Fluffy dumplings make this chicken soup turn into a rich and decadent chicken and dumplings stew that will knock out any cold and warm even the coldest soul.
In my heart, no dish is more comforting than chicken n dumplin's.
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Chicken and dumplings brings me back to my childhood, where I first had it: the tiny Christian school I went to as a little girl. It was set up in an old manor (actually, it's still there) and the manor had a very large gourmet kitchen, which I often found myself in, with the chef shooing me out after I've stayed too long.
And that head chef, a little old woman with a chubby smile at all times, made some great food.
One blustery winter morning all the kids got shuffled into the chapel for lunch, and we sipped hot chocolate and were handed bowls of creamy, chunky chicken and dumplings. And I fell in love at the age of six. It was rich, it warmed me up from the inside out, with a thick gravy. Stick to your ribs thick, much like my Beef Stew. I can't eat chicken and dumplings any other way!
I know a lot of people make a more noodle-esque dumpling, where it's flat and square. In fact, that's how my mother makes it. But that's not how I roll. In this recipe, we make drop dumplings with herbs.
Dropping those dumplings into the bubbling pot seem to really bring the broth from a soupy texture to a thick, creamy gravy. And it's not hard at all to make from scratch; just a couple of pantry items and herbs, a splash of milk, and you are in for a fluffy, perfect delight of a dumpling. They basically melt in your mouth, quite a treat!
Here, I'm using chicken thighs that are boneless, skinless, and searing them in the pot before braising with the veggies. Thighs are perfect for this because they have more fat, more flavor, and don't over cook easily like their paler counterparts while simmering in the broth.
We got juicy, tender chicken in every bite!
Chicken and dumplings gives you the best excuse to use up that left over chicken or just buy a rotisserie chicken from the store, making this recipe super quick since you don't have to wait for the chicken to finish cooking, whether by roasting or braising.
My husband loves when I make a big ole pot of chicken and dumplings since it freezes so well and he can heat up a serving for himself any time he wants. It's one of his favorite comfort foods; and when I say comfort food, I mean it. This chicken and dumpling recipe is made for those snowy winter days and nights, where you bundle up in a big blanket and eat a big bowl to warm your soul.
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- 8 roasted chicken thighs, shredded OR 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp kosher salt & ½ tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 carrots, well washed and cut into ½ inch-thick coins
- 2 stalks celery, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 onion, medium dice
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 sprig fresh thyme OR 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 tbsp butter
- 5 tbsp flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups filtered water, or chicken broth for more flavor
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried oregano
- ¾ cup buttermilk, OR whole milk with juice of ½ lemon
- If cooking chicken, pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with the 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper on both sides. Add more if you like.
- Heat oil in 5 qt (or larger) soup pot over medium-high heat, then place 3-4 chicken thighs into the pot to sear, about three minutes on both sides. Make sure the thighs aren't over crowding the pot. Remove thighs and place on a plate. Repeat with the second batch.
- Lower heat to medium and add onion, carrot, and celery along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir occasionally and cook for 4 minutes to soften the veggies. Add garlic and thyme and stir together until garlic is fragrant, about 30-45 seconds.
- Toss butter into the pot and allow to melt, stirring all the while. Shake in the flour and stir to coat the vegetables.
- Splash in chicken broth ½ cup at a time, stirring well between each addition. After 1 ½ cups, pour in the rest and stir the roux and broth together. Add water, then add chicken back to the pot. Bring heat to medium high and allow to come to a boil for 3 minutes, then turn down heat to medium-low to simmer covered for 40 minutes.
- Make your dumplings just before the 40 minutes end; in a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Add in buttermilk and herbs and stir until flour is just incorporated. We want a slightly to somewhat wet looking dough, so splash in up to ¼ cup more buttermilk if needed.
- Before dropping biscuits in, pull out the chicken if you want to shred them with a fork. Disregard if you already have pre-cooked, shredded chicken. Add chicken back in, along with heavy cream, and stir well.
- Use a spoon to drop spoonfuls of dumpling batter into the pot. You can move them around and mess with them while in the pot, this results in a thicker stew and smaller sized dumplings. Cook covered for 5 minutes then flip them over using a large spoon and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Serve hot.
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Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.