Author Notes: Chicken and Dumplings was created during the Great Depression: money was tight back then, and it's an excellent way to stretch ingredients so that the meal feeds a crowd. It's a simple and basic recipe that is economical and can be elegant as well. The dumplings are basically a biscuit dough that are dropped into boiling chicken stock. To update this classic dish, I added herbs to the dumplings to give them an extra layer of flavor. I used chives, thyme, marjoram, and lemon zest. This will serve a crowd, and is a wonderful meal that is filling and delicious. Nothing fancy here -- just basic food. I spent very little, the chicken being the costliest component but still a bargain when you think about the breakdown on a cost per person basis. Almost everything else used in this recipe is something most of us have in our refrigerator or pantry.
The total cost for the meal was approximately $20 making it less than $5 per person and the ingredients for dumplings were already in my pantry. You can adapt this dish to your own needs and taste. - sdebrango
Food52 Review: This is a very satisfying dish, and a good reminder that old-fashioned meals of the sort Grandma grew up on can stand the test of time. I was pleasantly surprised by the stew's gentle savor, and most especially its hint of sweetness from the parsnip and carrot. The lemon zest and chives in the dumpling batter added zing. And yes, we had plenty of biscuit dough left over for tomorrow's breakfast. A winner. - Kukharka
Serves 6 to 8, depending on serving size
For the Chicken and Vegetables
- 1 whole chicken, approximately 3 to 5 pounds
- 8 to 10 cups water (if you happen to have stock, you can use that instead of water)
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds or at an angle
- 1 large onion, chopped into small pieces
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced into rounds or at an angle
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the chicken and place in a pot or dutch oven. Pour in water, season with salt, and bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat to medium high, and keep at a low boil until chicken is tender; it takes approximately 1 to 2 hours. Note: if using water, I boil the chicken for about 2 hours so that the broth is tastier.
- Remove chicken from pot and set aside to cool; pour broth into a container. Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of the pot, add the onion and saute until they soften. Add the celery, carrot, and parsnip, and saute until the vegetables begin to soften. The onion will be translucent. Add the broth back to the pot and simmer for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, just until the vegetables are tender.
- While the vegetables are cooking in the broth, remove the meat and skin from the chicken. Set them aside, covered, and start the biscuit dough.
The Dumplings and Finishing the Dish
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
- 4 tablespoons cold butter (I used salted, but unsalted is fine)
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup milk (whole is preferable, but 1 or 2% is fine)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, herbs and lemon zest. Cut in the vegetable shortening and butter until it resembles peas. Add the milk and mix just until combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead for a minute or two, and pat into a disc approximately 1/2 inch thick. I use the smallest biscuit cutter or a cordial glass to cut the dough into small, round shapes.
- Bring the broth and vegetables to a boil and drop in the dumplings. Don't overcrowd, as you don't want the dumplings to absorb all the liquid (you can always bake the remaining biscuit dough or make pot pies from the leftovers). Boil the dumplings in the broth for approximately 10 to 15 minutes; they will thicken the soup substantially and will partially break down a bit.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the chicken, and serve. I like to garnish with chopped parsley and/or a few snips of chives.
- NOTE: I normally would not knead biscuit dough -- as a matter of fact, it is supposed to be handled as little as possible. But for this recipe, I wanted to develop the gluten so the dumplings don't fall apart when cooking. I found that about a minute of gentle kneading helped hold the dumplings together.