Have you ever had chicken and dumplings on a cold day and just fell in love with this comfort food? We have, many times. The funny (and fun) thing about this dish is the multitude of versions there are out there. Even “classic” versions can vary quite a bit. This version of Cozy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings has a lighter broth base with more vegetables than other versions we've had, and is so cozy!
Our chicken and dumplings isn't as heavy as most versions, and is packed with flavor! And the dumplings are so light and fluffy like clouds on top of a delicious stew of chicken and vegetables! We know you will love this during the chilly autumn and winter months! If you haven’t had this dish, well then, you need to make it this fall!
Read below for some tips for making this dish as well as our go-to pot to get the job done: the Calphalon Premier™ Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8.5-Quart Dutch Oven.
Our version of Chicken and Dumplings
Although the ingredient list seems a bit long, this is a relatively simple dish to make. But since this is made completely from scratch, it requires some care to make it great. There really are so many variations of this classic, and you can certainly modify this one to suit your taste as needed.
We like the stew part of this dish to be thick but not like a gravy, so the purpose of the roux is to thicken the stock so it's not overly soupy. The roux also provides a slightly deeper, nuttier flavor that gives the dish more depth and layers of flavor.
The vegetables don’t have to be limited to onion, carrot, and celery, but that is what you will usually find in most versions and we stuck to this combination in our version. We did this because it works! But, you can indeed experiment with different ratios of these three base veggies or even add some of your favorites as well.
Chicken and dumplings can be made with just about any part of the chicken, and this is definitely a choice for the cook or the people eating it! We like this to end up like a stew that should be eaten with a spoon, so bite-sized chunks of white breast meat is our preference.
Yes, the breast doesn't pack a bunch of flavor on its own, but the other flavors are where it's at! But again, do what you like here. If you like the skin on a whole leg in here, go for it! If you prefer an easy-eating stew with dark meat thigh chunks, do that! Just make sure you avoid the three pitfalls (see below), and it will be amazing.
The size and shape of the dumplings doesn't matter too much in terms of making the dish work, but it matters to most C&D aficionados!
In some versions the dumplings are as large as oranges or lemons or they are cut in strips. Whatever you like, do it. We love the black pepper and thyme flavor in these dumplings and it really complements the flavors in the rest of the dish. Dumplings should taste great on their own, so with a bit of extras, we made sure that happened in this recipe!
Three Pitfalls of Bad Chicken and Dumplings
Three pitfalls? Yes, there are three major reasons why this great dish can get relegated to an average pot of bad diner food. Just our opinion, of course, but hey, we are pretty sure it’s correct. Oh, and we didn’t include under, over or stupidly seasoning this as a "pitfall" since that applies with everything you cook!
Don't boil the chicken!
The first pitfall is the way the chicken cooks. Don’t boil the stew once the chicken is added. A gentle simmer is all the chicken needs. Tough, rubbery chicken can derail this dish right off the bat, even if everything else is perfect.
Don't manhandle your dumplings!
Second, the dumplings. Again, be gentle. If you murder your dumplings, you may as well go golfing with them. Good dumplings should be light and airy and have a nice flavor.
Use a good quality stock and pay attention to proportions!
The last one is the liquid. Use good stock, always. If your stock sucks, so will your soup. No need to say more about that.
But remember that this stew is thickened with a roux. And, what rhymes with stew and roux?? GLUE! Be aware of your proportions and don’t make a thick, gluey, gloppy mess of a dish when you combine your stock and roux. Your stew should not be a thick, cold, day-old, gravy consistency. You can always thin this dish out by adding a little more water or milk in case you add too much roux.
What Pot to Use to Cook Chicken and Dumplings
Whenever we make Chicken and Dumplings, we make a nice big batch because leftovers are a must! And we turn to our Calphalon Premier™ Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8.5-Quart Dutch Oven for this. The design is perfect to ensure that you have plenty of room for all the contents and space on top for the dumplings to cook perfectly. And it's dishwasher safe with a 3-layer nonstick interior making cleanup so easy! Find it HERE.
We hope you enjoy our version of Cozy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on instagram @cooking_with_wine!
If you are looking for more cozy cold weather eats, check out some of our popular comfort food recipes below:
- Pork and Shiitake Mushroom Ragù
- French Onion Soup
- Coq au Vin – Chicken in Red Wine
- Roasted Poblano and Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
- Veal and Beef Shepherd’s Pie
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Cozy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
For the Cooking Liquid
- 8 cups (64oz or 1.9l) chicken stock (unsalted)
- 2 tablespoon (36g) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 stems parsley
- 4 stems thyme
- 1 star anise
Chicken and Vegetables
- 6 half chicken breasts – boneless and skinless (about 3lbs or 1.36kg)
- 1 tablespoon (18g) kosher salt (divided)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoon butter, divided
- 5 large stalks (250g) celery, chopped
- 2 large (220g) carrots, chopped
- 1 large (350g) onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup (330g) dry white wine
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
For the Roux
- 3 oz (6 Tbsp, ¾ stick, 85g) unsalted butter
- 3.5 oz (100g) all purpose flour
Finishing the Stew
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Dumplings
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme, fresh chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup cold water
- ½ cup cold milk
- Smoked, sweet or hot paprika
- Chopped fresh thyme
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Heat the chicken stock, salt, and pepper, covered, in a large Dutch oven (or large pot) on low heat, while you prepare a sachet. Using cheesecloth, tie the bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and star anise with kitchen twine and add to the stock. Turn the heat up, bring to a boil and turn down to simmer, covered, while you complete the next steps.
- Season the chicken breasts with the 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. In a large stainless-steel pan, heat the 2 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Sear the chicken on both sides to get a bit of color. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside (it will be seared but raw on the inside - don't try to cook it through on this step).
- In the same pan that you seared the chicken, add 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat and melt. Add the celery, carrot, and onion and cook for a few minutes to soften. Once the onion is translucent, they are almost done. Once you get a small amount of color on the vegetables, add the garlic for one minute. Then add the wine and vinegar and stir, cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Remove the vegetables to a bowl.
- In the same pan, make the roux. Add the butter and melt until bubbling over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. The mixture will be very thick. Cook until the roux is a light brown, and a nutty aroma begins to develop.
- Remove the sachet from the stock and gradually add the roux to the Dutch oven and whisk to thoroughly combine. You want to make sure the roux is completely incorporated in the stock before adding the chicken and vegetables. Once all of the roux is added, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Cut the seared chicken into the size you prefer (we use bite-size, about 1” by 1”). Add the chicken and vegetables into the Dutch oven with the stock mixture. Cover and gently simmer while you prepare the dumplings.
- For the dumplings, sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the salt, thyme and black pepper and gently mix. Add the water and milk and, using a spoon or spatula, gently stir until fully combined. Do not overwork the dumpling batter.
- After about 20 minutes of simmering, the chicken will be almost done, and the carrots will be close to the perfect tenderness. Stir in the cream and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary.
- Add the dumplings to the Dutch oven using two spoons making them the size you desire (they will almost double in size while cooking). We like to make a tablespoon size ball that will end up being almost the size of a golf ball. The dough will be sticky, and it doesn’t matter if the shapes are not perfect. Once you have covered the entire mixture with dumplings, put the lid on (and KEEP IT ON) and gently simmer for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your dumplings. At the 10-minute mark, check a dumpling, either with a toothpick – it should come out clean – or by pulling one out and cut it in half.
- Serve in individual bowls or right out of the pot. Garnish with a bit of paprika of your choosing, thyme and parsley.