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: