favorite part of the entire meal.
Chicken and Herb Dumplings
Ingredients – For Chicken
1 Chicken, 3 ½ – 4 lbs
2 Celery Stocks, Chopped
1 Cup Baby Carrots
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips (optional – nice touch of color)
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Bay Leaf
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
½ Teaspoon Ground Pepper
2 Cups Chicken Stock + water (see recipe)
Chop celery, carrots, bell pepper, onion and garlic according to recipe. Set aside until ready to use.
In a small bowl, mix together all the seasonings, set aside until ready to use.
Place whole chicken, breast side up, in a large pot. Distribute vegetables and seasonings evenly around and over chicken. Add Chicken stock and enough water to chicken 2/3 of the way up. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until chicken cooked through and juices run clear, about 2 hours. Midway through, turn chicken breast side down to allow juices to flavor the meat.
Heat oven to warm, about 250 to 300 degrees. Place a large shallow bowl or rimmed platter in oven to warm.
Use tongs to remove chicken and place on carving board. (Leave vegetables simmering in broth). Using a large fork and tongs, pull back skin and remove chicken meat from bones. Arrange meat attractively on serving dish.
With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from broth and arrange over and around chicken meat. Add some broth, enough to keep everything nice and moist without over-filling platter. Wrap with foil to keep warm, and place in a warm oven.
Ingredients – For Dumplings
1 Cup Flour
1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Chilled Butter, cut into pieces
¼ Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
¼ Cup Milk
While chicken is cooking, prepare dumplings. In a bowl, blend together flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter. Using pastry blender, work butter into flour to form coarse crumbs. Add Italian Seasoning & Garlic Powder. Stir in milk with a fork until firm dough forms. Divide dough into 8-10 pieces of equal size. Roll pieces into balls. Set aside until chicken is ready.
Raise heat under pot to medium-high. Bring broth to a full boil, skim off any foam that rises to surface. Place dumpling into boiling broth with a slotted spoon. Cover, cook 5-6 minutes or until dumplings puff and interiors are uniformly set. To test, cut into center of a dumpling.
Remove dumplings from broth with a slotted spoon; place on platter. Ladle a little broth over dumplings and serve.
Note: for larger groups or more dumplings, recipe can be doubled.