I swear in my last life I was probably from the South… I love all comfort foods! Chicken pie, meatloaf, fried chicken and… chicken and dumplings! We recently purchased a new cook book from America’s Test Kitchen and I must say that it has not yet disappointed us.
To my delight, I saw a recipe for chicken and dumplings and I decided that that would be the first recipe for me to try out… I have to warn you that the recipes are pretty long and labor intensive, but totally worth it. I’ve also found the recipe at the Cook’s Illustrated site here. Also, you will be able to see my substitutions when I made the dish in [brackets]. I recommend sticking as close as you can to the original recipe.
Note: This recipe uses a dutch oven to cook, but I don’t have one so I used a regular pot (not non-stick) and it worked just fine.
Ingredients for stew:
Note: Don’t use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe.
5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs [I used ~ 2 lbs skinless chicken thighs here, but used chicken breasts before too]
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
4 carrots , peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 ribs celery , sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion , minced
6 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 cup frozen green peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves [I had no fresh parsley handy, so used cilantro. I reckon 1/2 tbs dried parsley would work too…]
Ingredients for dumplings
Note: Don’t use low-fat or fat-free milk in this recipe. Start the dumpling dough only when you’re ready to top the stew with the dumplings.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat (or unsalted butter)
1. For the Stew: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add half of the chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and remove the browned skin. Pour off the chicken fat and reserve. Return the pot to medium-high heat and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining chicken. Pour off and reserve any chicken fat.
3. Add the butter to the Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes.
4. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the sherry, scraping up any browned bits.
5. Stir in the broth, milk, thyme, and bay leaves.
6. Nestle the chicken, with any accumulated juices, into the pot. Cover and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour.
7. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon. [While the chicken is cooling, make the dumplings. Letting the chicken cool will help when we shred it later]
8. For the Dumplings: Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Microwave the milk and fat in a microwave-safe bowl on high until just warm (do not over-heat), about 1 minute.
9. Stir the warmed milk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until incorporated and smooth.
10. Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then return it to the stew.
11. Return the stew to a simmer, stir in the peas and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
12. Following the photos below, drop golf-ball-sized dumplings over the top of the stew, about 1/4 inch apart (you should have about 18 dumplings). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. [I used a small baking scoop to size and drop the dumplings in]
13. Serve and enjoy…