I’m writing this post for one of my favorite comfort foods a few days before heading out for a sun soaked family vacation. The comfort food I’m about to share with you is Chicken and Dumplings. A hearty chicken stew filled with chicken thigh meat, carrots, celery and onions, topped with soft doughy dumplings. It’s one of the dishes that I’ll make for a small, cozy dinner party or just a family dinner at home.
The truth is, my kitchen hasn’t been seeing much action lately, as I’ve been trying to get everything in order before the big trip. And that seems to include avoiding the grocery store and trying to use up the scraps of leftovers in my fridge and freezer. I actually made this about a week ago, and I’m pretty sure it’s the last thing I made from scratch. At least my family seems to be content subsisting on whatever I can throw together while I wait (rather impatiently) to be sipping on a fruity drink on the beach.
Now let me tell you a little bit about Chicken and Dumplings. Like some (but definitely not all) good food, this dish takes some time to prepare. To fill the stew with rich, chicken flavor, you need to brown the chicken and remove the skin, then saute the veggies and cook the chicken and veggies together in the broth.
The chicken flavor comes from bone-in, skin on chicken thigh meat, as well as chicken wings. The chicken wings help to give the broth a thicker texture, thanks to all the cartilage in them. If you don’t have any, you can skip them and add a couple of extra thighs instead.
While making ahead is definitely not a requirement, it is a possibility with this recipe. If you cook the chicken and veggies, then simmer for awhile, the chicken can be removed and everything refrigerated overnight. This makes it so much easier to skim the now-solid fat from the top, and all you need to do to finish the recipe is stir the chicken back in, bring to a simmer and cook the dumplings on top of the stew. However, if you don’t want to make ahead, just skim the fat from the top with a spoon. You won’t be able to get it all, but it’s not the end of the world.
When it comes time to cook the dumplings, make sure you wrap the lid of the pot with a clean towel. This ensures that the steam doesn’t condense and drip back onto the dumplings, making them soggy. Instead, the steam gets absorbed by the towel. Just make sure you wrap the towel well onto the top of the lid, ensuring that it doesn’t fall onto the cook top. I, being overly cautious (and often accident prone) in the kitchen, would probably use some type of clip or tape to fasten it securely, especially if I had a gas cook top (I have induction, so really, there’s minimal danger).
You won’t be seeing any more recipes from me for the next couple of weeks, as I enjoy some computer free time in Mexico. Seriously, Hubby and I have decided to skip even bringing a laptop with us. However, I will try to keep you updated on my fun in the sun adventures on Instagram.
Chicken and Dumplings is the perfect comfort food - warm and hearty, filled with chicken and vegetables.
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (8 thighs)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 3 small onions
- 3 medium carrots
- 2 ribs celery
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 6 cups sodium reduced chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 pound chicken wings (10 wing pieces) (see note)
- 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled (1/2 stick)
- 1 large egg white
Dry chicken thighs with paper towel. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add half of the chicken thighs, skin side down. Cook until skin is well browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Flip thighs and cook until well browned. Transfer thighs to a large plate and repeat with remaining thighs. Discard all except for 1 teaspoon of the fat from the dutch oven.
Add onions, carrots and celery to the pot. Cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 7 minutes. Slowly stir in the apple cider vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chicken broth and thyme. Return the chicken thighs to the pot, as well as any juices from the plate and the chicken wings. Bring to a simmer and cover. Simmer until a paring knife slips easily into the chicken thighs, 45-55 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Remove chicken thighs and wings from pot with tongs and place on a plate to cool slightly. While chicken is cooling, skim as much fat as possible from the top of the stew with a spoon. Remove meat from bones and shred into bite sized pieces. Discard bones and the skin from the chicken wings. Add meat back to the pot.
Whisk together all purpose and whole wheat flours, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir buttermilk and butter together in a medium bowl so that the butter forms clumps. Whisk in the egg white. Stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Return stew to a simmer and stir in parsley. Scoop the batter in 2 Tablespoon portions onto the top of the stew, leaving about 1/4 inch between each scoop. Wrap the lid of the dutch oven with a clean dish towel, and cover, ensuring that the towel does not fall onto the cook top. Simmer until dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes clean. Serve.
If you don't have chicken wings, use 1lb of extra chicken thighs instead. The resulting broth may not be as thick.
To make ahead: prepare recipe to the end of step 3. Remove chicken from pot, and when cool enough to handle, remove chicken from bones and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate broth in dutch oven, and chicken it it's container until ready to serve, up to 2 days. To prepare: skim fat from the top of the broth and stir chicken back into stew. Continue with recipe, bringing stew to a simmer while beginning to prepare dumplings.
***Recipe Adapted from The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook
Chicken and Dumplings Nutrition Notes
The above nutrition info does account for removing the skin from the chicken thighs and the wings, but it does not account for skimming the excess fat from the top of the soup. The more fat you can skim, the more you will reduce total and saturated fat as well as calories (this is easiest to do if you have time to let the soup chill). Also note that the sodium is high, despite using reduced sodium broth. To further reduce sodium, use low sodium, or no salt added broth.